Air Canada Vanguard and DC-8

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FROM Air Canada Vanguard Archives:

In the 1960s, Air Canada’s medium to long haul services operated by their fleet of British-built Vickers Vanguard and Douglas DC-8 jets. The Vanguards and DC-8s of Trans-Canada Air Lines and Air Canada were once common place at Canadian airports. This program is a tribute to these great aircraft.

When Trans-Canada Air Lines first took delivery of their Vanguards in the early 1960s, the company PR department filmed the inaugural Air Canada Vanguard flights to Jamaica, Barbados and Bermuda in colour. This amazing footage includes plenty of onboard footage of the cabin services as well as passenger boardings and arrivals at the various airports.

A summer of Expo ’67 Air Canada Vanguard departure from Quebec City also filmed in colour as was an early TCA Air Canada Vanguard flight to and from Edmonton during a cold winter’s day in early 1960s. These sound films the most comprehensive period Vanguard films that have ever been presented on DVD, and they represent the entire film documentation of the Vanguard existing in the current Air Canada archives.

This program then presents stock reel compilation clips on the Air Canada DC-8-40, DC-8-50, DC-8-61 and DC-8-63. These clips represent all of the stock reels of each specific mark of DC-8 with sound contained with the Air Canada archive. We close the DVD with the Air Canada DC-8-50 and -40 inflight reels.

4 Responses to “Air Canada Vanguard and DC-8”

  1. <path_to_url> Duncan Mills

    Henry,

    IMHO this is the best of your archival films, mostly on account of an all-star cast including the Vanguard and the Conway-powered DC8s. The Vanguard was obsolete (as you once noted) when it entered service, but it was a very comfortable aircraft. In the 2×3 economy configuration, the seats offered much more width than the jets. Interior footage and cabin pictures of the Vanguard are almost non-existent, so the extensive film shown here is unparalleled. I rode on a Vanguard and it had the characteristic low rumble of four turboprops, similar to the Electra, but the long fuselage created vibrating waves which traveled down the cabin. One characteristic on the Vanguard was a tendency to lose altitude immediately when power was cut, so landings called for a certain amount of skill!

    The Conway -8s were magnificent, and the cabin shots here show the Palomar seats with reading lights mounted over the shoulder. This design was unique to the early DC8s. I must say that the Conways made a racket in the back of the cabin at takeoff, but that was part of the charm, before the whispering fuel-efficient higher bypass ‘plastic’ engines of today.

    • <path_to_url> Henry Tenby

      For me, the Vickers Vanguard is one of my all time favourite top 5 propliners. Reason being I flew on Air Canada Vanguards as a kid, and was lucky enough to have a flight on a Hunting Vanguard in 1996 for old-times sake. I personally believe that someone who worked for Air Canada decades ago took it upon themselves to junk all movie films of the Air Canada Vanguard that they could get their hands on. Reason being, there was very little decent Vanguard footage in the Air Canada archives. There was zero original air-to-air footage so that was obviously trashed. They did have some horrendously bad quality copy films of air-to-air reels, but they were so bad I did not even both digitizing them. I guess somehow, the footage that miraculously did not get turfed was missed by the axeman and lucky, we are able to enjoy it today as presented in this film. I suspect when the DC-8 jets were well established and the Vanguards were being retired in the late 1960s, someone was given the order to “get rid of all that Vanguard footage as we want to erase all record of that aircraft, as Air Canada is now an all jet-turbine Airline!” Just so you know, I have located an original colour air-to-air TCA Vanguard reel from a contact in the UK who sourced the film from Vickers’ stocks, and I am in the process of digitizing this amazing film. And it will be released exclusively here on JetFlix this year. So watch out for it!

  2. <path_to_url> Carl Haluss

    Mesmerizing footage! Luckily, I got to ride on the Air Canada DC-8 41, 50, 61 and 63 series over the years. My only regret is missing out on the Vanguard.
    That Toronto-Barbados must have been about maximum range for the Vanguard?
    Thanks,
    Carl

    • <path_to_url> Henry Tenby

      I think they had the Vanguard on the Barbados run (4+ hours on a 767 or Airbus today) as loads were too light for a DC-8, and there was nothing else in the fleet in the early 1960s that could manage the range, as you point out. Other than a DC-4M2 Northstar, which was at the end of the aircraft’s operational life with the airline. I too had all the DC-8s as a kid in the 60s and 70s. And even flew an ex Air Canada DC-8-63 with Air Paraguay .. and that video is available right here on JetFlix TV too.

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