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Classic Jetliners 1960s: Boeing 707 / Douglas DC-8 / Convair 880


In the early 1960s, the world’s airlines were transitioning from piston and turboprop aircraft to jet-powered aircraft. The dawn of the golden age of jet travel had arrived and global travel was becoming a mass, worldwide phenomena. Everyone wanted to travel by jet, and the world’s airlines promoted their jet services by every means possible, including promotional cine films. This DVD takes the viewer back to that magic age with three period films featuring the three golden jets of the era, the Boeing 707, the Douglas DC-8, and the Convair 880.

Chapter 1) This early 1960s film follows a Trans-Canada Air Lines DC-8-42 and her flighdeck crew operating TCA flight 884 from snowy Montreal down to Montego Bay, Jamaica. This film features exterior footage of the DC-8. As well as live flightdeck footage including engine starts, taxi, take-off, inflight, and landing.

(Colour restored as best as possible – 16 minutes)

Chapter 2) In the early 1960s, the Douglas DC-8 and the Convair 880 were Japan Air Lines’ front line long-range aircraft. This early 1960s film opens with busy jet scenes at Haneda Airport. When night falls, the JAL DC-8-50 towed into the hangar for her routine inspection. With the first light of morning, the JAL maintenance crew perform an engine run on the DC-8. After Haneda jet action, film takes us to heavy maintenance overhaul on JAL Convair 880, followed by test flight.

(Black and white – 24 minutes)

Chapter 3) We follow an FAA Air Carrier Inspector as he checks out the enroute operations of a Braniff El Dorado Boeing 707-227 and her crew on a routine Dulles-Dallas-Mexico City flight, circa 1960. This superb film is loaded with live cockpit, cabin and exterior footage. This film is perhaps the best live filming of a classic Boeing 707-227 in existence. The cockpit pre-start checklist, engine start, and ATC is all 100% authentic and filmed live on an actual Braniff 707 operating an actual flight. Add in air-to-air footage, a mini feature on the FAA Boeing 707, great passenger cabin and flight attendant footage. It all makes for a fabulous, not to be missed feature will amaze 707 fans interested in Braniff’s history.

(Colour – 28 minutes)
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4 Responses to “Classic Jetliners 1960s: Boeing 707 / Douglas DC-8 / Convair 880”

  1. <path_to_url> Duncan Mills

    This is amazing footage from a time when a jet ride was a really big deal.

    I suppose the DC-8s served alongside Vanguards on flights to the Caribbean and it is thrilling to see DC-8-40 fin number 810. Between AC and CP there were multiple Conway -8s at major airports. If you sat in the last seat in economy the RRs made a major racket on takeoff, unlike anything you get from the silly quiet engines of today. Note the Douglas-designed Palomar seats with the reading lights mounted in the seat backs.

    On to Braniff: Dulles airport opened for traffic in November 1962, and given the apparent warm weather it is reasonable to date the film spring/summer 1963 at the earliest. I did not catch the registration, but in the event someone caught it, I would be curious to know. BN had but four of the -227s in service, and they all ended up in the pastel colors, but that was not until late 1965.

    • <path_to_url> htenbyslide

      Hello Duncan, Always a pleasure to hear from you and thrilled to hear you enjoyed this show. If you view our Air Canada Vanguard and DC-8 film, you’ll see TCA company footage shot on the inaugural Vanguard flights down to Barbados, Bermuda and Jamaica, which is amazing to see. I think right from the time the Vanguards and DC-8s were delivered to TCA, both served simultaneously on these routes, even though in some instances DC-8s might have been delivered before the Vanguards, and might have served on these routes before Vanguards. The Vanguard was delayed on delivery to TCA, and was kind of obsolete before it went into service, given that it was turboprop powered versus the jet powered DC-8s which beat them to the punch.

      Speaking of noisy Rolls Royce Conway engines, I had the pleasure to sample them a few years ago when I made several visits to Brize Norton to view and film the RAF VC-10s on their last few years of service. On a few memorable instances I was standing under the final approach lights as the VC-10 came in low while bashing circuits and even with the throttles pulled back for close the the flare position, the sound was unbelievable! Mega loud! Today’s Airbus and new generation Boeings are totally without character.

      The Braniff Eldorado 707 film was quite a find. Thank you for dating it given the opening date for Dulles. It was interesting because like the TCA DC-8 film, the cockpit sequences were filmed live on the aircraft, with real checklists and real engine starts, with real audio. It wasn’t filmed on a faked sound stage with dubbed in sound. So these were really live cockpit films from the golden age of classic jetliners. Can you imagine a camera man with a hand held 16mm cine camera and an audio man were both on board and in the cockpits to film this footage. I particularly liked the TCA 4 engine start sequence filmed on the ground in YUL. And you get to hear that amazing whirling sound (I guess it is the starter) as each engine starts up, which was unique to the Conway engine. Priceless stuff!

      Thank you for the comments and observations Duncan. Will look forward to more comments on other films in due course!

  2. <path_to_url> Duncan Mills

    Henry, the various DC-8s all made interesting sounds on startup. The DC-8-50s and -61s, in particular, made a howling sound during one phase of the starting sequence. I understand it was caused by compressed air entering a duct, and it was unique to the nacelle on the -50s and 61s (not the long -62 and -63 ‘barrel’ nacelles).

    • <path_to_url> Henry Tenby

      Hi Duncan, thank you for this excellent info. Yes, this lovely noise is music to the ears. But the JT3, JT4 and Conway engines on the DC-8 also made this fabulous sound as soon as the starter on each engine was activated. You can hear it very clearly on the TCA DC-8 video we have available here in JetFlix.TV platform. Check it out!

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