The Douglas DC-8 was the hottest competitor of Boeings 707, but was never as successful as the 707. In 1955, one year after the first flight of the Boeing 707, Douglas announced the launch of the DC-8. The airrcraft has a three-men flight deck and can transport up to 180 passengers. The first flight of a DC-8 was on May 30th 1958, short time before the first B707 were taken into regular service. In late August 1959 there was the FAA certification and so the four-engined-jet could be delivered to the launching customers Delta and United Airlines.
There were five versions of the DC-8 at the beginning. The versions -10 and -20 were constructed for the domestic american market and identical, but had different engines. The series -30 and -40 were built for intercontinental service. These models differ only by their engines, too. The DC-8-50 is a cargo version, available as combi version or as freighter. New engines were used, too.
After the first series of the DC-8 hadn't brought the requested success, Douglas presented new DC-8 types in 1965. These DC-8 Super Sixties base on the DC-8-50, have an eleven metres stretched fuselage as well as extended range and capacity. The DC-8-61 could transport up to 260 passengers. The DC-8-62 was only two metres longer than the -50 and had a capacity of 189 passengers. This version was constructed for extremely long-distance-flights and had a range of nearly 10000km. The DC-8-63 united the size of the -61 and the qualities of the -62 and got new aerodynamical wings. This version of the DC-8 was the last serie which was built in Long Beach, in May 1972 the production of the DC-8 was stopped.
In the Eighties many DC-8 were equipped with new engines by CFM. Range and rentability were increased and takeoff length, fuel consum and noise level could be reduced. These modified versions are called DC-8-71/72 and 73. As the modified DC-8 come up to every noise restriction, they are a liked aircraft for many cargo airlines of the world as they're able to fly every airport and have a very reliable image. Nowadays the most DC-8 are used by UPS, which has nearly 50 modified DC-8.