Nowadays if you are an airline operating within the US domestic market and you wish to serve a route pair you simply do just that, after relatively little fuss and bother, but prior to 1978, when the US market was regulated by the Civil Aeronautics Bureau (CAB), starting new routes was a marathon process. Indeed, most of the time getting permission to start a new route, especially if there was any competition involved, was a non-starter. Whence the regulated period threw up a selection of idiosyncratic practices that made sense then but look a bit weird today. One of these was the concept of interchange services.
National Airlines had been at war with its much larger rival Eastern almost since it came into existence and the feud between the two airlines irascible larger than life leaders, George Theodore Baker and Eddie Vernon Rickenbacker was legendary. Baker loved nothing more to get one over on Rickenbacker and the two airlines competed heavily for traffic on the North-South routes between cities like New York and Miami. Speed was the name of the game in the 1940s and 50s and whoever was fastest had a clear advantage with passengers.
DC-8 Ship One, registered N8008D, was rolled out of the Douglas Aircraft - Long Beach, CA - Factory on April 9, 1958. The Prototype DC-8 made its first flight on May 30, 1958 in front of over 95,000 employees and spectators.
In a nice nod to the type, and to the loveliness of their mould, in 2008 Aeroclassics released 6 models charting the career of the very first Douglas DC-8.
National Airlines was a well run Trunk airline during the 1970s and like Continental built its fleet around two types in that decade - the DC-10 and 727. In 1970 National gained the rights to service Europe and opened a Miami-London route, initially with 747s. European services expanded and the 747s were gradually replaced by the long-range DC-10-30 – National already being a DC-10-10 customer since 1971.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: