Developed and built in the 1950s, the Douglas DC-8 is one of the classic airliners of the early jet age.
Designed to compete with the Boeing 707, it emerged after Douglas lost a competition to design a new tanker for the US Air Force (which the 707 won as the KC-135). Nevertheless, it became a popular and important airliner which won many airline orders, and nearly 600 were built.
The DC-8 was developed over a number of different variants, each with a different size/capacity, range, powerplant or other changes designed to attract more orders. It first flew on 30 May, 1958 and entered service with Delta and United Airlines in 1959.
Fast forward just over 60 years and, surprisingly, there are still a couple of active DC-8s, though sadly none are flying passengers any more.
But if it’s hard for you to see a flying one, there are also some which have been preserved for the public to enjoy.
Here’s our list of Douglas DC-8 survivors. We’ll try to keep it updated, so why not bookmark and check back often! And if you have any update, please let us know!
* Last update: 15 April 2020
Active DC-8 Aircraft
9T-TCN 45753/223 DC-8-55(F) Congo Kinshasa Air Force, DRC
9Q-CJL 45909/307 DC-8-62F Trans Air Cargo Services, Kinshasa, DRC
OB-2059-P 45990/375 DC-8-73CF Skybus Jet Cargo
TT-DFJ 45991/380 DC-8-73AF CFS Air Cargo, N’Djamena, Chad
N782SP 46013/427 DC-8-72CF Samaritans Purse, Greensboro, NC
N817NA 46082/458 DC-8-72 NASA Airborne Science Laboratory, Edwards AFB, CA
9S-AJG 46110/487 DC-8-62F Transair Cargo Services, Brazzaville, Congo
9G-AXA 46113/521 DC-8-63AF Meridian Airways, Cameroon
9S-SJO 46133/534 DC-8-73CF Transair Cargo Services, Kinshasa, DRC
Preserved DC-8 Aircraft (and parts of)
N220RB 45280/4 DC-8-21 China Aviation Museum, Beijing, China
N8605 45426/49 DC-8-21 Preserved as a home, Ashland City, TN
F-RAFX/45819 45819/238 Stored, Air & Space Musem, Paris Le Bourget, France
F-RAFE/45570 45570/134 DC-8-53 Air & Space Museum, Paris Le Bourget, France
N8066U 45850/257 DC-8-52 California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA
N799AL 45922/335 DC-8-62F Barbers Point NAS, Honolulu, HI
PR-SKM 46137/527 DC-8-63CF Restaurant, Poços de Caldas, Brazil
PR-SKI 46154/554 DC-8-62F Private property, Lago Taruma, Manaus, Brazil
JA8048 46160/545 DC-8-61 Shanghai Aviation Enthusiasts Centre, China
Stored DC-8 Aircraft (and substantial wrecks)
XA-DOD 45641/15 DC-8-51 Trainer, Mexico City Airport
LN-PIP 45256/40 DC-8-40, Trainer Copenhagen Airport, Denmark
TU-TCP 45568/83 DC-8-53 Fire Trainer Zurich Airport, Switzerland
5A-DGK 45300/101 DC-8-21 August Euler Flugplatz Museum, Griesheim, Germany
YV-499C 45686/210 DC-8-54F WFU Maracaibo, Venezuela
PP-TPC 45752/233 DC-8-52 WFU Manaus, Brazil. To be relocated to New Zealand?
XA-MAX 45810/252 DC-8-71(F) Stored, Mexico City Airport
9Q-CHL 45820/246 DC-8-55F WFU N’djili Airport, Kinshasa, DRC
HK-3984X 45862/259 DC-8-55F Stored, Barranquilla, Colombia
163050 45881/276 DC-8 EC-24A, Stored Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
PR-GPT 45970/343 DC-8-71F WFU Manaus, Brazil
3X-GDN 45953/348 DC-8-62(F) WFU, Tripoli, Libya
PR-ABA 45980/374 DC-8-61(F) WFU Viracopos, Brazil
ZS-OZV 45986/379 DC-8-62(F) WFU Cape Town, South Africa
ZS-PRD 46000/386 DC-8-63(F) WFU Johannesburg O R Tambo, South Africa
N806DH 46002/394 DC-8-73F WFU Kingman, AZ
9J-MKK 46022/417 DC-8-62F WFU Lusaka, Zambia
N995CF 46024/428 DC-8-62(F) WFU Victorville, CA
A6-HLA 46034/434 DC-8-63F WFU Ras al Khaimah, UAE
YA-VIB 46035/438 DC-8-63F Stored Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
N606AL 46044/432 DC-8-73AF Stored Wilmington, OH. For active service as 5Y-RCA?
PP-BEL 46047/447 DC-8-73AF Stored Sao Paulo Guarulhos, Brazil
4R-EXJ 46049/479 DC-8-63CF Stored Nairobi, Kenya
XA-TXS 46054/453 DC-8-63F Stored Queretaro, Mexico
9G-SIM 46061/480 DC-8-63AF Stored Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
N872SJ 46067/455 DC-8-72 Stored Kingman, AZ
5V-TGF 46071/469 DC-8-62 Stored Niamtougou, Togo
N155CA 46073/485 DC-8-73F Stored Roswell, NM
N802DH 46076/451 DC-8-73F WFU Kingman, AZ
PP-BEM 46086/478 DC-8-73CF WFU Manaus, Brazil
N865F 46088/464 DC-8-63CF Stored Detroit Willow Run, MI
OB-2158T 46091/519 DC-8-73CF Stored Victorville, CA – to become N873SJ with Samaritan’s Purse
9G-RAC 46093/496 DC-8-63(F) Stored Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
PP-BET 46103/483 DC-8-73CF WFU Manaus, Brazil
VP-BHM 46111/491 DC-8-62H Stored Stockholm Arlanda, Sweden
N803DH 46123/508 DC-8-73F WFU Kingman, AZ
N805DH 46125/515 DC-8-73F Stored Kingman, AZ
YA-VIC 46126/524 DC-8-63AF Stored Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
N41CX 46129/523 DC-8-62CF Stored Wilmington Air Park, OH. For preservation?
3D-FRE 46132/535 DC-8-62F Stored Ciudad Del Este, Paraguay
N791AL 46150/539 DC-8-62AF WFU Panama City Tocumen Airport
N797AL 46163/556 DC-8-63(F) WFU Victorville, CA
N603AL 46003/401 DC-8-73AF WFU Mojave, CA
N872CA 46040/449 DC-8-71(F) WFU Oscoda, MI
Where to see DC-8s in action
As you can see, there are only a few DC-8s left flying, and of these they tend to be flown on charter and cargo work in the developing world, rather than on regular schedules.
One of the easiest to see is NASA’s Airborne Research Laboratory aircraft N817NA. It is based at Edwards AFB in California, but can often be seen flying across the USA to various bases. Here’s an information page on it with videos, pictures and mission updates: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/aircraft/DC-8/index.html
Another DC-8 which is often seen flying to places where aid and mission work is needed is the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 N782SP. This aircraft formerly flew for Finnair and is a magnificent example of the type. It is based at Greensboro, NC.
Can I fly on a DC-8?
Sadly not, unless you have contacts within the few organisations flying the remaining DC-8s.
The last passenger operator of the DC-8 was ATI Airlines who had a few rows of seats at the rear of their cargo variants. These were retired in 2013.
With thanks to Chris Watson for his help in updating this list.
Do you have an update on this list? Is there a DC-8 missing from the list? Leave a comment or email us with an update.
For a more detailed background on the Douglas DC-8 and its different variants, operational history, important dates and statistics, checkout Flying Firsts by Martyn Cartledge, the new airliner reference guide book.