Douglas DC-8 (piston airliner)
|Developed from||Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster|
The Douglas DC-8 was a piston-engined airliner project by Douglas Aircraft. A prototype built more than a decade before the Douglas DC-8 jetliner, the piston-engined DC-8 was to have propellers in the tail, an idea first used at Douglas by Edward F. Burton on a fighter project. The airliner project was canceled after development costs made it not commercially viable.
Design and development
Based on the cancelled XB-42, the program began shortly after the end of World War II. It was intended to operate on short- and medium-range routes, carrying between 40 and 48 passengers in a then-novel pressurized cabin (which had been pioneered by the Boeing 307 in 1938, but was still not in standard airline use).
The DC-8 was to use the same Allison V1710s as the XB-42 (these rated at 1,375 hp (1,025 kW)), fitted below and immediately behind the cockpit. They were to power contra-rotating propellers in the tail, as in the XB-42, by way of driveshafts under the cabin floor (an arrangement reminiscent of the P-39.) This arrangement, also proposed for the Douglas Cloudster II general aviation aircraft, reduced drag by 30% and eliminated the problems associated with controlling the aircraft with one engine out. Cabin access would have been by airport stair through a single portside door.
Despite performance predicted to significantly surpass conventional twin airliners, excessive complexity and high development costs (with consequent high sales price and operating costs) meant that less risky types, such as Convair's 240 and Martin's 2-0-2 were preferred, and the DC-8 was dropped before a prototype was built.
Data from DC-8 that might have been 
- Crew: three
- Capacity: 48 passengers
- Length: 77 ft 8 in (23.67 m)
- Wingspan: 110 ft 2 in (33.58 m)
- Height: 26 ft 9.75 in (8.1725 m)
- Wing area: 1,104 sq ft (102.6 m2)
- Aspect ratio: 11:1
- Airfoil: Douglas S-17
- Empty weight: 24,415 lb (11,074 kg)
- Gross weight: 40,000 lb (18,144 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Allison V-1710-G4L/R liquid-cooled V12 engine, 1,600 hp (1,200 kW) each (take-off power)
- Maximum speed: 280 mph (451 km/h; 243 kn) at 20,200 ft (6,150 m)
- Cruise speed: 237 mph (206 kn; 381 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m) - 60% power
- Range: 2,370 mi (2,059 nmi; 3,814 km)
- Service ceiling: 30,500 ft (9,296 m)
- Rate of climb: 940 ft/min (4.8 m/s)
- Related development
- Francillon, René J. McDonnell Douglas aircraft since 1920 (Putnam, 1979), p. 432.
- Francillon 1979, p. 714
- Francillon 1979, p. 715
- Francillon 1979, pp. 714–5 & diagram
- Francillon, p. 432.
- "Tail Pusher Cruises at 200mph", March 1947, Popular Mechanics article with photos of Cloudster II
- Francillon 1979, pp. 715 & diagram
- Morgan 1972, pp. 54–55.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Douglas airliners.|
- DC-8 'Skybus' concept
- "Your Pin-up Douglas DC-8 Transport", February 1946, Popular Science bottom of page 96, art work Page 97
- "Tail End Propellers Will Push The New Douglas Air Transport", November 1945, Popular Science early article revealing DC-8 design to general public
- "New U.S. Transports" a 1945 Flight article on the DC-8 and Martin 202