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LOT leases a DC-8

Photo of DC-8 leased by LOT

The transatlantic route from Warsaw to New York—and to other cities in United States and Canada—was always very important to LOT Polish Airlines. After the Il-62M disaster in 1987, LOT needed to lease an aircraft that could fly to the US. LOT decided to lease a four-engine aircraft — a McDonnell Douglas DC-8—for one year from the US airline ARROW AIR (headquartered in Miami, Florida). According to the British aviation magazine "Flight International", Arrow Air in 1988 had 95 employees and four DC-8 aircraft (passenger and cargo versions).

The DC-8 leased by LOT was registered as N8968U, and it was built by McDonnell Douglas at Long Beach, California in the summer of 1969 (c/n 46069). It was a long-range version of the DC-8 named the "Super 62". The aIrcraft was previously used by United Airlines and Braniff International. The DC-8 is from the first generation of jet airliners, and first took to the skies on 30 May 1958.

The DC-8 Super 62 was, according to MD, the long-range version of the DC-8. MD wanted a Super 62 that could fly from central Europe to west coast of United States without landing. The Super 62 was longer than previous versions by about 2,04 m. The wing span was also wider than in previous versions. The first flight of the DC-8 Super 62 was made on 29 August 1966, and on 27 April 1967 the type was certified by the FAA ( Federal Aviation Administration).

During flights on the Warsaw-New York-Warsaw route (starting 1 September 1987), aircraft had pilots from Arrow Air and cabin crew from LOT Polish Airlines. Two mechanics from Arrow Air—Timothy Gochenour and James Vidler—were stationed in Warsaw, and they were responsible for aircraft maintenance and preparation for the next flight.

The aircraft leased from Arrow Air had 204 seats (3+3), but during transatlantic flights only about 180 seats were in use. There were two baggage compartments under passenger deck. N8968U was powered by Pratt & Whitney JT3D-7 engines equipped with "hush kits".

Michal Przybysz

Photo courtesy of Bill Hough

Close-up of lettering

DC-8 super 62 specifications:

wing span 45,23 m
length 47,98 m
height 12.92 m
wing area 271,90 sq m
weight 64366 kg
max takeoff weight 151950 kg
max speed 965 km/h
range 9640 km
McDonnell Douglas Corp. logo


Special DC-8 safety instructions