Eastern's Golden Falcon
DC-8-21 pictured on a pre-delivery flight. At first I thought
image to have been doctored by airbrushing or whatever means in the
lower/rear fuselage area, robbing us of the chance to positively ID the
ship. However, a similar photo of (apparently) the same
appears in Classic
by Geza Szurovy, and shows precisely the same thing. Perhaps
aircraft was not entirely painted at the time? If you have
complete knowledge than mine, please pass the facts on to me.
can guess that this is Eastern's first DC-8-21, N8601. It
the company's schedules from January, 1960 to January, 1971.
- Douglas photo
Noted airline historian
and artist Mike Machat explains:
"... the elusive "white tail" EAL
DC-8. Many other photos of this airplane show the lower tail
painted white, possibly sprayed on with a removable water-based paint
since the sharp trailing edges of the cheat stripe clearly show gross
overspray. As I recall, this was a test for a possible all-white color
scheme for Eastern's new Golden Falcon Jet, a la
Delta's Golden Crown 880. The white paint was applied aft of the wing
only, to test debris kick-up patterns from the main landing gear.
Obviously, it didn't work, and the airplanes wound up with polished
bare-metal lower fuselages.
The DC-8 depicted is Eastern's first, N8601. This aircraft,
N8602, and possibly N8603 were
delivered with the new "complete color scheme" as designed by
Raymond Loewy, featuring long titles above the window
(also briefly painted with "DC-8B" at the end), and
the distinctive all-black anti-glare panel
and nose radome. Subsequent EAL '8s were then delivered with a series
of changes including titles shortened to "FLY EASTERN AIR
LINES," removal of the dark blue cap atop the tail
fin, a solid red bird on the tail, and elimination of the nose markings
leaving only the standard small black dot on
the radome, and a small black-with-red-pinstripe scallop for the
From first delivery in
1959 to the "Hockey Stick" colors in 1965, Eastern DC-8s wore a total
of nine color scheme variations."
- Thanks for helping out with that, Mike!