Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Role||Civil air transport|
|Crew||3 or 4|
|Passengers||99 to 105|
|Manufacturer||Douglas Aircraft Company|
Long Beach, California
|Length||112 ft 3 in||37 m|
|Wingspan||127 ft 6 in||42 m|
|Height||31 ft 10 in||10.5 m|
|Wing area||1,637 ft²||152 m²|
|Empty||72,763 lb||33,050 kg|
|Maximum takeoff||143,000 lb||65,000 kg|
|Engines||Four Wright R-3350 radial piston engines|
|Power||13,600 hp||10,140 kW|
|Cruising speed||355 mph||570 km/h|
|Maximum speed||406 mph||650 km/h|
|Range (DC-7A)||4,605 miles||7,400 km|
|Range (DC-7C)||5,635 miles||9,016 km|
|Service ceiling||25,000 ft||7,620 m|
|Rate of climb||1,043 ft/min||318 m/min|
|Wing loading||87.4 lb/ft²||427.6 kg/m²|
|Power/Mass||0.10 hp/lb||160 W/kg|
The Douglas DC-7 is an aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1953 to 1958. It was the last major piston transport made by Douglas, coming just a few years before the advent of jet aircraft such as the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. 338 were produced: about 40 are still in service.
American Airlines revived the designation when it requested an extended-range DC-6 for its transcontinental services. At the time, the Lockheed Constellation was the only aircraft capable of making a nonstop coast-to-coast flight in both directions. Douglas was reluctant to build the aircraft until AA president C. R. Smith placed a firm order for twenty-five at a price of $40 million, covering Douglas's development costs.
The prototype flew in May of 1953, and American received its first DC-7 in November, inaugurating the first nonstop coast-to-coast service in the country (taking 8 hours) and forcing rival TWA to offer a similar service with its Super Constellations. The DC-7, however, suffered from unreliable engines, and many transcontinental flights had to be diverted because of in-flight engine failures.
The early DC-7's were only sold to U.S. carriers. European carriers could not take advantage of the small range increase in the early DC-7, so Douglas released an extended-range variant, the DC-7C (Seven Seas) in 1956. Pan Am used DC-7C aircraft to inaugurate the first nonstop New York-London service, forcing BOAC to buy the aircraft rather than wait on the delivery of the Bristol Britannia. The DC-7C found its way into several other overseas airlines' fleets, including SAS, which used them for cross-polar service to North America and Asia. However, the 7C's sales were cut short by the arrival of the 707 and DC-8 a few years later.
Starting in 1959, Douglas began converting DC-7A and DC-7C aircraft into DC-7F freighters, which extended the life of the aircraft past its viability as a passenger transport.
Historical operators of the DC-7 include Alitalia, American Airlines, BOAC, Braniff Airways, Caledonian Airways, Delta Air Lines, Eastern Airlines, Emirates, Japan Airlines, National Airlines, Northwest Orient, Panair , Pan American World Airways, Sabena, SAS, THY, and United Airlines.
Today, many DC-7's are based in the western United States, and used for pouring water on wildfires ("water bombing"). A few others are used for air cargo. Due to its engine problems, the DC-7 has not had the same longevity as the DC-6, which is still used by a number of commercial operators. The U.S. military also passed on the DC-7, although a few foreign militaries purchased the aircraft as a transport.
|Related Development||DC-4 - DC-6|
|Similar Aircraft||Lockheed Constellation - Boeing 377|
|Designation Series||DC-4 - DC-5 - DC-6 - DC-7 - DC-8 - DC-9 - DC-10|
|Related Lists||List of airliners - List of civil aircraft|
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