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"Sully" Sullenberger And Scott Skiles Checkout In The Douglas DC-7

by John M. White |

Several airlines were still operating the Douglas DC-7 aircraft when I was learning to fly while attending Michigan State University. We always had to be careful to not taxi too close behind those 4 engine behemoths to avoid being blown over by the "prop wash". Believe it or not, this was in the mid-60s while the airlines were moving through turboprop aircraft like Convair 5802s, Lockheed Electra L188s and the Vickers Viscount 4 engine turboprops to Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 turbojet aircraft. As the Second World War wound down aircraft manufacturer's turned their attention to the airlines as a source of revenue to replace all of those military aircraft they had been building for years. Experience such as was gained building the Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" for high altitude flight over long distances shrank the world and made air travel more attractive than ever. Soon cross country flights were common place, and the airlines were scrambling to compete for the growing population's acceptance of air travel as safe and convenient. Which brings me to a post I read recently at the Aviation Mentor blog published on February 27, 2012. Apparently there are still folks around who want to restore these historic aircraft and preserve them for the public to view and enjoy in the future. The Historical Flight Foundation has an operating Douglas DC-7 and our old friends "Sully" Sullenberger and Scott Skiles wound up getting checked out in this aircraft. Imagine for a moment these two "jet jockeys" with thousands of hours in turbojet airliners now working with a flight engineer managing 4 cantankerous Wright R-3350-30W radial piston engines, 3,250 hp piston engines! Here is the video of "Sully" and Skiles getting checked out in the DC-7: And, just to round it out, here are the specifications for the Douglas DC-7 aircraft:

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 Pilots, 1 Flight Engineer, 2 Flight Attendants
  • Capacity: 64 to 95 Passengers
  • Length: 108 ft, 11 in (33.20 m)
  • Wingspan: 117 ft, 6 in (35.81 m)
  • Height: 28 ft, 7 in (8.71 m)
  • Empty weight: 58,150 lbs (26,376 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 114,600 to 122,000 lbs (51,982 to 55,338 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Wright R-3350-30W radial piston engines, 3,250 hp (2,423 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 405 mph (652 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 359 mph (578 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 97 mph (156 km/h)
  • Range: 5,164 mi w/ max fuel & 3,565 mi w/ max payload (8,311 km w/ max fuel & 5,737 km w/ max payload)
  • Service ceiling: 28,400 ft (8,656 m)
And lest we forget, here is the cockpit instrument panel for the DC-7: Douglas DC-7 Cockpit Instrument Panel For more information read Douglas Propliners: Skyleaders, DC-1 to DC-7, for a historical perspective on these wonderful aircraft. Or, if you prefer add a beautiful Douglas DC-7 aircraft model to your collection! Please share "Checkout In The DC7" with your friends using the buttons below. Thanks! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7+ ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

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