I think this is my 52nd blog, somewhere along the way, I lost count, a little bit, so I might be plus one or minus one.
Last week at this moment, I was getting ready for my trip to Sacramento, California, as I had been hired to be the Official Photographer of Classic Jet Tours Enthusiasts flight on Saturday, May 26th on a DC-8, jet. This aircraft was flown by ATI, or Air Transport International LLC, which is primarily a cargo carrier, yet they have a couple of DC-8’s that are called “Combi” aircraft, which means both cargo AND passengers fly on the main deck of the aircraft. There are many DC-8’s that used to fly passengers around during the 60’s and 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, but now earn their living flying freight around the world. Here in the United States, ATI is the only carrier still operating the DC-8. UPS quit flying them a few years ago, but they did have a large fleet of them, at one point and time.
Classic Jet Tours was founded about two years ago by a young man named Sean Burris. His company hired me last year to be the Official Photographer on their first flight, which was a BAC-111. That was a great trip and I knew this would be no exception.
This DC-8 was built in 1968 at the Douglas Aircraft factory in Long Beach, California. This particular plane was first delivered to SAS Airlines, it has also flown with Thai Airways and I believe the Royal Thai Air Force before coming to ATI. Our flight was going to be from McClellan Airport (MCC), which was formerly a United States Air Force base, and we were going to fly the jet down to Long Beach, California and take a quick tour to the factory where this jet was built.
The jet only holds 30 passengers in the rear area of the aircraft, and the cargo hold is forward from the passenger compartment, but we did not have any freight on our plane, it was strictly a pleasure flight. There were numerous people who had come to Sacramento from far away places as Switzerland, Norway, United Arab Emirates and Holland, to name a few countries.
This particular plane has the original engines in them, while many DC-8’s that continue to fly have been fitted with newer, more fuel efficient engines, and much quieter engines. When we took off from MCC to LGB, it was very loud, but being an aviation enthusiast, we all loved the sound of that beast of an aircraft taking us down the runway.
After about an hour and 15 minute flight we landed at the Long Beach Airport and took a quick tour over to the former factories where these jets, along with their smaller brother, the DC-9 family was built. It was really sad to see such large, beautiful buildings that used to produce such outstanding aircraft no longer have any activity inside of them.
We also were able to see the “World Famous” Fly Douglas Jets neon sign. After the short tour of the factory buildings, we re-boarded the aircraft and flew back to McClellan Airport and we were then able to walk around the aircraft for a very long time and photograph it.
Here are some of my photos from the journey, I hope you enjoy them.