The quick, quiet Douglas DC-9 plane was America’s first short-to-medium range jet

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The quick, quiet Douglas DC-9 plane from the 1960s

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Along with their competitor Boeing, Douglas (later merged into McDonnell Douglas) was one of the biggest airplane manufacturers in America.

The DC-9, which first flew in 1965, was specifically built so it could service of both large and small airports, which set it apart from other planes of the era.

The airliner was very successful, and the DC-9 model and its offspring were some of the longest-lasting aircraft in operation during the 20th century.

McDonnell Douglas eventually joined forces with their former foe, and merged with Boeing in 1997.

Delta adds a new dimension to jet travel… the quick, quiet DC-9 (1965)

America’s first short-to-medium range jet.

Watch December skies for America’s newest jetliner, the Douglas DC-9. Seating 20 passengers in First Class, 45 in Tourist, and cruising at 560 mph, Delta’s nimble DC-9s will bring quiet comfort and FanJet speed and convenience to many communities for the first time.

DELTA: Best thing that ever happened to air travel

Delta Airlines vintage DC-9 planes (1965)


The quick and quiet Douglas DC-9 is bringing the jet age to just about everybody. (1967)

The new Douglas DC-9 is opening an entirely new approach to air transportation for more and more cities and towns all over the world. In effect, the twinjet DC-9 is creating jetports where none existed before.

And the DC-9 is adding a new dimension to existing jetports, too: a nimble new jet service for both people and airfreight.

An important chapter in this success story is that the DC-9 already has established the highest mechanical reliability rate of any commercial airliner.

The DC-9 is now in service or on order for 33 leading airlines.

Airline livery shown here includes:

  • Alitalia
  • Allegheny
  • Air Canada
  • Continental Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Eastern
  • Korean Air Lines
  • North Central
  • TWA

Douglas DC-9 livery in 1967


Douglas DC-9 (November 1965)

At local airports in a few weeks. The quick, quiet Douglas DC-9, newest member of the Douglas Royal Family of jets.

It brings you big-jet luxury on short-to-medium range trips.

On Air Canada, Allegheny, Ansett-ANA, Bonanza, Continental, Delta, Eastern, Hawaiian, Iberia, KLM, North Central, Northeast, Ozark, Saudi Arabian, Southern, Swissair, Trans-Australia, TWA, and West Coast.

Introducing the Douglas DC-9 jet airplane - November 29, 1965

ALSO SEE: How the Boeing 747 jumbo jet made history


Douglas DC-9: Big plane order set by an airline (1965)

From The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri) March 16, 1965

Continental agrees to acquire 12 Douglas DC-9C craft — Option on six more — Carrier is newest in the family of jet transports

Continental Air Lines will purchase 12 Douglas DC-9C all-jet combination passenger cargo planes at a cost of 40 million dollars and in addition has taken an option on the purchase of another six of the short to medium-range jets.

Robert F. Six, president of the Los Angeles based airline which serves Kansas City, announced today his company had signed a letter of intent for the purchase of the aircraft. Continental will be the first airline to purchase the convertible passenger cargo version of the plane. newest in the family of jet transports.

The new planes, Six said, will be capable of operating as either all cargo, all passenger or mixed passenger cargo configurations. The airline president said the planes will — be purchased with internally generated funds, and with some borrowing of funds from banks and institutional lenders.

Vintage DC-9 plane - TIme saver - 1960s

Delivery of the first jets are set for February, March and April in 1966, with the last of the order of 12 scheduled for delivery in September 1967.

Six said the DC-9C’s, first of the small jets of the type. will be capable of high speed conversion from passenger to cargo and will allow for maximum utilization in a wide variety of services for the important short and medium-range markets served by the airline.

Continental intends to use the new type jets throughout its 21- city, 9-state system covering the Mid-West, Rocky Mountains, Southwest and Far West. In addition to its present Douglas jets, the company’s fleet will permit service to virtually every city on its system with pure jet aircraft.

The Douglas DC-9C will have a T-tail and two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D fan jet engines with a cruising speed of 960 miles an hour and a range of up to 1,000 miles with a full payload.

The all-passenger configuration will be able to carry up to 90 passengers with a capacity for 6,000 pounds of cargo in the hold. The all-cargo version will have a capacity of 21,900 pounds of cargo.

ALSO SEE: Pretty, thin, young and single? Check out these sexist stewardess job requirements of the ’50s & ’60s

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Comments on this story

2 Responses

  1. As someone who used to live under a glidepath to the Minneapolis airport, I have to take issue with saying the DC-9 was “quiet”. IMO it was anything but!

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