The DC-8 SUPER 70 Conversion

By the late seventies, many of the -60 Series DC-8 operators were looking for ways to extend the life of their -61, -62, and -63 series DC-8's.  United, Flying Tigers, and Delta were among the first carriers to begin a joint study of re-engine options. A newer engine would mean a increase in efficiency and performance and a decrease in noise output.

In 1977, several retired McDonnell Douglas executives formed Cammacorp as a contractor for DC-8 conversions and retrofitting projects. Cammacorp selected the GE/SNECMA CFM-56 engine to power the next generation DC-8's. Grumman Aerospace was contracted to supply engine nacelles and the redesigned pylons that were required for the new engine.

The first aircraft converted was a UAL DC-8-61. Work began in October, 1980. The aircraft was to be redesignated the DC-8-71. In 1981 conversion orders began flooding in. In April of '81, the FAA awarded the -71 type certificate. Certificates for the -72 and -73 followed shortly.

In March of 1981, Cammacorp acquired a United Airlines DC-8-62 for it's first -72 conversion. The aircraft would be configured as an executive aircraft for a large corporation. Jim Northcutt, who represented the purchasing customer during the conversion of the "new" -72, was kind enough to provide the following photographs taken during certification testing over Arizona.

By 1986 the Super 70 conversion program had reached its final stages. 110 aircraft had been converted including 53 (-71's), 7 (-72's), and 50 (-73's). The final conversion produced was the -72 for NASA that is featured on this website's Unusual 8's page. 

After assuring that parts and spares would be available through it's vendors, Cammacorp closed it's doors in 1986. The Super 70 program was a profitable success for all parties involved.

Sources:    Jim Northcutt - Photos and information 
Great Airliners Series Volume Two - Douglas DC-8, Terry Waddington

Click thumbnails for full size images.

pre_stall_dirty.jpg (26836 bytes) post_stall_dirty.jpg (22500 bytes) transcowl.jpg (30975 bytes)

Dirty configuration

Post Stall
Dirty configuration
Testing of the Transcowl
reverser system.
test_over_az.jpg (42699 bytes)
Testing over Arizona