EASTERN AIRLINES DC-9! EASTERN AIRLINES DC-9!

The Aviation Art of Richard Louis Newman


Welcome to "In The Studio" with Eastern's DC-9!

This is a DC-9. It is similar to the Eastern series 31 model that I will paint on line over the next few months. She is 119ft. 4" long, with a wing span of 93ft. 4". Her vertical stabilizer stretches 27ft. 6", and her T-tail horizontal stabilizer is 36ft.10" wide. She can carry up to 115 passengers on a journey spanning 1500 miles without refueling. Her JT8D-7B engines produce 14,500 lbs of thrust each. She is a sleek and beautiful ship.

Our "technical advisor" will be former EAL Captain and DC-9 pilot, Harry Anderson, who has logged over 5,900 hours in the DC-9, 1,500 of them as Captain.

I asked Captain Anderson to share with me some of his experiences flying the DC-9, and this was his reply:

"I feel that flying the DC-9 was the last of the really fun airplanes to fly. This airplane was designed with operational aspects being primary as the two pilot concept on jet transport was not that common. All flight operation system components were displaced in plain view on the annunciator panel in the center of the cockpit. The aircraft's fuel, hydraulic, electrical, air conditioning and pressurization systems were basic and easy to troubleshoot. The airplane however required constant vigilance as it could be very unforgiving if you did not do your homework. It was demanding on ice or very wet runways. No pilot who ever flew this airplane can claim consistent smooth landings. It was just plain stubborn and stingy in allowing you to do so. The DC-9 was a challenge and great fun to fly. It handled well, was extremely responsive and the aircraft systems always worked as designed with few exceptions. It was a true workhorse. The most important concept of flying this airplane was good crew coordination. You never had over three F/A and flying trips with a small crew made it more personal and much fun."

I'm really looking forward to painting the DC-9. I hope you'll enjoy joining Captain Anderson and myself as we fly away in Eastern's DC-9 -- N8948E. All of you pilots, please check your log books and she if you ever flew this ship. If you did, please drop me a line. I'm sure we'll all make this one interesting flight!




January 13, 2002 -- This week, SAS Airlines retired the last of its DC-9 Fleet. This photo was sent in by my new aviation friend and fellow artist Captain Torben Sorensen of Denmark. This picture of Torben was taken just before roll out of his last flight as a DC-9 Captain. He will now advance his flying career to the Airbus.

While this page features the creation of an "Eastern" DC-9, the subject of the page is about the DC-9 and what a great aircraft it was (and still is!) I asked Captain Sorensen to share with us a little bit about the SAS DC-9s, and this is what he had to say:


"25th, January 1966 SAS ordered 10 DC 9 -41 and option on 14 more. The very first DC 9 that was delivered to SAS was OY-KGA Hemming Viking on the 29th. February 1968. It flew itīs last flight in SAS on 17th. September 1991. All the SAS planes have names relating to the old Norse / Viking names. To operate mainly in Northern Norway SAS had ordered 10 DC 9 -21, the only - 21 ever made, especially for SAS. It was a "hot rod" equipped with the same engines JT 8D - 11. It was nick-named "DC 9 Sport" in SAS. First delivered 11th. December 1968 OY -KGD Ubbe Viking, and it flew itīs last flight in SAS on 30th. March 1995. It flew a few years in the US for Spirit Air, but is now used as spare parts, as far as I know. Besides the -41 and -21 models SAS also operated two ī- 33, freighter versions, LN - RLW and SE - DBN, from 1969 till 1988. All in all we were at one time up to 64 DC 9 and they were the backbone in the fleet.

It all adds up to 3.100 000 flight hours which is 350 years airborne ! Official data of the end for operation of DC 9 in SAS was the 7th. January 2002. I have been on the DC 9 from 1977 - 2002 25 years and logged about 11000 hours. As I mentioned to you my last flight was from Frankfurt to Copenhagen on the 6th. SK 634 and that is where the picture of me is taken in the cockpit in Frankfurt Airport just prior to start up.The eight DC 9īs (or nine) we have left now will be stripped for paint and the leasing company who owns them will most likely decide what is going to happen to them. Most likely they will be ferry flown to the US, and like some of our other DC 9īs, be placed somewhere in the desert. I had the pleasure as I told you, to ferry fly a DC 9 - 21 to Miami a few years ago. That was really something. Oslo - Keflavik - Goose Bay - Bangor - Miami, and with a small DC 9 -21 OY -KGE it was quite marginal fuelwise, but lovely coming from minus 6 degr. in Oslo and stepping out at Miami Int. in 28 degr. C."


Well, here we go again everyone. Welcome to the studio as we begin the Eastern DC-9 project. For those of you who watched me paint the EAL 727, you're already familiar with what you are looking at, but for those who have just stopped in, let me explain a little about what is happening on the canvas. The colors in the background are the "underbrushing" on which I will begin to apply thin layers of paint, one on top of another, until I build up the color that will eventually take us to the finished painting. As we go, you'll see feathery cirrus take their place in our sky, and the ground colors will fill in. The horizon will become quite hazy as we create the illusion of distance. It will be fun for me to paint, and I hope fun for you to watch. In this first image you can see our DC-9 penciled in place.

In the second image we see the tail has begun to take shape. I will work from the tail and move up the fuselage over the next few sessions. While I never was employeed by Eastern, I still get a big kick watching their beautiful colors take to the sky. It almost makes it seem as though we could go to the phone and book a flight. I suppose if life were "fair" we could. But for the time being we'll just have to let our imaginations take flight ... I don't know about you, but I have a lot of imagination! Please keep checking back -- we're underway!

In this shot we are slowly moving up the fuselage, applying the underbrushing. I'm also glazing in cirrus clouds ... they are very faint at present but will be brought out more as work continues.

948 begins to look more like an airplane in today's photo. The underbrushing on the fuselage in nearly complete ... I have already begun working in shadow in the lower section of the fuselage but there is a lot of work to be done. As Eastern flew many airplanes in "bare-metal", I have to apply several thin layers of "blue" on top of the silver to get the desired effect. The bare-metal also reflects all of the colors in the sky and this has to be worked in as well. Also, the port wing will be highly reflective, and we'll actually see the blue hockey stick mirrored off of the wing's surface in this painting. In the next couple of sessions I will be putting more time in on the background as well.

Work continues now on the DC-9. This image will change often as the picture works its way towards completion, so please keep checking back. Thanks for all the letters of support, especially from my "adopted" Eastern family.

Back to Main Page


Return to the Gallery