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Browsing Tag: DC-8

Engine No. 2/vertical stabilizer ("the tail") of the Orbis MD-10-30F Flying Eye Hospital (N330AU). Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter

Engine No. 2/vertical stabilizer (“the tail”) of the Orbis MD-10-30F Flying Eye Hospital (N330AU) – Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter

On June 2, Orbis International launched their new, third-generation “Flying Eye Hospital” on board a converted MD-10-30F donated by FedEx. Orbis is a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) that aims to provide advanced eye care and medical training to communities throughout the world without access to such facilities, technology, and expertise… literally bringing the hospital to patients and caregivers who need it the most.

I was invited aboard for a special private tour to see this mobile hospital for myself and learn about more its history, design, and purpose, and I created a short video slideshow of highlights…

an ATI DC-8

N799AL parked on the ramp in Sacramento

On May 26, 2012, my dream came true.

As adamant as you can be when you’re a child, convincing your family to fly to Hawaii on United Airlines just so you can say goodbye to the last of the narrowbody four-holers is a long shot. Especially when there were fewer-stop options available through Vancouver. I tried, though.

Until February of 2012, I was pretty sure that I’d never get to fly on a DC-8. Then my fortunes changed.

A company called Classic Jet Tours had managed to organize a passenger flight on a DC-8-62CF belonging to Air Transport International. After seeing my friends posting their boarding passes on Facebook, I jumped on it; I paid my fee, booked travel to Sacramento, and began counting the days.

Ah, flying how it used to be. Although a fun commercial with a great cast of airplanes, I feel it overly beautifies the earlier years of air travel. Sure, it was a big deal at the time since it was so costly and it was still new, but even comparing to 1984’s standards it would have been a bad experience for most people.

For aviation nerds, being able to fly on an old United Airlines Ford Tri-Motor would be an amazing experience. However, for most people it would be horrid. Very loud, lots of vibrations, uncomfy seats, and lots of fuel stops between point A and point B. Your coffee might have been served on a silver platter and given a glass of chocolate milk, but that doesn’t make it worth while.

Even with the “now” portion of the video, which takes place in 1984, it is a lot different than it is in 2011. A first class seat on a current United Airlines Boeing 747 is going to be much more comfortable and probably a bit cheaper. Not to mention all that interesting in-flight entertainment available now.

Sorry, I am not trying to harp too much on this video, I really enjoy it. Who can not like a video with a Ford Tri-Motor, Boeing 747-200, DC-10 and DC-8? I think it just supports the idea that flying used to be so much more glamorous, where I think it is just as glamorous or even a bit more than it used to be (not to even mention safer) — it is all about perspective.