DC-7C in BOAC Service

On 31 October 1956, the initial Douglas DC-7C for BOAC, c/n 45111 G-AOIA, touched down in the UK. We had an eye over this 3rd American aircraft type after the Lockheed Constellation Constellation models 049 and 749 and the Boeing Stratocruiser, addition to the fleet.

Unlike the resource and time-consuming custom requests that BOAC and also BEA were known for, the Seven Seas were, as delivered, standard products – and none the worse for that. In its way, the expression "off the shelf" compliments Douglas and BOAC. To the former for producing variants suited to its customers and the latter for a rational approach to buying an aircraft. Undoubtedly, it would have been easy for the British Overseas Airways Corporation to have demanded all manner of special equipment and particular furnishings for its DC-7Cs – and to have paid a lot more and waited much longer for them. They arrived in advance of schedule as a result.

The first aircraft was a four-abreast 60-seater with roof-folding bunks for normal first-class operations over the North Atlantic. Sixty may be a lot of seats, but the fuselage interior had three compartments, so it looked open. With the same arrangement but using a five-abreast seating layout, the DC-7C could be a 72-seater for tourist operations. BOAC had used it as a 48-seater when flown on the super first-class services, which IATA approved for 1957 and which were flown in the President Special services for some time past by Pan American on the more important of its long-haul services.

In its standard first-class form, BOAC's DC-7C had an eight-passenger compartment ahead of the forward washroom/toilet area; a 36-seat compartment ahead of the main entrance, including the galley and bar equipment coat-stowage space; and a 16-seat compartment behind which had two more toilets. By removing the conventional central door in the flight deck/passenger bulkhead, two transversely mounted flight crew rest bunks saved space in the crew compartment. BOAC's regular flight-deck crew for North Atlantic operations consisted of three pilots, a navigator, and an engineer; the DC-7C for a two-pilot operation, with a jump seat for the engineer or third pilot member of the crew. The equipment on the flight deck was almost entirely North American, with Sperry Integrated Flight System groups as the primary flying instruments. 

The 'Seven Seas' ascendency was, however, short-lived. The long-delayed British Bristol Britannia began operating in late 1957 and pure jets only a few years later, making the DC-7C obsolete. BOAC converted most to freighters in 1960.






1956 - 1964
1956 - 1964
1956 - 1964
1956 - 1963
1956 - 1964
1956 - 1964
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