MIAMI – Today in Aviation, American Airlines (AA) introduced its first Douglas DC-7 (N305AA) into transcontinental service in 1953.
The inaugural flight was operated from New York Idelwild to Los Angeles (LAX). By doing so, AA became the first airline to provide non-stop transcontinental service in both directions.
Trans World Airlines (TWA) had began nonstop eastbound services in October.
An Airliner For American
Indeed, the DC-7 was built to meet AA’s requirements. The airline had requested that Douglas build an airliner that could compete with TWA’s Super Constellations and fly coast-to-coast in around eight hours.
The plane-maker was initially hesitant to build the airliner until AA placed an order for 25. This covered Douglas’ development costs for the aircraft.
In AA service the DC-7 was configured initially for 65 passengers in an all first-class configuration. As more examples arrived the airline expanded its transcon offering and by the end of 1954, three non-stop flights per day were offered between New York and LAX.
The DC-7 was a development of the DC-6B and had major advances over its predecessor. This included being the fastest aircraft in service at the time, cruising at a top speed of 580 kilometers (360 miles) per hour.
However, the introduction of the Boeing 707 and Douglas Dc-8 jet-liners put end to the DC-7. AA retired its final DC-7 in August 1962. The airline operated 34 of the original variant and 24 of the upgraded -7Bs.
Featured image: Despite being retired from passenger service, 15 of AA’s DC-7Bs were converted to freighters and remained in service until 1967. Photo: Bill Larkins, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons