Stretching out: The Douglas DC-9 story

Struggling to sell Sud Caravelles prompted Douglas to go it alone and build its own short-haul jet. While the result came up short against the Boeing 737, it sparked years of development that saw Douglas, and its aircraft, grow in size, as Stephen Skinner reveals

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The Douglas DC-9-20 on its maiden flight. The 'pocket rocket' was created specifically for SAS Scandinavian Airlines and combined the fuselage of the DC-9-10 and larger wing and more powerful engines of the DC-9-30
TOM SINGFIELD COLLECTION

Douglas dominated commercial aircraft manufacturing before World War Two, and its DC-3 and DC-4 became the Allies’ go-to transport aircraft during the conflict – as the C-47 and C-54, respectively. Based in Santa Monica, California, the airframer continued to build on past successes with the DC-6 and DC-7.

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