I was on my way to the California Science Center in Los Angeles to view the exhibits and see the Space Shuttle Endeavour when something caught my eye. A complete United Douglas DC-8 was sitting in front of a building right beside the road.

That was probably the last thing I expected to see en route to my destination in an Uber. It got me curious – what was it doing there and how long had it been there?

United Douglas DC-8

United Airlines was the launch customer of the Douglas DC-8, along with Delta Air Lines. Both carriers put the aircraft into service on 18 September 1959. The example in Los Angeles registered N8066U was delivered on 1 April 1966 and is a DC-8-52.

The aircraft was retired in 1980 after 14 years with the airline and was donated to the museum. It arrived in LA on 18 June 1984 and seems to have sat around for a while, according to this article in the Los Angeles Times from 1987.

Eventually it was mounted on its pedestal in 2002 where it remains today. IAC Aircraft Painting restored the exterior of the aircraft to keep it looking fresh and that’s how it is today.

Can You Go Inside?

Quite frankly, I would have leapt at the chance to go inside, but it doesn’t seem to be possible. There is no way to get up there, let alone open a door and walk right in. Luckily we have a video from 1965 called “Plane Talk” that shows what it must have been like when it was delivered.

From six minutes into the video, the guy boards a United Douglas DC-8 and you can see the interior. Looks pretty nice, doesn’t it? The entire video is worth checking out, as it’s a real look into air travel back in the 1960s.

Overall Thoughts

It’s always nice to see an aircraft preserved, even if you are unable to go inside. The United Douglas DC-8 in Los Angeles certainly gets your attention when passing by in a car.

Luckily it is in sunny California, so the elements shouldn’t be ruining the plane too much. Now, if only I could find some way to get in… I should have taken training as a cat burgler!

Have you seen this Douglas DC-8 in Los Angeles? Ever been inside? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Restoration image via Aviation24.be.