|STANDARD DATA: Seats 88-110. Gross wt. 184,500. Empty wt. 88,615. Fuel capacity 12,534. Engines four 11,650-lb. s.t. General Electric turbojets.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 615. Cruise mph 501. Stall mph 121. Initial climb rate 3,565. Range 3,995. Ceiling 41,000. Takeoff run 8,050. Landing roll 6,150.
First of General Dynamics jet passenger airplanes, the Convair 880 began to set speed records soon after its introduction into airline service. Still considered one of the fastest jetliners, the medium-range transport achieves much of its speed through the use of a comparatively thin wing swept back at 35 degrees. Powered by four General Electric engines, an advanced version of the engine used on the supersonic B-58 “Hustler” bomber, the 880 cruises at 615 mph. The combined power of the engines permits an airline operation at 89% of the speed of sound.
The FAA certified the 880 for airline use on May 1,1960, and 15 days later Delta Airlines put the liner into commercial service. TWA began 880 service in January 1961. Airplane spotters can differentiate the Convair 880 from other transports with four engines mounted on the wings by its nose, engines, air scoops, and tail. The tip of the empennage is formed with a right angle, giving the appearance of being sharply cut off, unlike the smooth flare to a point as seen on other airliners. The engines of the 880 are narrow compared to those on Boeing or Douglas aircraft, and the long sleek nose comes almost to a point. Other features of the 880 not seen on the 707 or DC-8 are two air scoops located underneath the wing root on each side. These scoops collect air that is compressed and conditioned for cabin use.