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Continental Airlines Douglas DC-9-15 Golden Jet


Model ID#:





Golden Jet







Continental Airlines

Model Scale:




historical significance

First Albuquerque Visit:    1966

SKU: Model-0292 Categories: ,

Additional Information:

The Douglas DC-9 is an American five-abreast, single-aisle aircraft designed by the Douglas Aircraft Company. It was initially produced as the Douglas DC-9 prior to August 1967, after which point the company had merged with McDonnell Aircraft to become McDonnell Douglas. In 1959, Douglas was interested in producing an aircraft suited to smaller routes. Approval for the DC-9, a smaller all-new jetliner, came on April 8, 1963. The DC-9-10 first flew on February 25, 1965, and gained its type certificate on November 23, 1965.

The DC-9 is powered by two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D low-bypass turbofan engines under a T-tail. It has a two-person flight deck and built-in airstairs to function better at smaller airports. The Series 10 aircraft typically have up to 90 coach seats.

The DC-9 family is one of the longest-lasting aircraft in production and operation. Beginning in 1965, the DC-9 was first produced on the final assembly line in Long Beach, California and then later was on a common line with the second generation of the DC-9 family, the MD-80. Following the delivery of 976 DC-9s and 108 MD-80s, McDonnell Douglas stopped production of the DC-9 in December 1982. The last member of the DC-9 family, the Boeing 717, was manufactured until 2006 and a total 2441 aircraft were produced.

Continental Airlines, which was last based in Houston, Texas, began operating as Varney Speed Lines on July 15, 1934 with a single route from El Paso, TX to Pueblo, CO stopping at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Vegas, NM. Varney Speed Lines, Southwest Division, was created by Walter T. Varney who also created Varney Air Lines based in Pasco, WA which evolved into United Airlines earlier in 1934. The carrier first operated Lockheed 5C Vega aircraft and Wyoming Air Service operated Stinson SM-8A’s followed by Boeing 247D’s. The carriers’ name was changed to Varney Air Transport in late 1934 and Trinidad, Colorado was added to the El Paso-Pueblo route. In 1937 Varney began obtaining Lockheed Electra aircraft and purchased the Pueblo-Colorado Springs-Denver route segments from Wyoming Air Service which extended the north-south route from El Paso all the way to Denver. Robert F. Six joined the airline in 1935 and soon became President and CEO, changing the carriers’ name to Continental Air Lines on July 1, 1937. Six would go on to oversee the carrier for the next 44 years until 1981. A ticket office was first opened in the Hotel Franciscan in downtown Albuquerque, and then moved to the Hilton Hotel by 1939.

Continental Airlines began serving Albuquerque with the DC-9 on May 5, 1966 on routes to Denver, Colorado Spring, El Paso, Lubbock, and Dallas. All flights from Albuquerque were flown with DC-9’s in the latter 1960’s and the aircraft type continued service until 1974. Continental then reinstated DC-9 service in 1982 after merging with Texas International Airlines. At that time a longer version of the aircraft, the DC-9-30, was also introduced accommodating up to 100 passengers. The DC-9’s continued service until their retirement in 1998.

A Continental DC-9-15 is on the tarmac wearing the original Golden Jet livery.

A Continental DC-9-15 is on its takeoff roll at the Albuquerque Sunport in a new livery introduced in 1967.

A Continental DC-9-15 is parked at the gate at the Albuquerque Sunport.

This Continental DC-9-30 was acquired after the merger with Texas International in 1982.