DC -10 gevlieg - Geskiedenis

DC -10 gevlieg - Geskiedenis

Op 29 Augustus het die DC 10 sy eerste vlug gemaak. Die DC 10 is ontwerp om 270 passasiers te vervoer. Dit het sterk mededinging ondervind van die Lockehhed L-1011, 'n baie soortgelyke vliegtuig.


Wat het met die McDonnell Douglas DC-10's van Varig gebeur?

In 1927 word Varig die eerste lugredery wat in Brasilië gestig is. Dit het dekades lank die Brasiliaanse kommersiële lugvaart oorheers, veral die internasionale mark. Onder sy vliegtuie was 15 voorbeelde van die opvallende wydverspreide McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 trijet. Teen die tyd dat die lugdiens in 2006 gevou het, het die meeste van sy DC-10's al na ander lugrederye vertrek. Maar waar het hierdie vliegtuie beland?


Van mislukking in vragdeur tot een van die betroubaarste vliegtuie-die DC-10

Deur die geskiedenis heen het lugvaartowerhede 8 vliegtuie gegrond. Baie van hulle was ware pioniers en het iets nuuts gebring die eerste keer dat hulle van die grond af kom.

Die Lockheed Constellation was byvoorbeeld die eerste vliegtuig onder druk wat kommersieel gebruik is. Die de Havilland -komeet was die eerste kommersiële straalvliegtuig wat die wêreld met mekaar verbind het met 'n tipe enjin waarin aanvanklik niemand geglo het nie. Maar hoewel dit vir almal bewys het dat kommersiële vliegtuie die toekoms is, het dit ook verskeie rampe meegebring wat verband hou met 'n ontwerpprobleem.

En natuurlik die een vliegtuig wat alles verander het. Die straler wat die afstand tussen Londen en New York verkort het tot 3 uur op 'n vlug - Concorde. Alhoewel dit beslis 'n revolusie meegebring het, was die tipe 'n jaar lank gegrond ná 'n ongeluk in Parys.

Die afgelope tyd, na twee dodelike voorvalle, het lugvaart se reguleerders die Boeing 737 MAX in Maart gegrond, wat die debat laat ontstaan ​​het of die tipe gekanselleer sal word. Met Boeing se volharding lyk dit egter of die vliegtuig op pad is om weer in 2019 te vlieg.

Maar die 737 MAX was nie die enigste Boeing -vliegtuig met die grond nie. Die Boeing 787 Dreamliner is aangesê om in 2013 te bly nadat verskeie 787's wat deur ANA en Japan Airlines bestuur is, 'n ontwerpfout met die batteryontwerp toon. Die vliegtuig het ook onlangs in die nuus verskyn en Boeing se nalatigheid tydens die bou van die 787 getoon.

Tog was daar nog een vliegtuig. Dit was beslis nie revolusionêr soos die Concorde of die komeet nie, maar dit het beslis iets na die tafel gebring en bedien lugrederye tot vandag toe, selfs na 48 jaar na die eerste toetsvlug.

Is dit sy naam? Die McDonnell Douglas DC-10 of kortliks DC-10.

Die geskiedenis van die DC-10

McDonnell Douglas, wat nou opgehou is en onder die naam van die vervaardiger van Boeing funksioneer, het die DC-10 gebou.

Destyds, in die laat 60's-vroeë 70's, het Boeing nie met Airbus meegeding nie. Airbus het pas sy eerste kommersiële vliegtuig in 1972 gelanseer, maar dit het vroeg gesukkel om verkope in die Verenigde State te maak.

Boeing het meegeding met Douglas, wat later met McDonnell saamgesmelt is en daarna na McDonnell Douglas hernoem is.

Lockheed het ook vir 'n kort tydjie mededinging met die L-1011 gebied, maar die vliegtuig het 'n groot deel van die kwessies, wat dit verhinder het om die Amerikaanse lugvaartmark te oorheers.

In elk geval, Boeing het kop-aan-kop met Douglas gegaan. Na die Tweede Wêreldoorlog het vliegtuie met die naam DC 'n groot deel van die mark vir burgerlugvaart ingeneem.

Maar sodra die vliegtydperk in kommersiële lugvaart begin het, het Boeing baie sterk begin met die Boeing 707 in 1958. Stadig, maar seker, het Boeing die lug bo die VSA en selfs oor die hele wêreld begin oorneem.

Aanvanklik was Douglas nie gefassineer deur die komeet of vliegtuie wat deur vliegtuie aangedryf word nie, aangesien hulle gedink het dat dit net 'n gier was wat sou verdwyn. Boonop het die gronde beslis nie gehelp nie, aangesien almal steeds geglo het dat die probleme van die komeet met die straalmotor verband hou.

Maar toe Douglas besef hoe ver Boeing vorentoe is, het die onderneming begin inhaal. Dit was moeilik genoeg om lugrederye te oortuig om 'n kommersiële vliegtuig te bestel.

Douglas het egter onlangs hul DC-7, 'n suier-aangedrewe vliegtuig, vrygestel, en dit was dus moeilik om vinnig 'n nuwe vliegtuig te kry.

Tog het Douglas in 1958 hul eerste straalvoertuig begin toets-die DC-8. Drie jaar tevore het Boeing reeds 'n 707-prototipe met die vlug wat die 367-80 genoem is, vertoon.

Manoeuvreer rondom Boeing

Alhoewel die artikel hoofsaaklik op die Douglas DC-10 fokus, vra u waarskynlik waarom ek u die storie van die DC-8 en die Boeing 707 vertel.

Dit is belangrik om die huidige situasie te verstaan, aangesien Douglas in wese laat was vir die vliegtuigmotorpartytjie. Hulle moes beweeg rondom die besluite van Boeing. Dit is hoe die DC-9 begin het-deur Boeing te onderbreek met die doel om die plaaslike lugrederymark te oorheers.

Maar die DC-10 het 'n ander agtergrond gehad. Aanvanklik het dit begin as 'n militêre vliegtuig vir die lugmag. Die USAF het Douglas, Boeing en Lockheed genader vir 'n vliegtuig wat baie toerusting kon vervoer. Lockheed het die kontrak gewen.

Dus, Douglas en Boeing het hulself afgevra oor wat hulle moet doen.

Na die baie suksesvolle debuut van die 707 en stygende passasiersgetalle, wou lugrederye meer hê. Meer reikafstand, meer passasiersruimte en meer vliegtuie in die algemeen. Dus is wye liggame gebore. Boeing was die eerste en kondig die Boeing 747 aan, 'n ikoon wat vandag nog vlieg. Die vliegtuig kan van 374 tot 490 passasiers pas, afhangende van die lugdiens se opset.

Lugrederye was in ekstase, veral die nou-bankrot Pan American. Die lugdiens het onmiddellik 25 Boeing 747's bestel en 'n groot invloed gehad op hoe Boeing die vliegtuig ontwerp het.

Sommige was egter versigtig. Dus, McDonnell Douglas het 'n oop mark sonder mededinging om in te werk en 'n klant - American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) het besluit om nie 'n risiko met die 747 te loop nie, aangesien hulle nie gedink het dat hulle die sitplekke op 'n 747 sou vul nie om die aankoop van so 'n vliegtuig te regverdig. Terwyl hulle uiteindelik 'n paar gekoop het, was hulle beslis nie so opgewonde soos Pan American nie. Miskien was hulle reg, want American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) leef nog om die verhaal te vertel.

Voordat American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) egter na McDonnell Douglas gekom het, het Lockheed om dieselfde rede genader-hulle wou 'n kleiner breëliggaamvliegtuig hê as die Queen of the Skies.

DC-10 vs L-1011

Skielik was daar mededinging, want Lockheed het begin met die ontwerp en bou van hul eie tri-jet.

Tog het Lockheed sedert die Electra, wat laas in 1961 geproduseer is, nog nie 'n kommersiële vliegtuig gebou nie. Selfs toe is die Electra aangedryf deur 'n turboprop -enjin. Hulle het 'n groot taak gehad om 'n kommersiële vliegtuig met vliegtuie te ontwikkel.

Aan die ander kant het Douglas baie ervaring in die bou van passasiersvliegtuie. Die programme DC-8 en DC-9 het hulle genoeg agtergrondinligting gegee om vinnig in die ontwikkelingsproses te beweeg.

Hulle het nie oorboord gegaan nie, anders as Lockheed. McDonnell Douglas het gefokus op die verskaffing van 'n eenvoudige, betroubare en maklik verstaanbare vliegtuigontwerp gebaseer op die vorige stralers.

Alhoewel die ontwerp van Lockheed waarskynlik baie meer gevorderd was, aangesien die L-1011 funksies soos 'n autoland-stelsel gehad het, verg dit ook meer tyd en hulpbronne. En as u meeding, het u soms nie die luukse om vir u kliënte te sê dat u sal moet wag of meer moet betaal om die groot uitgawesrekening van Lockheed te regverdig by die ontwikkeling van die L-1011 nie.

Stel u belang in die verhaal van die Lockheed L-1011? Lees ons 'n artikel hieroor!

Dit is waar die DC-10 'n voordeel behaal het. Laastens stel McDonnell Douglas 'n straler vry voordat hul mededingers dit doen. Alhoewel hul pryse identies was volgens 'n ou tydskrifuitgawe van Flight International uit 1972, het die DC-10 pas vinniger ontwikkel.

American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) het dus in 1968 aangekondig dat hulle 25 nuwe DC-10's sal bestel. Die aankondiging het Lockheed geskok. Maar sodoende moes Douglas 'n aansienlike afslag aan AA bied, wat hulle gelukkig gedoen het, omdat hulle wou seker maak dat hul vliegtuig die belangrikste prioriteit vir lugrederye is.

Boonop het Douglas meer weergawes van die DC-10 aangebied. In totaal was daar 9 verskillende DC-10-variante.

Eerste uitgawes

Douglas bied meer buigsaamheid met hul vliegtuig wat op 'n verskeidenheid plaaslike en internasionale markte pas, terwyl Lockheed dit aanvanklik nie kon doen nie.

Met American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) en United Airlines wat die toekoms van die DC-10 met hul bestellings verseker het, het Douglas in Januarie 1970 met die produksie van die DC-10 begin. Nadat die vervaardigingsproses aangepas is, het die onderneming die eerste DC-10 ten toon gestel na die wêreld in Julie van dieselfde jaar. Meer kliënte het ingeskakel vir die nuutste vliegtuig en Douglas was nou seker dat die vliegtuig 'n sukses onder lugrederye is.

Die vorige jaar kondig die maatskappy ook die DC-10-30 aan, wat die gewildste variant van die tri-jet geword het. Uit die 386 DC -10's wat McDonnell Douglas gebou het, was 206 van die -30.

Maar toe die DC-10 in 1970 getoets word, het ingenieurs ontdek dat hulle ontwerp van die vragdeur foutief was. Toe hulle onder die druk van die kajuit druk, het die vragdeur gevlieg en die vloer het die passasierskajuit en die laairuim geskei.

Maar waarom het die DC-10 vragdeure misluk?

Om gewig te bespaar, is die slotdeur se sluitmeganisme verander van 'n hidrouliese aandrywer na 'n elektriese. Dit was nuut vir Douglas, aangesien hulle 'n hidrouliese aandrywer op hul ouer DC-8's en DC-9's bedryf het. As gevolg hiervan was dit minder betroubaar.

Dit dui ook op 'n hoek van Douglas se kant, omdat hulle die orde van American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) wou verseker - die besluit om oor te skakel na 'n elektriese aandrywer was te danke aan hul invloed.

Daar was egter baie fundamentele ontwerpfoute in die DC-10, veral met die vragdeure.

Mislukking van die vliegtuig se deure

Elke passasiersvliegtuig word in twee verdeel. Passasiers sit in die boonste gedeelte terwyl vrag in die onderste deel gelaai word.

Maar wat verskil, is die posisie van die drade, kabels en hidrouliese lyne. Byvoorbeeld, op die Boeing 747 word hulle bo die passasierskajuit in die plafon geplaas. Daarteenoor is die DC-10 se beheerkabels onder die vloer geleë. Dit beteken dat enige skade aan die vloer wat die passasiersruimte en die laairuim skei, die vlieënier se vermoë om die vliegtuig te beheer belemmer, wat moontlik tot 'n noodlottige ongeluk kan lei.

Dit kom alles terug na die DC-10 se vragdeur. Aangesien passasiersvliegtuie op groot hoogtes vlieg om die beste moontlike doeltreffendheid te bereik, moet die kajuit onder druk staan, sodat die passasiers kan asemhaal. Maar die vragarea moet ook onder druk geplaas word, aangesien die drukproses te veel vrag op die kajuitvloer toevoeg. Omdat die laaibak egter ook onder druk is, is die kragte gelyk, dus val die vloer nie ineen nie.

As daar skielik 'n deur na die passasierskajuit of die laairuim oopwaai, val die vloer uitmekaar. Hoewel die kans dat so iets gebeur baie skaars is, kan die gevolg dat een van die deure die vliegtuig vaarwel roep, noodlottig wees.

Veral as die hoofkontroles van die vliegtuig onder die vloer is, wat in so 'n geval sou val.

'N Vragdeur van 'n passasier is groter as die deur wat self oopmaak, dus dit is onmoontlik om die deur oop te maak terwyl die lug, as gevolg van die druk, dit verhinder. Alhoewel sommige probeer het om die deure oop te maak terwyl u in die lug was, sou u die krag van Hulk moes hê om dit te doen.

DC-10 vragdeure foutiewe ontwerp

Maar die vraggrendels bied 'n ander verhaal, aangesien verskillende vervaardigers in die verlede verskillende vragdeurontwerpe gebruik het.

Lockheed, destyds die mededinger van McDonnell Douglas, ontwerp die deur op dieselfde manier as die passasiersdeur. Dit was groter as die opening self en die deur was swaarder as op die DC-10.

Die DC-10 het 'n baie soortgelyke stelsel gebruik as 'n motorbak of bagasiebak. As u die motor se bagasieruim oopmaak, kan u aan die bagasiebak sien dat daar 'n grendel is. As u dit sluit, word die grendel aan 'n metaallus in die motorraam vasgemaak, sodat dit nie moontlik is om oop te maak terwyl die motor gesluit is of as u dit bestuur nie.

Die DC-10 het 'n soortgelyke stelsel gebruik, behalwe dat dit natuurlik verskeie lusse gehad het om die deur veilig toe te maak.

Waarom sou die DC-10-vragdeure ontplof?

Eerstens word die elektriese aandrywer, wat 'n as wat beweeg het, beheer en sodoende die grendels aan die metaallus gehaak word, en die deur sou gesluit bly. Namate die meganisme die middelpunt bereik, bly die grendels vas as gevolg van druk. Maar as dit om een ​​of ander rede nie outomaties die middelpunt bereik nie, voorkom die ontwerp van die elektriese aandrywer dat die as handmatig beweeg om die deur behoorlik te sluit.

Tweedens was die sluitmeganisme nie sterk genoeg nie. As die meganisme nie behoorlik verstel is nie, kan die slotgreep, wat die deur heeltemal sluit, kan sluit. Die deur sou egter nie heeltemal gesluit wees nie, dus sou dit op sekere hoogtes waai.

En as gevolg hiervan sou die vragarea druk verloor, dan val die vloer inmekaar en dan verloor die vlieëniers beheer oor die vliegtuig, aangesien die kontroles van die vliegtuig in die vloer tussen die twee kompartemente is.

Eerste voorvalle

Terwyl Douglas wel veranderinge aangebring het na die 1970 -toets, waar die deure waai, was dit nie genoeg nie. Eenvoudig gestel, die stelsel was nog steeds foutief.

Die DC-10 het sy debuutvlug gemaak op 5 Augustus 1971 met American Airlines (A1G) (AAL). 10 maande later, op 12 Junie 1972, het die eerste vragdeurongeluk gebeur.

Op American Airlines Flight 96, kort nadat die American Airlines DC-10 van Detroit se lughawe opgestyg het, het 'n vragdeur agter in die vliegtuig oopgeblaas.

Gelukkig was die vliegtuig slegs gedeeltelik beset - slegs 67 mense was aan boord. Die vloer stort dus net gedeeltelik in, sodat die vlieëniers 'n deel van die beheer behou het en veilig by Detroit beland het.

Na die voorval het die NTSB aan McDonnell Douglas gesê om twee veranderinge aan die DC-10 te implementeer:

In die eerste plek om die sluitmeganisme te versterk. Tweedens, om 'n opening aan die agterkant van die vliegtuig te installeer.

Die NTSB het die FAA aangewys om Douglas te dwing om hierdie veranderinge aan te bring. Die vliegtuigvervaardiger het die sluitmeganisme verander, maar agter geslote deure was die twee partye dit eens dat 'n ventilasie -installasie dinge sou bemoeilik.

Dié besluit was twee jaar later noodlottig vir 346 mense.

In 1974 het 'n Turkish Airlines DC-10 pas in Parys geland nadat hy op die reis van Istanbul na Londen gestop het. Terwyl personeel op die grond die vliegtuig aangevul het, het hulle ook 'n paar vragte gelaai en afgelaai.

Toe die vliegtuig opstyg vir sy tweede deel van die geskeduleerde diens na Londen, gebeur presies dieselfde - die vragdeur bars oop, die lugdruk in die kajuit sak, die vloer stort in duie en daarna verloor vlieëniers die beheer oor die vliegtuig.

Uitkoms van die Turkish Airlines -vlug 981

McDonnell Douglas het uiteindelik 'n regsgeding ter waarde van meer as $ 18 miljoen aan die slagoffers se families verloor. Die vliegtuigvervaardiger het probeer om die skuld elders te rig - die FAA blameer omdat hy nie 'n lugwaardigheidsvoorskrif uitgereik het nie, en blameer Turkish Airlines dat die wysigings van die sluitmeganisme onbehoorlik geïmplementeer is en General Dynamics die skuld gegee het vir die swak ontwerp van die vragdeure.

Tog het niks hiervan gewerk nie en McDonnell Douglas moes die $ 18 miljoen betaal.

Aan die tegniese kant van sake het 'n volledige herontwerp van die sluitmeganisme gevolg. Die FAA het uiteindelik stand gehou, 'n lugwaardigheidsvoorskrif uitgereik en beveel dat 'n ventilasie in die kajuitvloer geïnstalleer moet word om te voorkom dat drukverlies die kajuitvloer vernietig.

Na die ongeluk van die Turkish Airlines Flight 981 en die daaropvolgende veranderinge, het die DC-10 nooit weer 'n vragdeur uitgeblaas nie.

Maar die reputasie daarvan was wankel, want mense was senuweeagtig toe hulle aan boord van 'n DC-10 klim. Nietemin het die vliegtuig steeds suksesvol gevlieg.

Tog was dit op die punt om te verander.

5 jaar later na die Turkish Airlines-vlug val 'n American Airlines DC-10 op Flight 191 net buite Chicago neer.

DC-10 enjinskeiding

Die ongeluk het op 25 Mei 1979 plaasgevind. Op 6 Junie het die FAA die vliegtuig gegrond. Die vragdeur het hierdie keer nie ontplof nie.

Wat gebeur het, is dat die linkerkantse enjin van die vliegtuig geskei is, kritieke hidrouliese lyne deurboor en die vliegtuig daarna vasgekeer het toe dit na links begin rol. Die DC-10 klap op die grond neer en vermoor 271 mense aan boord en twee mense op die grond.

Die optrede van die FAA was egter vinnig en hard, aangesien geen veerbootvlugte tydens die aanvang sou kon plaasvind nie. Daarteenoor kon die Boeing 737 MAX steeds veerbootvlugte in die Verenigde State voer.

Nadat die NTSB die ondersoek afgehandel het, het die direksie die DC-10 vrygespreek, aangesien die fout gelê het deur American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) se onderhoudsprosedures. Onbehoorlike instandhouding van die enjin het strukturele skade aan die pylon veroorsaak, wat die enjin met die vleuel bymekaar hou.

Op hierdie stadium is die reputasie van die DC-10 in die wiele gery. Die media het baie foto's van die vliegtuig wat sonder 'n enjin vlieg, gepubliseer en foto's van die vuurbal wat die ongeluk veroorsaak het.

As mense na die American Airlines Flight 191 al twyfel oor hulself oor 'n DC-10, was die boodskap duidelik: mense wou nie op 'n DC-10 klim nie.

Lesse vir die toekoms

As ons terugkyk na die ongelukke en lewensverlies van die DC-10, is daar baie ooreenkomste met die huidige situasie van die Boeing 737 MAX.

Hoeksny, nalatigheid van die vervaardiger en FAA het 'n groot rol gespeel in die ongelukke.

Selfs toe, na verskeie dodelike ongelukke, het die DC-10 een van die statisties veiligste vliegtuie in die lug geword. Selfs nou, na byna 50 jaar na die eerste toetsvlugte, kan u steeds 'n DC-10 in die lug sien. Maar hulle vlieg slegs vrag, aangesien die laaste passasiersvlug in 2014 geland het.

Wat vertel die verhaal van die DC-10, dat selfs na die eerste beproewings en probleme, 'n vliegtuig steeds die passasiers veilig kan bedien.

En dit is wat u moet onthou as mense oor 'n ongeluk praat - dat hierdie baie fratsongelukke wat selde gebeur. Duisende en duisende vlugte vertrek daagliks en die lugvaartbedryf word beskou as die veiligste manier om van punt A na punt B.


'N Tale van twee DC-10's

Op 12 Junie 1972 breek American Airlines Flight 96, 'n DC-10, deur 'n vlekagtige wolklaag oor die Kanadese industriële stad Windsor, Ontario. Byna vyf minute het verloop sedert die wye-liggaamstraal om 19:20 van die aanloopbaan by die Michigan ’s Detroit Metropolitan –Wayne County Airport afgehys het. Kaptein Bryce McCormick het 'n rukkie geneem om die 180-grade-uitsig deur die geboë venster van die kajuit te waardeer, en leun agteroor en drink 'n slukkie koffie. Vlug 96 was die aand onderweg na die La Guardia -lughawe in New York, met 'n tussenstop in Buffalo. Die oggend het McCormick die eerste been van die vlug uit Los Angeles gevlieg, sodat hy die eerste offisier Peter Paige Whitney (34) die vertrek vanaf Detroit laat vlieg het. Al die meters op die instrumentpaneel was normaal. Die outomatiese vlieënier was aan, maar Whitney het uit gewoonte sy hande op die juk gehou.

Beide vlieëniers was deeglik bewus daarvan dat hul nuwe DC-10 slegs die vyfde was wat deur McDonnell Douglas vervaardig is. Die eerste het sy eerste vlug in Augustus 1970 gemaak en het 'n jaar later, op 5 Augustus 1971, 'n kommersiële diens by American Airlines betree op 'n heen- en terugvlug tussen Los Angeles en Chicago.

McCormick was 'n veteraanvlieënier wat 24 000 uur vliegure opgehoop het, terwyl Whitney byna 8 000 uur tot sy eer was. Die vliegtuig het slegs 56 passasiers vervoer (die breë liggaam het 206 passasiers), plus 11 bemanningslede, waaronder agt lugwaardinne en die drie man-kajuitpersoneel. (Destyds het die DC-10 'n vlugingenieur vereis.) Saam met die passasiers se bagasie is 'n kis met 'n lyk na Buffalo in die laairuim gebêre.

McCormick het die radar nagegaan en bevestig dat daar geen slegte weer tussen Detroit en Buffalo lê nie. McCormick was 'n besonderse vlieënier. Sy teenwoordigheid in die kajuit het vertroue gewek. Hy was die toonbeeld van die perfekte kaptein, en Cydya Smith, die hoofwaardin van vlug 96. Hy was baie professioneel, maar tog warm en vriendelik en baie gerespekteer en met respek vir die lugwaardinne. ”

Kaptein Bryce McCormick (uit 'n nuusbrief van American Airlines) is gereeld geprys vir sy optrede tydens vlug 96, toe die agterste vragdeur tydens die vlug uitgeblaas het. (Met vergunning van American Airlines CR Smith Museum) Op 12 Junie 1972 breek 'n kragtige ontploffing deur American Airlines Flight 96 ('n soortgelyke vliegtuig). (Andrew Thomas) Toe die DC-10 uiteindelik land, kon die bemanning sien dat die agterste vragdeur weg was. Wat oorgebly het, was 'n stukkende stuk metaal wat na bo gekrul het. (NTSB)

Beide die “Vastgemaakte veiligheidsgordel ” en “Rookvrye bordjies was in die kajuit afgeskakel. Die passasier Alan Kaminsky en sy vriend Hyman Scheff het hul veiligheidsgordels oopgemaak en hul vrouens in die eersteklas -afdeling gelos om gin rummy in die voorste sitkamer te gaan speel. Hulle wou in 'n paar vinnige hande kom voordat die vliegtuig in Buffalo val. Smith was uit haar springstoel voor in die vliegtuig voor die bordjie “Vaste gordel vasgemaak het. Volgens haar gewone roetine, stap sy na die kombuis en begin koffie maak. Dit was toe dit gebeur het, en sy onthou. Presies vyf minute na die opstyg is Smith deur 'n kragtige ontploffing van haar voete af gehys. Toe die kombuisdeure oopbars, sien sy hele gedeeltes gelamineerde plafonpanele in die passasiersruimte val, wat gevul word met 'n digte gryswit mis. Sy kon nie die gille van die passasiers hoor nie. In plaas daarvan het sy gevoel asof sy in 'n gans stilte omhul was.

Terwyl albei vlieëniers gewelddadig agteruit geruk word, vul 'n skadelike wolk van grysgrys stof die kajuit en verblind McCormick, wat vrees dat die vliegtuig beskadig is tydens 'n botsing in die lug.

Die werklike oorsaak van die ongeval was iets meer verraderliks, maar net so verwoestend. 'N Vragdeur wat in die romp uitgeblaas het, het 'n gapende reghoekige gat aan die kant van die vliegtuig geskeur, groot genoeg om die kist van ses voet lank, wat twee kilometer na die aarde tuimel, saam met tientalle koffers af te skeur. Erger nog, die plofbare vrystelling van lug wat onder druk gestaan ​​het, het 'n groot stuk vloer in die passasierskajuit reguit bokant die gaping in die romp uitgeruk. 'N Orkaanagtige wind waai deur die lengte van die vliegtuig. Die stewardess Beatrice Copeland is bewusteloos geraak en vasgevang in die puin van die ineengestorte vloer. 'N Ander stewardess, Sandi McConnell, het skaars ontsnap om uit die vliegtuig gesuig te word toe die vloer onder haar meegee, bloot op instink. Sonder om te kyk, weet sy dat die toiletdeur direk agter haar is. Dit was haar beste kans op oorlewing. Toe sy binne was, het sy die metaaldeur gesluit en gesluit. Sy was voorlopig veilig, maar afgesny van redding.

Alan Kaminsky onthou 'n groot knars terwyl sy speelkaarte uit sy hande vlieg en die lug in. Passasiers skreeu toe die DC-10 na regs spring en 'n paar duisend voet val.

Die twee vlieëniers het niks geweet van die gapende gat aan die agterkant van die vliegtuig nie, maar het probeer om met die geraakte DC-10 te veg. Toe sy visie opklaar, het McCormick die beheer van sy eerste offisier oorgeneem. Hy het slegs sekondes gehad om weer beheer te kry met behulp van 'n tegniek wat nog nooit in 'n werklike noodtoets getoets is nie.

Vroeër daardie jaar is McCormick deur die Amerikaner gekies om een ​​van die nuwe McDonnell Douglas -vliegtuie te vlieg. Hy was nie ontsteld oor die grootte van die vliegtuig en die enjinkrag nie. Wat hom aangaan, was 'n besondere kenmerk van die DC-10 wat dit radikaal anders gemaak het as al die ander groot stralers wat hy gevlieg het: die gebrek aan 'n rugsteunstelsel om die vliegtuie se flappe, hysbakke en roer met die hand te bestuur as die hidrouliese stelsel misluk. In hierdie verband was die DC-10 baie anders as die DC-6 en -7 en die Boeing 707 en 727 —all-vliegtuie wat McCormick vir meer as twee dekades gevlieg het. Al die ouer vliegtuie was toegerus met omkeringstelsels wat vlieëniers handmatig beheer oor die oppervlaktes gegee het as die hidrouliese stelsels uitgeslaan word. Wat sou gebeur, wonder hy as al die vliegtuie se stelsels beskadig is?

Hy het die antwoord op 'n DC-10-vliegdek-simulator by die American Airlines-opleidingskool in Fort Worth, Texas, gevind. Met behulp van die gerekenariseerde simulator, het McCormick ure herhaaldelik sy onrusbarende hipotese getoets oor totale mislukking in die hidrouliese stelsel en geleer hoe hy die buitengewone vermoë van die DC-10 ’s kan gebruik om op sy enjins te vlieg sonder hulp van die roer of ailerons, die oppervlaktes wat die vliegtuig maak draai en bank. Hy het ook geleer hoe om die enjins te manipuleer om die neus van die DC-10 op of af te druk. Die meeste stralers het hierdie vermoë tot 'n mate, maar McCormick het ontdek dat die DC-10 veral reageer.

Die dag toe sy grootste vrese besef is, het McCormick presies geweet wat om te doen: Hy het twee van die ledige gashendels heeltemal vorentoe geskuif en 'n enorme krag aan die vlerkmotors van die vliegtuig gelewer, en voel hoe hulle weer lewendig word. In reaksie hierop steek die neus van die DC-10 ’ op. McCormick het die noodlottige afkoms van die DC-10 en#8217 omgekeer. Die teruggekeerde enjinkrag het hom ook kosbare minute gekoop om uit te vind hoe hy die vliegtuig stuur, wat hardnekkig na regs gaap. Hy het dadelik 'n skakelaar omgedraai om die brandstofpomp wat die ledige stertmotor gevoed het, se krag uit te skakel, dit uit die spel te haal en die las op die hysbakke langs die stert ligter te maak, wat hulle effens meer reageer. Twee van die vier kabels na die sterthysers het gebreek. Die ailerons reageer maar traag. Sonder volle hidrouliese beheer kon die DC-10 nie meer as 'n sagte 15 grade in enige rigting gebuig word nie. Enigiets meer sou 'n draai maak. McCormick het besluit dat sy beste kans was om op die differensiële enjintegniek staat te maak en die druk op die eenvlerkmotor te verhoog of dit aan die ander kant te verminder en die DC-10 stadig om te draai en terug te keer na Detroit.

McCormick het geweet dat hy grondbeheerders nodig sou hê om sy kreupel vliegtuig voorrang te gee aan land, en hy het die beheertoring in Detroit gekontak: “Ah, Center, dit is American Airlines Flight 96. Ons het 'n noodgeval gekry. ”

Die reaksie van Detroit -beheer was ewe skerp. “Amerikaans 96, Roger. Terug na Metro? ”

Hy huiwer. Waar moet hulle probeer land? Hy het kortliks die Wright-Patterson-lugmagbasis in Ohio oorweeg, waar die aanloopbane veral lank is en toegerus is met beskermende hindernisse in geval van 'n ongeluk. Maar Detroit was nader. Beter nog, die benadering was duidelik. Detroit was dit.

McCormick het hul situasie vinnig hersien. Ek het geen roerbeheer nie, dus ons beurte sal baie stadig en versigtig moet wees, het McCormick aan Detroit gesê. Al wat hy kon doen, was om te bid dat die latte en kleppe wat hy nodig gehad het om die vliegtuig teen laer snelhede op te hef, sou werk as hy met sy afdraande begin.

Die aankondiging het die gewenste uitwerking gehad. Wat ook al gebeur het, die vlieënier was nie bekommerd nie, en dit het vertroue geïnspireer.

Die grootste uitdaging van McCormick sou wees om die vliegtuig genoeg te vertraag om veilig te land. Die DC-10 nader die aanloopbaan teen 184 mph, en McCormick moes sy spoed verlaag. Sonder bevel van die roer om die straler reguit vorentoe te hou, sal McCormick egter dalk vinniger moet vlieg om beheer te verseker.

Om 19:40, 20 minute nadat hy uit Detroit gevlieg het, was vlug 96 weer sigbaar op die radarskerm in die beheertoring. Toe die vliegtuig begin daal, was dit Whitney se taak om die kritieke sinkingsnelheid van die vliegtuig, of die tempo van afkoms, te monitor. Toe die grond opstaan ​​om hulle te ontmoet, begin die eerste offisier die dalingsyfers uitroep met 'n gevoel van dringendheid wat grens aan alarm. Die koers was te hoog en te vinnig. Aan die begin van die afdaling het die straal teen 'n hanteerbare 300 voet per minuut gedaal. Maar namate hul spoed afgeneem het, het die sinkkoers tot 500, 600, 700, 800 en uiteindelik 1,500 voet per minuut gestyg. Die vliegtuig was nie besig om te daal nie en dit het geval. Die enigste manier om 'n ongeluk te voorkom, was om die gashendels vorentoe te stoot en die spoed te verhoog. McCormick het die gaskrag verlig om meer krag te lewer. En binne 'n paar sekondes het die sink tempo teruggesak tot 800 voet per minuut en die spoed van die jet het tot 184 mph teruggeskiet.

Toe sy bande die betonbaan raak, ry die DC-10 soos 'n renmotor, waarna die straler van die baan af na regs draai, waar dit op taxibane en grasmediane op 'n botsing met die hoofterminal stamp. McCormick het gereageer deur die nommer 1 en 3 enjins in omgekeerde stoot te gooi, maar selfs dit kon nie die momentum van die vliegtuig teenwerk nie.

Whitney reik uit en neem beheer oor albei gashendels, terselfdertyd die gashendel van die regtervleuel-enjin vorentoe en die gashendel van die linkervleuelmotor in volle omgekeerde stoot stoot, wat 10 persent meer krag lewer en die straal dwing om na links te swaai, op 'n keer terug na die aanloopbaan. Dit het gewaai, met twee stelle wiele op die aanloopbaan en die ander twee af. Toe dit uiteindelik stop, was die helfte van die wiele op beton en half op die gras, met meer as 980 voet aanloopbaan oor.

Toe die vragdeur op Turkish Airlines Flight 981 misluk, het almal aan boord omgekom in die ongeluk, die vierde dodelikste in die geskiedenis. (Beutter/SIPA)

'N Groot verligting van McCormick het bevel gegee om die twee enjins af te skakel. Smith en die ander stewardesses het die passasiers by die nooduitgange gehelp. Nadat die ses kuipe opgeblaas het en die eerste passasier na veiligheid gegly het, het dit slegs 30 sekondes geneem om al 56 passasiers uit die vliegtuig te kry. McCormick het sy laaste bevel gegee om die kajuit te ontruim wat hy en Whitney die laaste was.

Toe noodvoertuie aanrol, rooi ligte flikker, wou die bemanningslede almal die geheimsinnige gat in die romp goed bekyk. Daar was dit, maklik om te sien, selfs in die verdiepende skemer: Die groot agterste vragdeur was weg. Bo die opening krul 'n stukkende stuk metaal opwaarts, asof dit deur 'n reuse blikopener afgeskil is.

Die hele episode op Flight 96, vanaf die plofbare aanvang tot die gevaarlike landing, het binne minder as 30 minute plaasgevind. Die agterste vragdeur van die vliegtuig het van die vliegtuig geskei met 'n plofkrag op 11,750 voet bo seespieël. Hoe en waarom die deur in die lug uitgeblaas het, was 'n raaisel wat so vinnig as moontlik opgelos moes word.

Die ongelukondersoekers het geluk: Op dieselfde dag as die ongeluk het die polisie in Ontario met lughawebeamptes in verbinding getree oor 'n vliegtuigdeur en#8212 wat in 'n mielieland buite Windsor beland het. After going over every inch of the door, the investigators made a shocking discovery: The airplane had taken off with the door closed but not secured. As the airliner ascended and internal air pressure increased to a critical level, it was only a matter of time before the large cargo door would give way and blow out.

And there was another design flaw: The section of the cabin floor above the cargo hold lacked pressure relief vents that would have permitted the air from the cabin to flow through without ripping the floor apart. When the National Transportation Safety Board issued its final report, it implicated both the door and the floor.

The Federal Aviation Administration agreed not to issue an airworthiness directive, but quietly told McDonnell Douglas to fix the problem. NTSB investigators recommended modifying the DC-10’s cargo door and cabin floor McDonnell Douglas claimed that what happened to Flight 96 was an isolated incident. (The problem was actually intermittent and ongoing.) Less than two years later, a sudden blowout tore through Turkish Airlines Flight 981 from Paris to London. That DC-10 crashed in France none of the 346 people on board survived.

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This story is a selection from the December/January issue of Air & Space magazine


The alliance pressed on

Northwest Airlines merged with Delta in 2008, with a single air operator’s certificate coming in late 2009, at which point the former ceased to exist. The full brand, however, was retired in January of 2010.

Delta and KLM continue to have an extensive partnership. As members of the SkyTeam alliance, the two also have a joint venture that includes KLM’s sister, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic in the United Kingdom.

Delta’s KLM and Air France alliance is one of the most important transatlantic alliances. The Northwest-KLM tie-up paved the way for Delta to pursue the strong relationship it has with these airlines.

While Delta and KLM no longer have any planes painted in a hybrid livery, the two carriers still have deep ties, all thanks to Northwest Airlines.

Have you flown on the hybrid livery DC-10? Let us know in the comments!


A Historical Look at the DC-10 Before its Final Passenger Flight

Starting tomorrow, the last Douglas DC-10 will start its farewell tour as the last passenger DC-10. Biman Bangladesh Airlines will fly to Birmingham, UK, by way of Kuwait and then offer scenic tours before it is finally ferried to a final “resting” location in the US. Our own Bernie Leighton will be covering these events from Bangladesh and beyond, but before we tell the last chapter of this majestic aircraft’s life, we wanted to start at the beginning with this historical look at the DC-10.

The birth of the wide-body airliner as we know it today can be traced back to one event in the early 1960’s: The United States Air Force’s request for proposals for the CX-HLS, the program that would ultimately become the C-5 Galaxy. Lockheed won the CX-HLS competition, and as legend would have it, Boeing would strike gold when they converted their design into what we know today as the 747. However, that is not quite 100% true, and Boeing was not the only company to transfer design philosophies from the CX-HLS to the commercial market.

A United Airlines DC-10 in Friend Ship livery – Photo: Bob Garrard

U pon losing the USAF contract, the powers that be at Douglas aircraft immediately started altering their ideas to fit the commercial market, and a race was starting to see who would bring the first wide-body aircraft to market. Like Boeing, Douglas also studied the possibility of a double deck design, capable of seating upwards of 500 passengers, and also like the Boeing airliner concept, Douglas moved from a high, shoulder-mounted wing to a low-wing design.

Douglas studied several different designs, including the D-950 and D-952 concepts, which would have carried 525 and 454 passengers, respectively. However, as further studies at the time decided, there was really no market for a large number of large-sized aircraft, and after Douglas shopped around their proposal for a large, four-engine aircraft to various airlines, including Pan Am (who at the time had just signed an order with Boeing for 25 747s), Douglas management wisely decided to take a step back and consider a detailed look at what the market predicted.

Around this same time, Douglas Aircraft merged with McDonnell Aircraft to form the McDonnell Douglas Company, and the new management team decided to make the DC-10 airliner program a priority. The project team aired for criteria spelled out by American Airlines a twin-engine airliner that could carry at least 250 passengers and 5,000 lbs of cargo 1,850 miles, cruise at Mach 0.80, and could meet this criteria from the short runways at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. After deciding to tackle this request, Douglas engineers, on their own merit, decided to pitch the idea of a three-engine aircraft, arguing that it would be no more costly than a twin, and would offer better performance in hot weather.

DC-10 in factory colors – Photo: Bob Garrard

Douglas convinced American of the three-engine layout after seeking the advice of other airlines, and the revelation that Lockheed was developing a similar aircraft: the Lockheed L1011. As a result, in July 1967, American issued a refined set of requirements: A tri-jet capable of transcontinental flight, with full payload and a trip time within minutes of the 747, comparable economics to the 747 between New York and San Francisco, and a Mach 0.85 cruise speed at 35,000 feet.

With this revised criteria from an airline, the McDonnell Douglas board gave its permission to launch the DC-10 in November, 1967. This was officially realized in February 1968, when American Airlines placed an order for 25 aircraft, with 25 options. Two months later, the program was launched when United Airlines placed an order for 30 aircraft, and 30 options. With orders in the books, the process of fine-tuning the design and moving towards production could begin.

Douglas chose the GE CF-6 high bypass turbofan, since Pratt & Whitney was heavily involved in producing engines for the war effort in Vietnam, and the JT9D was the sole engine choice at the time on the 747. Rolls Royce was in an awkward position, since they had a sole source contract with Lockheed for the powerplant on the L1011. Douglas engineers studied various options for locating the third engine. Looking at everything from an S-duct in the tail (Lockheed chose this for the L1011), to having the engine buried in the tail cone with a bifurcated duct that wrapped around the base of the vertical fin. The design that the engineers finally chose was to have a straight pass through duct mounted on top of the tail cone, creating a so-called “banjo”.

Wind tunnel tests proved that this arrangement would yield better performance results, and would also ease maintenance and spares issues. By placing the engine on top of the tail cone, and having all engine attach fittings in the top of the banjo, one engine could be used in any of the three engine locations, with only 45 minutes worth of work needed to reconfigure an engine off a wing for mounting in the tail.

This DC-10-30 was the last ever produced – Photo: Ken Fielding

Douglas had originally planned on having three models of the DC-10 the DC-10-10, 10-20, and the 10-30. The base model (the 10-10) was a transcontinental aircraft, and was not optimized for intercontinental routes. The 10-20 was to be the first of the intercontinental DC-10s, powered by the Pratt & Whitney JT9D. Lastly, the DC-10-30 was to be the same as the -20, however it was to be powered by up-rated versions of the CF-6. The main distinguishing features of the -20 and the -30 were the addition of a third main landing gear leg, mounted directly on the centerline of the aircraft.

Northwest Orient was the first airline to order the intercontinental model in October 1968, and they chose the JT9D engines for fleet commonality with their 747s already on order. Only one other carrier would order the -20, and that was Japan Airlines. Now, I am sure that many aviation fans here are thinking that no DC-10-20 ever saw service, and you would be technically correct. Prior to delivery of the first -20 to Northwest, according to popular legend, Northwest and Japan Airlines both approached Douglas saying that they did not want their aircraft to seem inferior to the -30 model, and wanted their aircraft to appear to be the best and latest model of the DC-10. Douglas gave in and designated the DC-10-20 as the DC-10-40.

The first DC-10, a -10 model, made the type’s first flight on August 29 th , 1970 from Long Beach, California, just one month after the official rollout on July 23 rd . A year later, after a flight test program that spanned 1,500 flight hours over 929 flights, using 5 aircraft, the DC-10 received its FAA Type Certificate on July 29 th , 1971. That same day, the first two aircraft were officially delivered to two inaugural customers: American Airlines and United Airlines. The first passenger flight of the type occurred just a week after the first delivery, when American flew a round trip flight from Los Angeles to Chicago on August 5 th , using N103AA, the 5 th DC-10 built. United followed suit on August 16 th , with a round trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles using N1802U. Deliveries quickly followed to other airlines, and soon the DC-10 could be seen on routes all over the United States and, for that matter, the world. Entry into service was smooth however, the aircraft soon gained a reputation that no one wants for any aircraft.

A Caribbean Airways DC-10 with a Lockheed L1011 and Boeing 707 in the background – Photo: Bob Garrard

On June 12 th , 1972, the DC-10 experienced its first major incident, and a serious design flaw was uncovered. N103AA, the same aircraft that just less than a year before completed the type’s first passenger flight, was operating American Airlines Flight 96 between Detroit and Buffalo. Just after departure, as the aircraft was passing through 11,750 ft, the aft cargo door explosively departed the aircraft. The resulting decompression caused the floor over the cargo compartment to cave in, damaging the flight control cables that passed through the area. Parts of the door also impacted the horizontal stabilizer of the aircraft.

Upon a safe landing back in Detroit, investigators found that the door on this particular aircraft had been difficult to latch prior to departure. The ground crew member stated that he had to use more force than normal to latch the door. He also noted that the pressure relief vent door, a smaller door to relieve any aircraft pressurization prior to normal opening of the door, was not fully seated closed. Upon investigation of the door, which was recovered intact from Windsor, Ontario, it was discovered that the door latch never engaged, and moved just enough to cause the “Door Open” warning light to extinguish in the flight deck – the door appeared to be closed. Following this incident, McDonnell Douglas immediately issued a service bulletin to modify the doors, but airlines were not mandated to make the repair. The FAA also failed to issue an Airworthiness Directive, which would have made the Douglas modifications required before the airplane could fly again.

The type soldiered on for two more years before the cargo door issue came back to haunt McDonnell Douglas, this time with disastrous results. On March 3 rd , 1974, Turkish Airlines Flight 981, operated by TC-JAV, departed Paris Orly Airport bound for London with a full load of 346 passengers and crew. As the aircraft was climbing out of Paris, muffled, panic-filled calls came over the ATC frequency. Turkish Flight 981 had been lost with no survivors over the Ermenonville Forest outside of Paris. Investigators soon discovered that the cause of the crash was the rear cargo door opening in flight. Pieces of wreckage were found that included the intact door, still attached to parts of the aircraft skin and cabin floor structure. The investigation soon revealed that a similar scenario to the American Airlines incident nearly two years prior had occurred, and this time, the FAA acted. McDonnell Douglas immediately redesigned the door, and added small windows that would allow the ground crew to visually verify that the latch pins were engaged. The DC-10’s reputation was already tarnished and the aircraft was in the public eye for the wrong reasons.

Pan Am DC-10 – Photo: Bob Garrard

The next major incident would come on May 25 th , when American Airlines Flight 191, operated by N110AA, departed Chicago bound for Los Angeles. Moments after takeoff, the aircraft’s #1 engine separated from the left wing and flipped up over the top of the aircraft. The ensuing crash killed all 271 passengers and crew onboard, and two on the ground. In the investigation into what remains the deadliest single plane crash on US soil, it was discovered that American Airlines was using a method to change engines on the aircraft that was not approved by McDonnell Douglas, and it was soon discovered that two other US carriers, United and Continental, used similar methods.

This method was to remove the engine and support pylon at the same time, instead of removing the engine first, and then the pylon like Douglas called for. In the case of United, they used a series of hoists to accomplish this task. However, American and Continental used a large forklift to support the engine/pylon assembly during the removal process. It was discovered that eight weeks prior to the crash, the #1 engine on N110AA was changed using this method, and that undue stress was placed on the pylon to wing attach fittings during the process. At a critical time in flight, when full thrust of the engine was applied to these fittings, they finally failed, causing the results witnessed.

Upon investigation, it was revealed that many other American and Continental DC-10s had damage to their mounts, while aircraft from United did not. Since this crash was caught on film, and the footage was shown on TV news broadcasts across the nation, many refused to fly on the DC-10, labeling it an unsafe aircraft and a death trap. It was so bad that American, who had labeled all of the DC-10s with “DC-10 Luxury Liner” monikers on the nose, removed the DC-10 markings, and just called them “Luxury Liners”.

Aeromexico DC-10 – Photo: Bob Garrard

Throughout the next ten years, there would be many more accidents involving the DC-10, however most of them would be the result of crew error, such as the November 28, 1979 sightseeing flight over Antartica by an Air New Zealand DC-10, ZK-NZP. This crash was the result of controlled flight into terrain when the aircraft flew into the side of Mount Erebus, killing all 257 passengers and crew. The next major technical malfunction would bring the DC-10 into the spotlight again, but this time in a positive light.

On July 19 th , 1989, United Airlines Flight 232, operated by N1819U, was en route from Denver to Chicago when the #2 engine, located in the tail, suffered a catastrophic uncontained failure over Iowa farmland. I will not go into too much detail about this crash, since it is one of the best known and documented aviation incidents, but a brief synopsis follows: As a result of engine fragments severing all three hydraulic systems, the pilots lost all control of the aircraft, and it was only through the application of differential thrust that they were able to rudimentaly control the aircraft and attempt a landing in Sioux City Iowa.

It was the efforts of Captain Al Haynes, First Officer William Records, Second Officer Dudley Dvorak, and Captain Dennis Finch, that there were any survivors. When one looks at the footage of the crash, it is hard to believe that anyone could have survived, but 185 of the passengers and crew lived.

A veritable cornucopia of tri-jets in Amsterdam – Photo: Ken Fielding

After the Sioux City crash, the DC-10 has led a relatively quiet life, serving many airlines and cargo haulers safely for decades. After Northwest Airlines retired their last DC-10 in 2007, the type left mainstream commercial service in North America and Europe. However, the type continued to soldier on in southern Asia with Biman Bangladesh. In the following days, over 42 years after the type’s entry into full passenger service, its days will be nearly over, as Biman retires their last DC-10, the second to last airframe built. The type will live on for many more years, however, just not carrying passengers anymore: it will still make money as a freight hauler, mainly with FedEx.


The History of the DC-10, Part One: Taking Shape and Taking Off

MIAMI — By this time next week, the last passenger DC-10 flight will be completed, and a 43-year reign will be over. As our co-editor-in-chief travels to Bangladesh for the last set of flights, we take a look back at the extensive history of the airplane in a two part series.

The story of the DC-10 starts not with commercial aviation but with the US Air Force. In the early 1960s the USAF was seeking an enormous airplane capable of carrying lots of equipment and troops, known as the CX-HLS. All of the big names got involved, including Boeing, Lockheed, and Douglas. The three all submitted ambitious proposals, looking to snag what was sure to be a lucrative contract. Despite a strong bid from all three, Lockheed wound up winning the contract, leaving Boeing to go on to produce the 747, while Douglas pondered what was to be next.

With the CX-HLS contract now officially lost, Douglas attempted to salvage the work already done by creating a combo passenger/freight version of the same airplane. Later dubbed the D-918, the fully double-decked, high-wing airplane would have been able to fit up to 900 passengers. The project was scaled down into the D-950 and D-952. Neither was to be. Expecting supersonic (SST) passenger jets to crowd out subsonic passenger travel in the near future, the company predicted demand would be minimal for such an airplane. As a result both were scrapped.

Belief that a market existed for a subsonic, transcontinental freighter—Douglas opted out of the SST race—spurred the creation of the D-956 in 1966. The double-decked, low-wing airplane had a swinging nose for main deck cargo loading and could accommodate up to 400 passengers. But it too was left languishing on the drawing board of history, however, after American Airlines (AA) put out a request that was too good for Douglas to pass up.

In April 1966 American’s senior vice president of engineering Frank Kolk put out a request for a 727-style replacement. The request was largely centered on being able to operate in and out of New York LaGuardia’s congested ramp space, short runways, and increasingly restrictive noise levels. Ideally it would seat 250 passengers at a cruise speed of Mach .82 with an 1850 nautical mile range.

Once Douglas made the decision to chase the challenge, a flurry of designs for the new airplane came and went through the remainder of the year. The airplane began as a twin engine with a raised cockpit—the D-966. As Douglas began to work with other airlines, including United, the D-966 morphed first into the three-engine D-967, and then the four-engine D-968.

Douglas became McDonnell Douglas in 1967, after Douglas put itself up for merger while facing insolvency. After the merger, the design work continued to go back and forth between other two-, three-, and four-engine concepts (J2/J3/DC-10-3DC-10-4) before settling on a version of the D-967, which eventually became known as the DC-10A. The bubble-style upper deck cockpit and swing-nose that was original to the D-967 design was ultimately abandoned in mid-1967 as potential customers backed down on cross-over freighter potential, leading to the single deck version we know today.

As the airplane settled into its present form, the last major design decision involved the now iconic tail engine. Several options, including a Tristar-like S inlet, long tail pipe option, and long inlet version were considered. At first, the design incorporated a weird looking tail engine assembly with a bifurcated inlet. It was dropped after wind-tunnel testing proved it was not viable, leading to the long pipe-style inlet we have today.

Final design in place, McDonnell Douglas began to offer the airplane for sale in the first weeks of 1968. First stop, American Airlines. While the airplane may not have fit the original proposal, it still fit the majority of the carrier’s requirements. AA was also seriously considering the DC-10s direct competitor, the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, which had been put up for sale several months ahead of the DC-10. Still, the DC-10 proved victorious, and AA placed an order on February 19, 1968 for 25 airplanes and 25 options on the condition that two other carriers also placed orders.

The jubilation would not last long. Only six weeks later the Tristar began a banner month. Eastern and TWA jointly announced their respective orders for a total of 94 airplanes, while a British holding company picked up 30. Delta wound up deciding to pick up 24 of the L-1011s, fearing that the DC-10 would not make it past paper. These decisions left the company chasing down the remaining big two airlines: Continental and United.

To make the DC-10 more appealing the company made several design changes, incorporating requests from American and recommendations from United. These included wing changes, modifications to the tail engine, altered dimensions, and, crucially, acceptance of the General Electric CF6-34 engines at 39,500 pounds of thrust each. The modifications and solidified design was enough to hook United, which ordered 30 jet plus 30 options on April 25, 1968.

Despite only having two of the needed three customers, the jet began production shortly following United’s order. Iron Birds, which are basically full-scale, fully equipped non-flying models were built to test fit the sections and systems. Sub-assembly production began not long after, and incorporated a vast system of suppliers and subcontractors. Wings were built in Ontario, Canada, fuselage barrels were made in San Diego, California, and horizontal tail parts were produced in Italy, just to name a few. Final production, along with production of parts too large to transport, took place in the company’s mammoth Long Beach, California facility. Several hangars were built specifically for the purpose of producing the jet on site.

Final production began on January 9, 1970 in Long Beach. Unlike previous airplanes, the DC-10 was in some ways a snap-together aircraft. Major subsections arrived largely completed with piping and wiring, requiring connections rather than extensive onsite assembly. The company planned five aircraft for the test program, with the first four airplanes structurally complete by the time the plane was formally rolled out.

The very first DC-10 was rolled out, or rather, in, on July 23, 1970. Then vice president Spiro T Agnew and California governor Ronald Reagan were among the VIPs in attendance as the airplane taxied under its own power to a crowd of over one thousand. McDonnel Douglas received a spate of sales shortly thereafter, booking orders, or firming options with Continental, Finnair, Lufthansa, Sabena, and UTA.

The first DC-10 rolled down a runway and into the skies over Southern California for the first time on Saturday, August 19, 1970. The airplane stayed aloft for three hours and 26 minutes before landing at Edwards Air Force Base. The life of the DC-10 had now officially begun.

The test fleet began its second flight only two days later, and by October 6 th had logged 100 hours of airtime. By the end of the year, four of the five aircraft had joined the test fleet, with ships three and four in American and United liveries, respectively.

Deliveries were first made to American and United on June 29 th , 1971, in a joint ceremony. Following the ceremony, both airplanes taxied out to the runway and took off. As the airplane had received a provisional FAA approval, the carrier’s could begin crew and flight training, but were unable to start service. Four weeks later the airplane received its FAA Type and Production Certificates, allowing the carriers to begin scheduled service.

With these regulatory obstacles cleared, American and United raced to be the first to begin scheduled DC-10 service. Initially American was to run the airplane between Chicago and Washington, DC but then switched to Chicago and LA on August 17 th . United then planned to begin service on August 14 th between San Francisco and Washington, DC. But American slid up the entry into service by two weeks, running flight AA184 from Los Angeles to Chicago on August 5 th .

As the airplane entered service, both airlines struggled to fill cabins due to the recession, and came up with a creative way to solve this problem: lounges. American added a first-class lounge in the very forward of the airplane, and a coach lounge in the rear. United added a lounge for each cabin as well, adding them fore and aft the galley, respectively. The lounges were incorporated on a number of other carriers, though as the global economy ramped back up carriers quickly ditched them again in favor of paying seats.

By the end of 1971 a total of 136 aircraft were on firm order, with 80 options. New carriers included Air New Zealand, KLM, National, Swissair, and Western. The orders also now included the derivativeSeries-30. This new variation, which was technically launched in the summer of 1969, featured GE CF6-50A engines at 49k pounds of thrust each, a new payload to 104k pounds, and a range of 4,750 miles. It also featured the now well-known center main wheel bogie to support the increase in weight. It would go on to be the most popular of the nearly one dozen variations introduced before the type was retired.


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On the days between, more than a thousand passengers were treated to one-hour scenic flights on the craft, travelling towards Scotland before looping back towards England's second city.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines was the last airline to use the craft. It said it would now be retired and replaced with newer models.

The model, which first took to the air in 1971, will still be used in the military - for the U.S. Air Force for refuelling purposes, for instance - and freight services.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines was the last airline to fly the DC10, which it has now retired so it can begin using more modern aircraft

This was the scene on the very last scenic flight of the aircraft, which took off from Birmingham Airport at 3pm on Monday, February 24

One of the 35 passengers on-board the final flight into the UK was Gordon Stretch, who had travelled to Bangladesh from Solihull a few days before to be a part of the journey.

'The reason I did this is because I'm an aircraft enthusiast,' he said.

'When the opportunity came and I heard that the last DC10 flight was coming to Birmingham, I thought "wow".

'I decided to go out to Bangladesh and fly back on the plane.'

One of the 35 passengers on-board the final flight was Gordon Stretch, who had travelled to Bangladesh from Solihull a few days before to be a part of the journey

'When the opportunity came and I heard that the last DC10 flight was coming to Birmingham, I thought "wow". I decided to go out to Bangladesh and fly back on the plane'

He said Bangladesh is not a country he'd choose to visit ordinarily, but he was happy to spend two and a half days there - after flying from Heathrow - in order to be on the flight.

If a 14-hour journey doesn't sound difficult enough, Biman Bangladesh Airlines is a non-alcohol airline.

Mr Stretch said: 'It was completely dry. We were only on the Diet Cokes, as they say.'

But he flatly refused to say he regretted the decision to go on the flight. 'It was definitely worth it,' he said.

The flight even gave passengers - all aircraft enthusiasts - the opportunity to venture into the plane's cockpit and speak to the pilots.

Mr Stretch spent 14 hours on the flight, had to travel to Bangladesh to board the flight and was not allowed to drink alcohol on the plane, but said: 'It was definitely worth it'

The final DC10 was initially supposed to be flown from Birmingham to New York to go to a museum in Seattle, before the airline was told there was no room for it

Then, until a week before it landed in Birmingham, the plane to scheduled to be housed at the Bruntingthorpe Aviation Museum in Leicestershire

The aircraft's final flight - which did not carry any passengers - took off from Birmingham and flew back to Dhaka for its parts to be sold.

It was originally intended that the plane be flown to New York from Birmingham, to be positioned in a museum.

But, when the Seattle museum said it could not accommodate for it, plans were changed so it would be exhibited at the Bruntingthorpe Aviation Museum, Leicestershire, instead.

Then, with days to go before its landing at Birmingham, the airline announced it had found a buyer for the craft's three jet engines, and it would be taken back to Bangladesh to be taken apart.

The last flight took off from Birmingham at 3pm on February 24.

FIRST TAKING TO THE AIR IN 1971, HOW THE DC10 HAS BEEN OPERATING COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS FOR 40 YEARS

Prided on its comfort, reliability and efficiency, the DC10 was designed and built by the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California.

With six models designed – the first running from 1971 – the crafts accommodate for between 250 and 380 passengers.

The first time a DC10 is believed to have visited Birmingham - the destination of its final commercial passenger flight - was on November 30 1972, when Laker Airways operated a demonstration flight.

This photograph shows a Laker Airways DC10 aircraft, which was first operated in 1971, taking off from Gatwick Airport in 1979

This photograph shows the inside of a DC10 in 1980, showing passengers on a flight from London Gatwick to New York

The aircraft was first used by American Airlines, with its first commercial flight operated on August 5 1971 for a round-trip between Los Angeles and Chicago.

United Airlines began using the airliner in the same month.

It had 222 seats to American Airlines’ 206.

This photograph shows Sir Freddie Laker, standing in the engine of the DC10. The first time a DC10 is believed to have visited Birmingham was on November 30 1972, when Laker Airways operated a demonstration flight

At the time, the first class area of the cabin had six seats across, while in standard class there were eight seats across.

The 446th and final DC10 was delivered to Nigeria Airways in 1989.

A number of airlines used the DC10 model in its history, including British Caledonian, Northwest Airlines, Japan Airlines and Iberia.


The model was a successor to the Douglas DC-8 for long-range operations, and competed in the same markets as the Airbus A300, Boeing 747 "jumbo jet", and the physically similar Lockheed L-1011 TriStar. Some were built for the United States Air Force as air-to-air refueling tankers, designated the KC-10 extender.

The DC-10 was McDonnell Douglas's first wide-bodied commercial airliner, built to a specification from American Airlines for a widebody aircraft smaller than the Boeing 747 but capable of flying similar long-range routes. It first flew on August 29, 1970 and entered commercial service in 1971, nearly a year before the Lockheed Tristar (which was built to the same specification).

Although the DC-10's lifetime safety record is comparable to that of other heavy passenger jet aircraft, the DC-10 suffered a trying time during the 1970s when a string of highly publicized crashes resulted in a brief grounding by the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

Unlike most other aircraft, the DC-10 was designed with cargo doors that opened outward instead of inward. This required a heavy locking mechanism to secure the door against the outward force caused by pressurization of the fuselage. In the event that the door lock malfunctioned, there was potential for catastrophic blow-out of the whole door.

This problem was first identified in 1972 , when American Airlines Flight 96 lost its aft cargo door after takeoff from Detroit fortunately the crew were able to perform an emergency landing with no further incident. On Flight 96, an airport employee had violently forced the door shut, weakening the locking pin and causing the door to subsequently blow-out as it reached altitude. McDonnell Douglas attempted to place the blame on the employee, who they described as "illiterate", and deflected criticism of the aircraft design itself.

Although many carriers voluntarily modified the cargo doors and re-trained their ground crews, there was no mandatory redesign of the system. Severe design problems persisted with the aircraft's cargo doors. Indeed, two years after the American Airlines incident an almost identical cargo door blow-out befell Turkish Airlines Flight 981, which crashed into a forest shortly after leaving Orly Airport in Paris. 346 people were killed in one of the worst aviation disasters of the twentieth century. The circumstances surrounding this crash were similar to those surrounding the previous crash however, a modified seating configuration on the Turkish aircraft exacerbated the effects of decompression and caused the aircraft control cables to be severed, rendering the aircraft uncontrollable. In the aftermath of this crash, all DC-10s underwent a mandatory door redesign. The DC-10 was starting to get a reputation as a dangerous aircraft.

In 1979, with the cargo door issues resolved, DC-10s around the world were grounded following the crash of American Airlines Flight 191, which killed 273 people. Flight 191 lost one of its underwing engines after taking off from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, USA, and the engine loss damaged the aircraft's hydraulic systems, causing it to lose control. The United States National Transportation Safety Board officials discovered that a maintenance procedure was the culprit: American Airlines mechanics had removed the engine and its pylon at the same time using a forklift, and the forklift operator had inadvertently cracked the pylon in the process. The procedure was not approved by Douglas, but most major airlines used it. Although Douglas was not at fault for the pylon separation, it redesigned the DC-10 to allow more redundancies in the hydraulic systems. (It is rumored, although not confirmed, that the crash was a factor in a deal several years later where AA purchased a large order of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 's at a discount.)

Also in 1979, Air New Zealand Flight 901 crashed into Mount Erebus in Antarctica during a sight-seeing trip, killing all 257 on board. (This DC-10 accident was caused by complex factors not relating to the airworthiness of the aircraft.)

Perhaps the most infamous instance of a DC-10 crash was the Flight 232 disaster at Sioux City, USA, in 1989. After an emergency landing with no hydraulic controls available to the crew, the aircraft was completely destroyed. The crash ironically pointed out one of the DC-10's unique safety features: it is one of the only aircraft in the world that can be flown solely by throttle, without using rudder, elevators, or ailerons. After the hydraulics failed on Flight 232, the pilots were able to crash-land the plane although many died, over half of the passengers walked away without major injury.

The 446th and final DC-10 rolled off the production line in December 1988 and was delivered to Nigeria Airways in early 1989.

Despite its troubled beginning, the DC-10 ultimately proved &mdash and continues to be &mdash a reliable aircraft, much loved by engineers and pilots. The aircraft's safety record continually improved as design flaws were ironed out and fleet hours increased. In fact, the DC-10's lifetime safety record as of 2003 is comparable to similar second generation passenger jets.


19 July 1989

United Airlines’ DC-10 N1819U, Flight 232, on final approach to Sioux City Gateway Airport, 19 July 1989. In this image, damage to the right horizontal stabilizer is visible, and the aircraft tail cone is missing. (Wikipedia)

19 July 1989: United Airlines Flight 232 was a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10, registration N1819U, enroute from Stapleton International Airport, Denver, Colorado to O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois. There were 296 persons aboard the airliner: 285 passengers and 11 crew members. The flight crew consisted of Captain Alfred C. Haynes, First Officer William Record, and Second Officer Dudley Dvorak. Also aboard, riding in the passenger cabin, was an off-duty United Airlines DC-10 Check Airman, Captain Dennis E. Fitch.

At 3:16:10 p.m., the fan disk of the airliner’s tail-mounted General Electric CF6-6 turbofan engine (Number Two) failed catastrophically. Shrapnel from the exploding engine chopped through the DC-10’s tail section and severed the three independent hydraulic systems that powered the flight control surfaces. The crew immediately lost their ability to control the airliner with rudder, elevators and ailerons. Flaps and wing leading edge slats were inoperative. Controls to the damaged engine also failed and only by cutting off fuel flow were they able to shut if down and prevention further damage or a fire. Landing gear could only be lowered by use of an emergency procedure.

The uncontrolled airliner immediately started to roll and dive. The pilots’ cockpit flight controls were completely useless to stop the roll. Only by varying the thrust on the two remaining wing mounted engines could some degree of control be maintained. Realizing there was a problem with the DC-10, Captain Fitch told a flight attendant to inform Captain Haynes that he was aboard and ask if he could assist. Haynes immediately asked Fitch to come forward, and once there to take over the throttle controls while the crew dealt with all the other problems that were occurring.

Flight 232 radar track. (NTSB)

The simultaneous loss of all three hydraulic systems was considered to be “impossible” and there were no emergency procedures to deal with the problem. The crew did the best they could by varying power on the two remaining engines to turn the airplane and to descend. They were heading for an emergency landing at Sioux City Gateway Airport, Iowa (SUX).

United Airlines Flight 232 on final approach to Sioux Gateway Airport, 19 July 1989. (Gary Anderson/Sioux City Journal)

At 4:00:16 p.m., the DC-10 touched down on Runway 22 at an estimated at 215 knots (247.4 miles per hour, 398.2 kilometers per hour) and a rate of descent of 1,620 feet per minute (8.23 meters per second). At about 100 feet (30.5 meters) above the ground, the airliner’s nose began to pitch downward and the airliner started to roll to the right. Touchdown was at the runway threshold, just left of the centerline.

The DC-10 touched down at the threshold of Runway 22, just left of the centerline. Captain Alfred C. Haynes

The force of the impact caused the airframe break apart and the wreck rolled over to the right side of the runway. Fuel exploded and fire spread. 110 passengers and 1 flight attendant were killed in the crash and fire. There were 185 survivors of the crash, including the four pilots who were trapped in the crushed nose section of the airplane which had broken away from the main wreckage.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation determined that the the center engine fan disk failed due to a crack which had formed when the original titanium ingot from which it was made had been cast 18 years before.

The official report said that a landing under these conditions was stated to be “a highly random event“. The NTSB further noted that “. . . under the circumstances the UAL flight crew performance was highly commendable and greatly exceeded reasonable expectations.”

This was one of the finest displays of airmanship during an inflight emergency since the beginning of aviation.

An Iowa National Guard UH-1 medevac helicopter hovers over the wreckage of the United Airlines DC-10, 19 July 1989.