McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine wide-body jet airliner
manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. It features two turbofan engines
mounted on underwing pylons and a third engine at the base of the
vertical stabilizer. The DC-10 has range for medium- to long-haul
flights, capable of carrying a maximum of 380 passengers.
The DC-10 was intended as a successor to the McDonnell Douglas's DC-8
for long-range operations, using a wide-body layout to greatly
increase the capacity of the aircraft. More powerful engines allowed
it to be powered by three engines, the minimum allowed at that time
for long overwater flights, which reduces maintenance costs relative
to a four-engine design. Lockheed also saw this niche as an ideal
place to reenter the commercial airliner market with their very
similar L-1011 TriStar. Although the L-1011 was more technologically
advanced, the DC-10 would go on to outsell the L-1011 by a significant
margin, due to the L-1011's higher price and delayed entry in the
The DC-10 was noted for a poor safety record in early operations,
especially due to a design flaw in the cargo doors. Its safety
reputation was further damaged by the crash of American Airlines
Flight 191, the deadliest in the United States at that time. Following
Chicago crash, the
FAA withdrew the DC-10's type certificate on
June 6, 1979, which had immediate far reaching effects. It grounded
138 U.S.-registered DC-10s, forbade any foreign government which had a
bilateral agreement with the United States regarding aircraft
certifications from flying their DC-10s, and banned all DC-10s not
covered by a bilateral agreement from U.S. airspace and use of U.S.
airports. Even ferry flying within U.S. airspace was forbidden.
These measures were rescinded five weeks later on July 13, 1979 after
modifications were made to the slat actuation and position systems,
along with stall warning and power supply changes.
Sales of the DC-10 fell dramatically and never fully recovered; in
McDonnell Douglas announced that it would end production
of the DC-10, citing a lack of orders for them. Airline industry
consensus at the time was that the DC-10 had a poor reputation both
for fuel economy and for its overall safety. In spite of the
DC-10's early difficulties, it ultimately accumulated a good safety
record as design flaws were rectified and fleet hours increased,
comparable to similar second-generation passenger jets, as of 2008.
The initial DC-10-10 model was a "domestic" design with a typical
range on the order of 3,800 miles (6,100 km) in a two-class
layout. The -15 was a "hot and high" version with more powerful
engines. The -30 and -40 models were the "international" versions with
extended range of up to 6,220 miles (10,010 km) and a third main
landing gear leg to support the higher takeoff weights this required.
An even longer-ranged version for British Airways, the -50, was not
built. The air-to-air refueling tanker versions, known as the KC-10
Extender, are based on the -30 models. Production of the DC-10
ended in 1989 with 386 delivered to airlines and 60 to the U.S. Air
The DC-10 was succeeded by the related
McDonnell Douglas MD-11,
essentially an enlarged version of the DC-10 with a number of detail
improvements. Boeing, which merged with
McDonnell Douglas in 1997,
conducted an upgrade program that equipped many in-service DC-10s with
a glass cockpit that eliminated the flight engineer position; the
upgraded aircraft were re-designated as MD-10s. The DC-10's last
commercial passenger flight took place in February 2014, although
freighter versions continue to operate. The largest operator of the
DC-10 is U.S. cargo airline
FedEx Express. Despite the airliner's
popularity, only a few DC-10s are on display, while other retired
aircraft are in storage or being scrapped. DC-10s are also used for
specialist services, such as the
Orbis International Flying Eye
Hospital, which has a compartment for performing eye surgery.
3.1 Original variants
3.2 Longer-range variants
3.3 Tanker versions
3.4 MD-10 upgrade
5 Incidents and accidents
5.1 Cargo door problem
American Airlines Flight 96
5.1.2 Turkish Airlines Flight 981
American Airlines Flight 191
United Airlines Flight 232
5.4 Other notable accidents and incidents
6 Aircraft on display
9 See also
11 External links
Following an unsuccessful proposal for the U.S. Air Force's CX-HLS
(Heavy Logistics System) in 1965, Douglas Aircraft began design
studies based on its CX-HLS design. In 1966,
American Airlines offered
a specification to manufacturers for a widebody aircraft smaller than
Boeing 747 but capable of flying similar long-range routes from
airports with shorter runways. The DC-10 became McDonnell Douglas's
first commercial airliner after the merger between McDonnell Aircraft
Douglas Aircraft Company
Douglas Aircraft Company in 1967. An early DC-10
design proposal was for a four-engine double-deck wide-body jet
airliner with a maximum seating capacity of 550 passengers similar in
length of a DC-8. The proposal was shelved in favor of a trijet
single-deck wide-body airliner with a maximum seating capacity of 399
passengers, and similar in length to the DC-8 Super 60.
DC-10 prototype during flight testing
On February 19, 1968, in what was supposed to be a knockout blow to
the competing Lockheed L-1011, George A. Spater, President of American
Airlines, and James S. McDonnell of
McDonnell Douglas announced
American Airlines' intention to acquire the DC-10. This was a shock to
Lockheed and there was general agreement within the U.S. aviation
American Airlines had left its competitors at the
starting gate. Together with American Airlines' decision to announce
the DC-10 order, it was also reported that
American Airlines had
declared its intention to have the British
Rolls-Royce RB211 turbofan
engine on its DC-10 aircraft.
The DC-10 was first ordered by launch customers
American Airlines with
25 orders, and
United Airlines with 30 orders and 30 options in
1968. The first DC-10, a series 10, made its maiden flight on
August 29, 1970. Following a test program with 929 flights
covering 1,551 hours, the DC-10 received its type certificate from the
FAA on July 29, 1971. It entered commercial service with American
Airlines on August 5, 1971 on a round trip flight between Los Angeles
United Airlines began DC-10 service on August 16,
1971. American's DC-10s had 206 seats and United's had 222; both
had six-across seating in first-class and eight-across (four pairs) in
coach. The DC-10's similarity to the Lockheed L-1011 in design,
passenger capacity, and launch date resulted in a sales competition
that affected profitability of the aircraft.
The first DC-10 version was the "domestic" series 10 with a range of
3,800 miles (3,300 nmi, 6,110 km) with a typical
passenger load and a range of 2,710 miles (2,350 nmi,
4,360 km) with maximum payload. The series 15 had a typical load
range of 4,350 miles (3,780 nmi, 7,000 km). The
series 20 was powered by Pratt & Whitney JT9D turbofan engines,
whereas the series 10 and 30 engines were General Electric CF6. Before
delivery of its aircraft, Northwest's president asked that the "series
20" aircraft be redesignated "series 40" because the aircraft was much
improved over the original design. The
FAA issued the series 40
certificate on October 27, 1972.
FedEx Express MD-10-10, a modernized DC-10-10, landing at San Jose
The series 30 and 40 were the longer-range "international" versions.
The main visible difference between the models is that the series 10
has three sets of landing gear (one front and two main) while the
series 30 and 40 have an additional centerline main gear. The center
main two-wheel landing gear (which extends from the center of the
fuselage) was added to distribute the extra weight and for additional
braking. The series 30 had a typical load range of 6,220 mi
(10,010 km) and a maximum payload range of 4,604 mi
(7,410 km). The series 40 had a typical load range of
5,750 miles (9,265 km) and a maximum payload range of
4,030 miles (3,500 nmi, 6,490 km).
The DC-10 had two engine options and introduced longer-range variants
a few years after entering service; these allowed it to distinguish
itself from its main competitor, the L-1011. The 446th and final DC-10
rolled off the
Long Beach, California
Long Beach, California Products Division production
line in December 1988 and was delivered to
Nigeria Airways in July
1989. The production run exceeded the 1971 estimate of 438
deliveries needed to break even on the project. As the final
DC-10s were delivered
McDonnell Douglas had started production of its
successor, the MD-11.
DC-10-30 flight deck
The DC-10 is a low-wing cantilever monoplane, powered by three
turbofan engines. Two engines are mounted on pylons that attach to the
bottom of the wings, while the third engine is encased in a protective
banjo-shaped structure that is mounted on the top of the rear
fuselage. The vertical stabilizer with its two-segment rudder, is
mounted on top of the tail engine banjo. The horizontal stabilizer
with its four-segment elevator is attached to the sides of the rear
fuselage in the conventional manner. The airliner has a retractable
tricycle landing gear. To enable higher gross weights, the later -30
and -40 series have an additional two-wheel main landing gear, which
retracts into the center of the fuselage.
It was designed for medium to long-range flights that can accommodate
250 to 380 passengers, and is operated by a cockpit flight crew of
three. The fuselage has underfloor storage for cargo and baggage.
Hawaiian Airlines DC-10-10
The DC-10-10 is the initial passenger version introduced in 1971,
produced from 1970 to 1981. The DC-10-10 was equipped with GE CF6-6
engines, which was the first civil engine version from the CF6 family.
A total of 122 were built.
The -10CF is a convertible passenger and cargo transport version of
the -10. Eight were built for
Continental Airlines and one for United
The -15 variant was designed for use at hot and high airports. The
series 15 is basically a -10 fitted with higher-thrust GE CF6-50C2F
(derated DC-10-30 engines) powerplants. The -15 was first ordered
in 1979 by Mexicana and Aeroméxico. Seven were completed between 1981
Northwest Airlines DC-10-30 at London Gatwick Airport, 2003
FedEx became the first U.S. carrier to equip its aircraft with an
anti-missile defense system in 2006. The gray oval Northrop Grumman
Guardian pod can be seen on the belly of this
FedEx MD-10 between and
just aft of the main landing gear.
A proposed version of the DC-10-10 with extra fuel tanks, 3-ft (0.9 m)
extensions on each wingtip and a rear center landing gear. It was to
use Pratt & Whitney JT9D-15 turbofan engines, each producing
45,500 lbf (203 kN) of thrust, with a maximum takeoff weight
of 530,000 lb (240,400 kg). But engine improvements led to
increased thrust and increased takeoff weight. Northwest Orient
Airlines, one of the launch customers for this longer-range DC-10
requested the name change to DC-10-40.
A long-range model and the most common model produced. It was built
with General Electric CF6-50 turbofan engines and larger fuel tanks to
increase range and fuel efficiency, as well as a set of rear center
landing gear to support the increased weight. It was very popular with
European flag carriers. A total of 163 were built from 1972 to 1988
and delivered to 38 different customers. The model was introduced
in service on November 30, 1972, with
KLM as its first
The convertible cargo/passenger transport version of the -30. The
first deliveries were to
Overseas National Airways
Overseas National Airways and Trans
International Airlines in 1973. A total of 27 were built.
The extended-range version of the -30. The -30ER aircraft has a higher
maximum takeoff weight of 590,000 lb (267,600 kg), is
powered by three GE CF6-50C2B engines each producing 54,000 lbf
(240 kN) of thrust and is equipped with an additional fuel tank
in the rear cargo hold. It has an additional 700 mi of
range to 6,600 mi (5,730 nmi, 10,620 km). The first of
this variant was delivered to
Finnair in 1981. A total of six were
built and five -30s were later converted to -30ERs.
Also known as the DC-10-30F. This was the all freight version of the
-30. Production was to start in 1979, but
Alitalia did not confirm its
order then. Production began in May 1984 after the first aircraft
order from FedEx. A total of 10 were built.
The first long-range version fitted with Pratt & Whitney JT9D
engines. Originally designated DC-10-20, this model was renamed
DC-10-40 after a special request from Northwest Orient Airlines as the
aircraft was much improved compared to its original design, with a
higher MTOW (on par with the Series 30) and more powerful engines. The
airline's president wanted to advertise he had the latest
version. The company also wanted its aircraft to be equipped
with the same engines as its
Boeing 747s for fleet commonality.
Northwest Orient Airlines and
Japan Airlines were the only airlines to
order the Series 40 with 22 and 20 aircraft, respectively. Engine
improvements led to the DC-10-40s delivered to Northwest featuring
Pratt & Whitney JT9D-20 engines producing 50,000 lbf
(222 kN) of thrust and a MTOW of 555,000 lb
(251,815 kg). The -40s for
Japan Airlines were equipped with
P&W JT9D-59A engines that produced a thrust of 53,000 lbf
(235.8 kN) and a MTOW of 565,000 lb (256,350 kg).
42 were built from 1973 to 1983. Externally, the DC-10-40 can be
distinguished from the -30 series by a slight bulge near the front of
the nacelle for the #2 (tail) engine.
A proposed version with Rolls-Royce RB211-524 engines for British
Airways. The order never came and the plans for the DC-10-50 were
Two-engine designs were studied for the DC-10 before the design
settled on the three-engine configuration. Later a shortened DC-10
version with two engines was proposed against the Airbus A300.
A USAF KC-10 Extender during refueling
The KC-10 Extender is a military version of the DC-10-30CF for aerial
refueling. The aircraft was ordered by the U.S. Air Force and
delivered from 1981 to 1988. A total of 60 were built.
The KDC-10 is an aerial refueling tanker for the Royal Netherlands Air
Force. These were converted from civil airliners (DC-10-30CF) to a
similar standard as the KC-10. Also, commercial refueling companies
Omega Aerial Refueling Services
Omega Aerial Refueling Services and Global Airtanker Service operate
two KDC-10 tankers for lease. Four have been built.
DC-10 Air Tanker
DC-10 Air Tanker during a water drop demonstration
DC-10 Air Tanker
DC-10 Air Tanker is a DC-10-based firefighting tanker aircraft,
using modified water tanks from Erickson Air-Crane.
The MD-10 is retrofit cockpit upgrade to the DC-10 and a
re-designation to MD-10. The upgrade included an Advanced Common
Flightdeck (ACF) used on the MD-11 and was launched in 1996. The
new cockpit eliminated the need for the flight engineer position and
allowed common type rating with the MD-11. This allows companies such
FedEx Express, which operate both the MD-10 and MD-11, to have a
common pilot pool for both aircraft. The MD-10 conversion now falls
Boeing Converted Freighter program where Boeing's
international affiliate companies perform the conversions.
See also: List of
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 operators
Biman Bangladesh Airlines
Biman Bangladesh Airlines DC-10-30 on short final to Frankfurt am
Orbis DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital
In July 2015, there were 56 DC-10s and MD-10s in airline service with
FedEx Express (50),
Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter (2), and
others with fewer aircraft. The aging models are now largely used
as dedicated freight aircraft. "The DC-10 is going to be remembered as
a better cargo plane than passenger plane", said Richard Aboulafia, an
analyst with the Teal Group.
On January 8, 2007,
Northwest Airlines retired its last remaining
DC-10 from scheduled passenger service, thus ending the aircraft's
operations with major airlines. Regarding the retirement of
Northwest's DC-10 fleet, Wade Blaufuss, spokesman for the Northwest
chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association said, "The DC-10 is a
reliable airplane, fun to fly, roomy and quiet, kind of like flying an
old Cadillac Fleetwood. We're sad to see an old friend go." Biman
Bangladesh Airlines was the last commercial carrier to operate the
DC-10 in passenger service. The airline flew the DC-10 on
a regular passenger flight for the last time on February 20, 2014,
from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Birmingham, UK. Local charter
flights were flown in the UK until February 24, 2014.
Non-airline operators include the
Royal Netherlands Air Force
Royal Netherlands Air Force with two
DC-10-30CF-based KDC-10 tanker aircraft, the USAF with its 59 KC-10s,
10 Tanker Air Carrier
10 Tanker Air Carrier with its modified DC-10-10 used for
Orbis International has used a DC-10 as a
flying eye hospital. Surgery is performed on the ground and the
operating room is located between the wings for maximum stability. In
2008, Orbis chose to replace its aging DC-10-10 with a DC-10-30
jointly donated by
FedEx and United Airlines. The newer DC-10
was to be converted into MD-10 configuration, and begin flying as an
eye hospital in 2010. One former American Airlines
DC-10-10 is operated by the
Missile Defense Agency
Missile Defense Agency as the Widebody
Airborne Sensor Platform (WASP).
Incidents and accidents
As of September 2015, the DC-10 has been involved in 55 accidents and
incidents, including 32 hull-loss accidents, with 1,261
occupant fatalities. Of these accidents and incidents, it has been
involved in 9 hijackings resulting in 1 death and a bombing resulting
in 170 occupant fatalities. Despite its troubled beginnings in the
1970s, which gave it an unfavorable reputation, the DC-10 has
proved to be a reliable aircraft with an overall low accident rate as
of 1998. The DC-10's initially poor safety record has continuously
improved as design flaws were rectified and fleet hours increased.
The DC-10's lifetime safety record is comparable to similar
second-generation passenger jets as of 2008.
Cargo door problem
The DC-10 was designed with cargo doors that opened outward instead of
conventional inward-opening "plug-type" doors. Using outward-opening
doors allowed the DC-10's cargo area to be completely filled since the
door was not occupying usable interior space when open. To secure the
door against the outward force from the pressurization of the fuselage
at high altitudes, outward-opening doors must use heavy locking
mechanisms. In the event of a door lock malfunction, there is great
potential for explosive decompression.
American Airlines Flight 96
A problem with the outward-opening cargo door first became publicly
known on June 12, 1972, when
American Airlines Flight 96 lost its aft
cargo door shortly after takeoff from Detroit Metro Airport, in flight
above Windsor, Ontario. Before Flight 96 took off, an airport employee
had forced the door shut, which, due to the cargo door's design, gave
an outward appearance of being securely locked despite the internal
locking mechanism not being fully engaged. Subsequently, when the
aircraft reached approximately 11,750 feet (3,580 m) in altitude,
the rear cargo door blew out, causing an explosive decompression that
partially collapsed the cabin floor above the door. This collapsed
section of the floor cut or impeded many of the control cables to the
empennage control systems necessary to fly the aircraft. The
crew performed an emergency landing by using the ailerons, right
elevator, some limited rudder trim, and asymmetrical thrust of the
wing engines. The passengers evacuated safely.
During the investigation of the near-crash of Flight 96, U.S. National
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators found that the
DC-10's cargo door design was dangerously flawed. The door relied on a
set of heavy steel hooks to secure it against the door frame. When the
hooks were fully engaged, an outside lever on the cargo door could be
depressed to drive a set of locking pins through the hooks to hold
them in place. The NTSB investigation found that it was possible to
close the outside lever without the hooks being fully engaged, and
there would be no outward signs that the locking mechanism was not
engaged; the cargo door indicator in the cockpit would still register
the door as being secured without hooks and locking pins being in the
closed position. This combination of factors caused Flight 96 to take
off without its aft cargo door being fully locked. When the door blew
out at altitude, the sudden decompression created a large pressure
differential between the cabin above and the cargo bay below, causing
the cabin floor to collapse. The collapse of the cabin floor
severely damaged some of the vital flight control wires and hydraulic
lines routed through the floor beams, which left the pilots with very
limited control of the aircraft.
Following the Windsor accident investigation, the NTSB made several
recommendations, including repairing the faulty cargo door design to
make it impossible for baggage handlers to close the cargo door lever
without the locking pins being fully engaged. It was also recommended
that vents be installed in the cabin floor so that, in case of an
explosive decompression, the pressure difference between the cabin and
cargo bay could quickly be equalized without collapsing the cabin
floor and damaging critical control systems. Although many
carriers voluntarily modified the cargo doors, no airworthiness
directive was issued to require reworking of the locking system, due
to a gentlemen's agreement between the heads of the FAA, John H.
Shaffer, and McDonnell Douglas, Jackson McGowen.
McDonnell Douglas did
make modifications to the cargo door, but the basic design remained
unchanged and problems persisted.
Turkish Airlines Flight 981
On March 3, 1974, an almost identical cargo door blow-out caused
Turkish Airlines Flight 981
Turkish Airlines Flight 981 to crash into a forest near the town of
Ermenonville, France shortly after leaving Paris. All 346 people
were killed; it was one of the deadliest air crashes of all
time. Circumstances of this crash were very similar to the
previous accident. The cargo door had not been fully locked, though it
appeared so to both cockpit crew and ground personnel. The Turkish
aircraft had a different seating configuration that exacerbated the
effects of decompression, which caused the aircraft's floor to
collapse into the cargo bay. Control cables running through the floor
beams were severed when the floor collapsed and rendered the aircraft
uncontrollable. Crash investigators found that the DC-10's relief
vents were not large enough to equalize the pressure between the
passenger and cargo compartments during explosive decompression.
Following this crash, a special subcommittee of the House of
Representatives investigated the cargo door issue and the FAA's
certification of the original design. An airworthiness directive
was issued, and all DC-10s underwent mandatory door modifications.
The DC-10 experienced no more major incidents related to its cargo
door after FAA-approved changes were made.
American Airlines Flight 191
The DC-10 was involved in another deadly crash on May 25, 1979, when
American Airlines Flight 191, departing Chicago's O'Hare Airport, went
out of control immediately after takeoff. As the airliner rotated
during its takeoff roll, the number one (left wing) engine and pylon
assembly separated from and swung upward over the top of the wing,
severing critical hydraulic lines embedded in the wing's leading edge,
as well as tearing away part of the wing structure. The loss of
hydraulic pressure to the leading edge slat actuators caused the slats
to retract due to aerodynamic forces, increasing the left wing's stall
speed above the engine failure climb out speed being used by the
pilots. With the left wing stalled and further destabilized by
asymmetric thrust, the DC-10 rapidly rolled to the left, sharply
descended and crashed, killing all 271 people on board and two
individuals on the ground. The loss of Flight 191 remains the
deadliest aircraft accident in U.S. history. The crash and its
aftermath were widely covered by the media and dealt a severe blow to
the DC-10's reputation and sales, which never fully recovered.
National Transportation Safety Board
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials discovered
that a maintenance procedure was the cause. American Airlines
mechanics had removed the engine and its pylon as a unit, rather than
removing the engine from the pylon then removing the pylon from the
wing, as recommended by McDonnell Douglas. The faulty procedure was
done using a forklift which resulted in inadvertent structural damage.
It was subsequently discovered that this short-cut procedure, believed
to save many man-hours on maintenance, was being used by three major
McDonnell Douglas had advised against it. In
November 1979, the
Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fined
American Airlines $500,000 for using this faulty maintenance
Continental Airlines was similarly fined $100,000.
The Flight 191 crash highlighted a major deficiency in the DC-10
design: its lack of a locking mechanism to maintain the position of
the leading-edge slats in the event of a hydraulic or pneumatic
actuation failure. The DC-10's design depended on the principle of
hydrostatic lock to keep the slats extended against aerodynamic
forces, whereas other aircraft use a positive mechanical system, such
Acme screw actuation, to maintain slat position.
It was determined that when the engine and pylon assembly pulled up
and over the wing, it severed electrical wiring in the wing, thus
rendering vital warning instruments in the cockpit inoperable.
United Airlines Flight 232
Another major DC-10 crash was the
United Airlines Flight 232 crash at
Sioux City, Iowa, on July 19, 1989. The number two (tail) engine
suffered an uncontained fan disk failure in flight, which damaged all
three hydraulic systems and rendered the hydraulic flight controls
inoperable. The flight crew, led by Captain Al Haynes and assisted by
a senior pilot flying as a passenger (Dennis E. "Denny" Fitch),
performed an emergency landing by constantly adjusting the thrust of
the remaining two engines. The crew managed to fly the aircraft onto
the runway in a partially controlled manner, and 185 of the 296 people
on board survived in spite of the destruction of the aircraft during
The DC-10 included no cable backup for the hydraulic powered flight
controls because it was considered nearly impossible for three
hydraulic systems to fail during one flight, and the control surfaces
are too large to be moved without hydraulic assistance. All three
hydraulic systems were in close proximity, directly beneath the tail
engine. The #2 engine explosion hurled fragments that ruptured all
three lines, resulting in total loss of control to the elevators,
ailerons, spoilers, horizontal stabilizer, rudder, flaps and
Following the UAL 232 accident, hydraulic fuses were installed in the
#3 hydraulic system in the area below the #2 engine on all DC-10
aircraft to ensure that sufficient control capability remained if all
three hydraulic system lines should be damaged in the tail area. It is
still possible to lose all three hydraulic systems elsewhere. This
nearly occurred to a cargo airliner in 2002 during takeoff, when a
main gear tire exploded in the wheel well. The damage in the left wing
area caused total loss of pressure in the #1 and the #2 hydraulic
systems. The #3 system was dented but not penetrated.
Other notable accidents and incidents
Other notable incidents and accidents are:
November 3, 1973 – National Airlines Flight 27, a DC-10-10 cruising
at 39,000 feet, experienced an uncontained failure of the right (#3)
engine. One cabin window separated from the fuselage after it was
struck by debris flung from the exploding engine. The passenger
sitting next to that window was killed and ejected from the aircraft.
The crew initiated an emergency descent, and landed the aircraft
November 12, 1975 – An ONA DC-10 on a ferry flight struck a heavy
flock of seagulls while on its take-off roll from JFK International
Airport, New York. The captain aborted below V1 speed, but the #3
engine exploded, causing a partial braking failure. The landing gear
collapsed and fire eventually destroyed the plane. All 139 ONA
employees on board survived. Two were seriously injured, while 30
others had minor injuries.[specify]
January 2, 1976 – An ONA DC-10 experienced an undershoot on the
short runway in Istanbul, Turkey. The aircraft touched the ground and
crash-landed then a fire in the #1 engine started. The aircraft was
destroyed. All passengers survived.[specify]
March 1, 1978 –
Continental Airlines Flight 603, a DC-10-10, began
its take-off from Los Angeles International Airport. Approaching V1 in
the take off roll, the recapping tread of the No. 2 tire on the left
main landing gear separated from the tire and the resulting overload
caused that tire to blow out. That in turn, imposed an overload on the
No. 1 tire on the same axle, resulting in a second blowout almost
immediately after the first blowout. Shrapnel from the rims of the
failed tires then damaged the No. 5 tire on the left main gear,
causing it to also blow out. The blow outs ruptured a fuel tank, which
combined with the excessive heat from the aborted take off maneuver,
resulted in a massive fire. 2 passengers were killed in the ensuing
evacuation and 2 died later from injuries sustained in the incident.
October 31, 1979 – Western Airlines Flight 2605, a DC-10-10, after
taking off from Los Angeles collided with construction equipment after
landing on a closed runway at Mexico City International Airport,
killing 72 of the 88 people on board and one person on the ground. The
crash was caused by failure to follow proper landing guidelines in
consideration of the fog on the runway.
November 11, 1979 – an Aeromexico DC-10 entered a sustained stall
while climbing through 29,800 ft, to its assigned cruise altitude
of 31,000 ft, over Luxembourg, Europe. The flight crew failed to
monitor their flight instruments, so they did not immediately
recognize the plane was in a stalled condition. Instead, they blamed
the heavy buffeting on the #3 engine, which they shut down, while
continuing to hold the nose up. The plane continued to descend for one
minute in a fully stalled condition, until the pilots lowered the nose
and began a proper stall recovery procedure, which was completed at
18,900 ft. The #3 engine was then restarted, the declaration of
emergency canceled and the flight continued to Miami, Florida. Ground
inspection revealed four feet missing from each of the outboard
elevator tips, including the balance weights. The NTSB concluded the
sustained stall buffeting produced a dynamic structural overload on
the elevator, which resulted in the failure of the elevator tips and
balance weights. Further, the NTSB concluded the autopilot had
improperly been placed in vertical speed mode. That forced the AP to
keep increasing the angle of attack, to maintain the preselected
vertical speed number, because maximum available engine thrust
declined (normally) with increasing altitude. That in turn, caused the
airspeed to fall below the stall speed of the aircraft.
November 28, 1979 – Air New Zealand Flight 901, DC-10-30 ZK-NZP,
Mount Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica during a
sightseeing flight over the continent, killing all 257 on board. The
accident was caused by the flight coordinates being altered without
the flight crew's knowledge, combined with unique Antarctic weather
January 12, 1981 –
Garuda Indonesia DC-10-30 PK-GIB overran the
runway on landing at Hasanuddin Airport, Ujung Pandang, Sulawesi,
Indonesia and was substantially damaged.
January 23, 1982 –
World Airways Flight 30, DC-10-30CF registration
N113WA, overran the runway at Boston Logan International Airport. All
12 crew survived, but two of the 200 passengers were never found.
September 13, 1982 – Spantax Flight 995, DC-10-30CF EC-DEG, was
destroyed by fire after an aborted take-off at Málaga, Spain. A total
of 50 passengers were killed and 110 injured due to the
December 23, 1983 – Korean Air Cargo Flight 084, DC-10-30CF HL7339,
was destroyed after colliding head-on with a
Piper PA-31 Navajo
Piper PA-31 Navajo while
taxiing at Anchorage, Alaska. All on board both aircraft
February 28th, 1984-
Scandinavian Airlines System
Scandinavian Airlines System Flight 901 overran
the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The pilot
realized he couldn't stop in time so he veered the plane off the
runway and it rested in shallow water. All 177 people survived the
crash. The cause of the crash was the crew's failure to monitor the
airspeed during landing.
N306FE, the MD-10-30 involved in the attempted hijacking of FedEx
Express Flight 705, seen landing at Reno/Tahoe International Airport,
July 27, 1989 – Korean Air Flight 803, DC-10-30 HL7328, crashed
short of the runway in bad weather while trying to land at Tripoli,
Libya. A total of 75 of the 199 on board plus another 4 people on the
ground were killed in the accident.
September 19, 1989 – UTA Flight 772, DC-10-30 N54629, crashed in the
Ténéré Desert in
Niger following an in-flight bomb explosion,
claiming the lives of all 170 on board.
December 21, 1992 – Martinair Flight 495, DC-10-30CF PH-MBN, crashed
while landing in bad weather at
Faro, Portugal killing 54 passengers
April 7, 1994 – Federal Express Flight 705, DC-10-30 N306FE,
experienced an attempted hijacking.
FedEx employee Auburn Calloway
tried to hijack the aircraft with the intention of crashing it, but
the crew fought him off and returned to Memphis. The co-pilot used a
number of aerobatic maneuvers to assist his colleagues in fighting off
June 13, 1996 –
Garuda Indonesia Flight 865, DC-10-30 PK-GIE, had
just taken off from Fukuoka Airport,
Japan when a high-pressure blade
from engine #3 separated. The aircraft was just a few feet above the
runway and the pilot decided to abort the take-off. Consequently, the
DC-10 skidded off the runway and came to a halt 1,600 ft
(490 m) past it, losing one of its engines and its landing
January 31, 2001 - In the 2001
Japan Airlines mid-air incident, a
McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-40 and a
Boeing 747-446D were involved in a
near-miss over Yaizu in Shizuoka Prefecture,
Japan as a result of
incorrect and conflicting instructions by ATC. While the DC-10, which
was bound for Narita International Airport, passed over the
without any injuries to those aboard, the 747 had to take an evasive
manoeuvre to avoid it, injuring 100 passengers as a result. Had the
two aircraft collided, 677 people would have been killed.
October 28, 2016 –
FedEx Express Flight 910, MD-10-10F N370FE,
landing gear collapsed after landing at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood
International Airport. This started a fire that damaged the airplane's
port wing. The crew members escaped without injuries.
The Air France Concorde crash in 2000 was attributed to a metal
fragment that fell from the thrust reverser of a Continental Airlines
DC-10 that had taken off four minutes earlier. This fragment was
traced to third-party replacement parts not approved by the Federal
Numerous DC-10s have also been damaged or written off by overrunning
the runway or environmental hazards.
Aircraft on display
The preserved forward fuselage segment of Monarch Airlines' DC-10-30,
G-DMCA,[better source needed] is on display at
Manchester Airport Aviation Viewing Park, where it is used for
teaching and school visits.
DC-10-30 9G-ANB, which previously belonged to
Ghana Airways, is on
display and in use as the
La Tante DC10 Restaurant
La Tante DC10 Restaurant in Accra,
DC-10-10 N220AU "Flying Eye Hospital" previously owned by Orbis
International was retired in 2016 and will be on display at the Pima
Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona. It is currently
under restoration at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base.
Cabin of a
Biman Bangladesh Airlines
Biman Bangladesh Airlines DC-10-30, 2006
Cabin of a
World Airways Cargo DC-10-30F
Schematic of the
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30. Side, top, front,
380 (maximum, exit limit)
Cargo (freighter variant)
22 LD7 pallets
23 LD7 pallets
170 ft 6 in (51.97 m)
58 ft 1 in (17.7 m)
155 ft 4 in (47.34 m)
165 ft 4 in (50.4 m)
19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)
19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)
Max interior width
18 ft 2 in (5.54 m)
Operating empty weight
240,171 lb (108,940 kg)
266,191 lb (120,742 kg)
270,213 lb (122,567 kg)
Maximum take-off weight
Cruise speed, typical
(564 mph, 908 km/h, 490 kt)
Cruise speed, maximum
(610 mph, 982 km/h, 530 kt)
Maximum range, loaded[N 1]
3,800 miles (6,116 km)
4,350 mi (7,000 km)
6,600 mi (10,622 km)
5,750 mi (9,254 km)
Fuel capacity, maximum
21,700 U.S. gal
26,647 U.S. gal
36,650 U.S. gal
36,650 U.S. gal
Takeoff run on MTOW
8,612 ft (2,625 m)
7,257 ft (2,212 m)
9,341 ft (2,847 m)
9,242 ft (2,817 m)
42,000 ft (12,802 m)
Engine model (x 3)
Engine thrust (x 3)
40,000 lbf (177.9 kN)
46,500 lbf (206.8 kN)
51,000 lbf (226.9 kN)
53,000 lbf (235.8 kN)
Sources: DC-10 manufacturer data, Airliners.net, and
McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender
McDonnell Douglas MD-11
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Lockheed L-1011 TriStar
List of jet airliners
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to
McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
DC-10/KC-10 history on Boeing.com
DC-10 & MD-10 page on Airliners.net
DC-10.net web site
Early DC-10 concept
"DC-10 Passenger" (PDF). Boeing. 2007.
Robert R. Ropelewski (Aug 30, 1971). "Dc-10 Minimizes Crew Workload"
(PDF). Aviation Week. ‘Simple sophistication’ of aircraft, with
improvements in training, credited with reducing flight time for type
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