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MD-11 Good For Cargo, Bad For Pax, Why?  
User currently offlineAdipasqu From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 238 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7848 times:

I've read previous posts mentioning this, but I still don't know exactly why the MD-11 is a favorite of the cargo operators, but pax operators couldn't get rid of them fast enough. Why?

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8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11454 posts, RR: 72
Reply 1, posted (11 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7800 times:
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Very simply....very, very simply...I am certain others will elaborate further.

It came on the market just before large long range twins came out and enjoyed better operating efficiencies.

The cargo operators like them because of their excellent thrust to weight ratios which allow them to take off with serious loads. They were also available on the market relatively cheap for a while, although the values have lev Veelled off.

Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineGARUDAROD From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1566 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (11 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7763 times:

Personally, I love flying on the MD-11, but that may have to do with
being involved with the plane from the design stage.
The MD-11F actually has more useable volume space than the B747F.
It turns out it is the ideal aircraft for small package carriers like FEDEX
and UPS, where volume is more critical than total mass weight.

Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
User currently offlineLaxintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 29179 posts, RR: 50
Reply 3, posted (11 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 7699 times:

The MD-11 disappointed many carriers as it failed to deliver on promised fuel burn / range estimates.

MDC launched many performance improvement packages, however these basically brought the aircraft up to only baseline performance promises with little chance for growth via heavier or larger versions.
At the same time Airbus and Boeing were very busy pushing their new A340 and B777s which all offered future growth potential via sub versions.

The MD-11 managed to become quite popular amongst cargo airlines as the aircraft provides a unique weight/space combination that has been attractive to both package freighter airlines like Fedex and regular cargo airlines like Lufthansa.

The MD-11 while somewhat a quirky plane managed to fill needs of several airlines like Swissair and Finnair, however failed atvother like American Airlines. Overall I suspect the MD-11 was simply too little, too late. If the aircraft had been available maybe 5 years prior in the early/mid 80s, its faith might have been very different as could the faith of the A340 and B777 programs been. The weak financial picture of MDC lead the company to produce a very conservative aircraft at a very late stage.

From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 6265 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (11 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7506 times:

Hmmm... I read that the aircraft INITIALLY didn't meet AA's expectations, but that Douglas fairly quickly got the nits worked out. Maybe I'm wrong.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6291 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (11 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7431 times:

They got the 'nits' worked out, but it took a while. By that time, Delta had cancelled their remaining orders (at the cost of the 'cancellation' fines in the order contract) and American IIRC took no options and didn't take all of their firm orders, either. They ended up with only 19 MD-11s, while they had intended to replace all the DC-10-30s with the MD-11-30s.

Additionally, Bill, it's not good business to work out the kinks AFTER you fail to meet promises. If you agree to build me a car that seats six and gets 26 mpg, and then when it's actually built only gets 20 mpg, why should I owe you any money, or continued business? The MD-11 failed in range, and also in fuel burn. The AA flights to Tokyo quickly learned (in the matter of a week, I have heard) that the plane was nowhere NEAR capable of what it was "capable of doing." Sure, it's a nice thing to fix the problem later, but it does me no good if, in the meanwhile, I have a lemon of an airplane. A plane that can't fly form point A to point B without ditching in the Pacific isn't a very useful plane, is it?

The whole thing was a blunder. Too bad too- I love flying on them. Best flight I ever had was AA MIA-DFW in a M11.

User currently offlineKonstantinos From Greece, joined Jun 2001, 389 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 6986 times:

Just like laxintl mentioned, a conservative aircraft. I also enjoyed flying on the MD11. I think it's an aircraft made to curry people, unlike other aircraft that try to crump every one in like sardines. Very smooth flying and very good landings. The take off is excellent too. You really get to feel the power on take off.

User currently offlinePhilsquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 6944 times:

Just a correction to reply #2.

The MD-11 has a volume of 573.5 M3, while the 747-400F has 777.8M3. So, the MD-11 does not have a larger cargo volume than the 747.

Just wanted to clarify the figures.

Reference http://www.tiaca.org/content/Boeing_2003_3.pdf

User currently offlineLtbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13863 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 6872 times:

Perhaps there are other issues too. One is that center 3rd engine, it is difficult to service vs. wing mounted engines. There have been many posts hers about the difficulty of maintining that tail engine. There is also the extra costs of that 3rd engine vs. haveing only 2 on a 777. The demand for such aircraft has really been replaced by the 777, 767, and the trends in the last 15 years toward more frequency with of smaller a/c's in many international services.

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