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Worst Aircraft Ever Built  
User currently offlineCba From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 4534 posts, RR: 2
Posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 11579 times:

In your opinion, what is the worst aircraft ever built? I don't know if I can nominate one, but I have heard that DC-10-10's had major problems.

63 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineN312RC From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 2684 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 11327 times:

The MD-11.... Performance shortcomings lead the list for this aircraft. It put McDonalds Douglas right out of business.

User currently offlineQantas747-sp From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 11314 times:

The worst Aircraft ever built would probably have to be the Tupolev TU-144 "concordski". great to look at, shame about the performance

User currently offlineN863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 11291 times:

It's McDONNELL!!!! as in McDonnell Douglas. No they didn't change the name...   It was never McDonald Douglas. They don't tend to serve French Fries in the DAC building at Long Beach....

Personally, passenger wise I think the B-1900 wins, but, having had a couple of minutes watching someone fly around in the B1900D Sim here at ERAU, it sure looked like fun! I guess if I flew them I would love them! Other than that, I think all airliners are excellent. The only one I really didn't like was the EMB-110 Bandeirante, but even that was a dinky little airplane!


N 8 6 3 D A

User currently offlineScaredflyer21 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 355 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 11257 times:

I would have to say the beech1900c

User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 11233 times:

Just read a couple of people say they think the Beech 1900's are bad aircraft? Can I ask why? I have flown on them a couple of times. They are not particularly comfortable, perhaps a little better than most props as they can fly at higher altitude.

Never had a problem with them and like the way they take off quick.


User currently offlineIndianGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 11206 times:

Qantas 747-sp: The 'concordski' was not terribly bad in terms of performance. It could definitely stand up to the Concorde in all areas except interiors and pax comfort, in which all Russian airliners suffer.

The B1900s look ugly. And they rattle too much. The only turboprops i've flown are HS748's, Beech 1900D's and Dornier 228's. I personally thought the Beech was terrible.

User currently offlineMAC_Veteran From Taiwan, joined Jun 1999, 726 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 11190 times:

I've got to agree, the MD-11 was a real dog of a passenger carrying airplane and epitomized the term "patched product" or "patchware" (what we hear in terms of software these days) to airplanes. It's excelling as a cargo carrier now, but overall, in terms of money spent on its development and so forth..a real flop.

Lesson to the wise: Dont design airplane changes on paper napkin and show to big customer (who then cancels)..Watch company go t*ts up, resulting in merger with biggest competitor.


User currently offlineVirginA340 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 11161 times:

The MD-11 because it couldn't carry a full payload on the miles it was expected to fly according to what MD had claimed which in turn left a bad taste in Robert CrAAndle's mouth and him being very disappointed. In my opinion airlines were loosing money on a plane that couldn't carry the expected payload on thwe mile it was expected to fly on

DC-10s are really bad because they rushed through the production and didn't take their time like Boeings with the 747-100 and Lockheed with the L-1011. There is a phrase called "Take your time becaue you might make a mistake" Apparently Douglass didn't take their time and as a result their engineering marvel turned out to be and engineering disaster with the cargo door problems on March 3, 1974 killing all 346 people on a Turkish DC-10. The plane was loaded to capacity because of a strike at British Airways. Before the crash many airlines complained about the problem but the only thing that was given was a mere recomedation. A few years before; an AA DC-10 had experienced the same thing happened except this time the hydrolic lines to the tail were still intact. The pilot was able to make a safe landing with no casualties. The turkish crew wasn't so lucky because not only did the lines sever but the floor broke sucking out 6 passengers send them to a field (i think) seconds before the plane went down in the woods north of Paris. The plane would be great if the company didn't rush production and made a device called a stick shaker standard in the co-pilot's side instead of just the Captain's when a AA DC-10 crashed in Chicago in 1979. When the left engine broke off the Captain had lost power on his side including the stick shaker that would tell him that he is going to stall. The Co pilot still had power but no stick shaker since it was optional for the co-pilot side and AA didn't get one maybe to save money or felt it wasn't necesary. This could most likely save the 271 people on the plane and 2 on the ground and could as well give all 3 pilots a fighting chance in preventing the worst air disaster in the US on that date fateful day on Maay, 25, 1979.

User currently offlineL1011Ken From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 11145 times:

What about the de Havilland Comet? Anyone?

User currently offlineCaribb From Canada, joined Nov 1999, 1649 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 11131 times:

I'd say the Comet too... they kept disintegrating in midair.. not a good thing..

User currently offlinePacific From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 11129 times:

I can see what you mean by the comet. Although it pioneered jet travel, it could be the worst since the plane only lasts for a year due to excessive metal fatigue. That caused many crashes.


User currently offlineAgrodemm From Greece, joined Apr 2000, 402 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 11114 times:

Hello Everybody.

I am not (like most of us here) an aircraft engineer or an airline expert, or a pilot or crew member, but allow me to comment:

I often see that many people keep saying how they miss the Tristars or the B 727, and they hope that airlines will keep them flying.

On the other hand I see many people are saying how bad the DC-10 or the MD-11 etc is and that they would prefer a 777 instead.

"People kill their horses when they get old" and they tend to forget how these aircrafts served for yeras, and also under what circumstances they were produced.

I spare the valuable space in this site to comment on which aircraft is the worst ever built..........
What about Wright's Plane?
Terrible design, safety record and comfort level..... wasn't it????????????


User currently offlineCba From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 4534 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 11102 times:

I have seen a lot of negative comments about the MD-11 on this post. I think that it's unfortunate that the MD-11 didn't turn out as well as it was supposed to due to budget problems at MDC. It was supposed to compete head to head with the Boeing 777 and Airbus A340. It will serve as a great cargo aircraft for many years to come though. The same thing with the DC-10. A rushed design lead to a crappy aircraft, but because it was rushed, they beat the L1011, even though the tristart was the better aircraft. So, the conclusion? Never rush a design. It's what did MDC in.

User currently offlineVirginA340 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 11073 times:

Th Wall Street Journal did a story on the MD-11 last month and compared the aircraft to many others as having the most hull losses like the 707 and the DC-8; even more hull loses than the DC-10. Delta pilots had actually complained about the controls being too sensitive and that the management demanded that MD had a tecnician on every flight MD-11 flight on it's first few monts of serve. If a new plane that was unvailed in 1991 has comparingly more hull losses than the DC-10 and the older 737 combined than there is a serious problem here. Did anyone read that article on the MD-11 that came out in September. There were FEDEX pilots calling this plane the Death star and a few pilots were going to either quit or fly the DC-10 because they were commenting that on the first 100 feet of take off and landing were risky due to the controls being "too damn sensitive". This could've been the cause of that MD-11 crash at EWR in July of 1997 when a FEDEX MD-11 flipped over and burned while performing and emergencey landing. Luckly all 10 aboard survived. Can anyone tell me if they saw the article in the Wall Street Journal other than myself.

User currently offlineCV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 11067 times:

Hi. I think it's terribly unfair to say that the Comet was the worst aircraft ever built!!! For those of you that need further information regarding this aircraft remember the following:

The Comet was the FIRST jet aircraft that worked comercially during some years. It was years ahead of the rest of civil airliners, don't forget that when the Comet started the other companies where building still slow aircrafts, in 1952 you would see DC-6's, L1049's, Boeings 377 comming out of the production line so there's no possible comparative figures with the Comet. About the problems Comet had, don't forget that those problems helped the other aircraft companies ( like Douglas and Boeing ) to know exactly how to built a jet airliner and that's why you can fly now safely with jets. Finnally after that problem De Havilland builted the Comet 3 and Comet's 4/4B/4C and not one was w/o with the same cause as the first generation, so please don't be unfair and leave the Comet alone, the plane as a big space in civil aviation forever and those people killed where not in vain!

User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 16, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 11043 times:

What about the Dassault Breguet Mercure, a complete failure, at least in commercial terms.
Another airliner with bad sales figures is the VFW614, but this is because it was too good - when Fokker bought into VFW they killed the 614 because they didn´t want her to compete with Fokker´s own aircraft.

User currently offlineAirmale From Botswana, joined Sep 2004, 391 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 11039 times:

sad that the DC-10s rushed introduction into commercial service made the L-1011 lose out, didnt the airlines have sense enough to wait and see the Tristars.

.....up there with the best!
User currently offlineFanofjets From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2153 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 11003 times:

An entertaining, if not sobering book on the subject is "The World's Worst Aircraft" by Bill Yenne (ISBN 0-88029-490-6).

Because this is an airliners forum, I shall limit candidates to this type. As such, my vote will have to go to the Caproni Ca=60 Transaereo "Capronisimo." This aircraft consisted of a luxurious 70-foot (23-meter) houseboat mated to three sets of triplane wings which in 1921, with the help of eight Liberty V-12 engines, were to have carried the huge craft from the waters of Lake Maggiore to the harbor of New York City. Reaching an altitude of 60 feet (20 meters) on its maiden (and only) flight, the center set of wings buckled, sending the 23-ton plane back into the lake.

The Tu-144 definitely deserves honorable - or dishonorable - mention as a design rushed into production to show off technological prowess during the Cold War.

With some hesitation I include the Comet 1, but I agree with CV990 that the entire Comet design should not be counted among the worst aircraft. As for the Comet 1, it is fair to point out that all other airplane manufacturers learned from the pioneering jet's mistakes - the Comet 1, after all, broke new ground. If we include it in this category, it is only fair to also include it among the world's great aviation classics.

Finally, there is the Bristol Brabazon, luxurious and majestic, but severely underpowered, unreliable, and economical.

The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 10993 times:

Rather than add why the comet shouldn't be included in this list, I will add one of the other pioneering achievements the Comet was infamous for was "Air Safety Investigations".


Do you have any links to that MD-11 article? Or does anyone else have any links to it? It must be reproduced somewhere.


User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 10986 times:


I got the article from the WSJ just before. Looks like the MD-11 is going to go down as a bad aircraft. That article was very interesting.

No MD-11 flights for me. If they found so many problems you can be guaranteed they'll be some more that were left out.


User currently offlineN-156F From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 10974 times:

Fanofjets, I also have that book, and I must say that my favorite candidate for the worst a/c is the "Christmas Bullet". Hopefully you've read that one? Great story- cracks me up every time at how slick Dr. Christmas was, and how dumb everyone else was!
As far as the worst civilian airliner, if this were 20 years ago, I bet the forum would be ringing with cries of "Concorde!". Now, the Concorde has 25 years of service behind it with only one fatal crash. Incredibly impressive, considering that only 16 were built!
As far as what we'd call the worst of modern times? Probably the Dassault-Breguet Mercure, though the plane's faults weren't its own doing. A bit of crappy design work gave the plane more pax than the B737-200 it was put up against, but less range than the average lawnmower.
I'll also put the Comet 1 (but ONLY the 1!) up here, as it had serious problems from the start. Fortunately, the Comet 4 came out fixing the flaws. Unfortunately (for the Comet), so did the B707...

User currently offlineDustweek From Japan, joined Aug 1999, 77 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 10980 times:

The very worst plane was the first plane- the Wright Flyer flown at Kittihawk. They've been getting better ever since. The comet was the worst jet because it was the first jet.

User currently offlineFanofjets From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2153 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 10964 times:

Dear N156F,

I have to agree with you regarding the Christmas Bullet. The thought of someone designing a plane with wings so flimsy that they flapped like a bird's and that designer saying the plane was supposed to do that boggles the mind. I also like Yenne's description of the Convair Pogo, which owing to its vertical stance had excellent visibility for take off. But there was one problem: the pilot couldn't see the ground while attempting a landing. Oops!

As for the Comet, while the Comet 4 was by no means the best aircraft it certainly wasn't the worst. As for the Comet 1 (and yes, only the Comet 1), the jury is still out: the plane did have a deplorable safety record, but it was also the first of its kind, and lessons learned from that aircraft benefitted every other jetliner to come. Nevertheless, good or bad, I still maintain that both models of the Comet are aviation classics.

The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
User currently offlineFokplanes From Spain, joined Oct 2000, 70 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (15 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 10950 times:

I think the Bae 146 is one of the worst aircraft ever build. That's why US-air replaced all their BAE 146 aircraft by the wonderful Fokker 100 shortly after the 4 engine fuel wasting aircraft was introduced.

regards fokplanes

25 Gregg : fokplanes, I think Usairways aquired the BAe 146 from PSA and used them only in California (flights that both took on and landed in California). They
26 DL727-200adv : If you are referring to the worst commercial jet aircraft that were/are widely used you can put my vote for the DC-10/MD-11’s as the worst. The
27 C172sb : Saying that the BAE 146 and the B1900C or D model are bad aircraft is silly. These aircraft are capable of doing things other aircraft could never do.
28 Post contains images RIX : To say Comet 1 and Concorde were the worst is more than ridiculous. Let's compare apples to apples. Or, if we take a formal approach - of course, they
29 Surf : DC-10 DC-10 DC-10 DC-10 May that aircrafts memory be despised forever!!!!!!
30 Prebennorholm : It puzzles me that so many contributions on this thread can avoid mentioning the DC-7. This the last Douglas prop liner was plagued by so many shortco
31 Boeing747-700 : My opinion of my least liked aircraft would be the DC8 from Eastern Airlines. I flew that thing to Florida onece back in the 80's and man oh man was i
32 Trident : It depends on what criteria you are basing "worst" on. Some perfectly good aircraft failed to sell because of inadequate market research (eg, Vickers
33 Post contains links and images EyeSky : Trident, You make a very good point. As long you're at it, don't leave out the Martin 202. Five crashes in less than 2 years nearly put Northwest out
34 VC-10 : As has already been said "worst" depends on what critera is used. What I would do is dispute the Comet, VC10 & Trident going in the list. The Comet wa
35 Caravelle : This latest post I do like. Informed and intelligent. Worst aircraft built must be Wilbur and Orvil's. Last century fame, but hey they started the biz
36 Caravelle : This latest post I do like. Informed and intelligent. Worst aircraft built must be Wilbur and Orvil's. Last century fame, but hey they started the biz
37 Caravelle : An error of fingers. I hope you don't waste your time....
38 PhilB : Well said VC10. As to someone having a go at the DC7, I think you are talking about the DC7c, altogether a different animal. Basically, The DC7 and DC
39 VC-10 : PhilB You have reminded me of the story of the VC10's predecessor the Vickers V1000. The V1000 was, for it's time (1956), a highly advanced jet powere
40 Prebennorholm : PhilB: It was me mentioning the DC-7, and you are right, I should have been more specific, I meant the 7C - Seven Seas. And you are also right, it was
41 PhilB : VC10: Can you point me to any website detailing the V1000 pls?. I have a friend who wants to read about the project but I have tried the main search e
42 Sea_Tac2000 : what about the Dassault Mercure 100? Only Air Inter operatd it? any good?
43 Prebennorholm : Sea_Tac2000, The Mercure was late. The competitors - and they were many - had run away with the market when it appeared on the scene. Twelve planes bu
44 TEDSKI : I agree that the DC-10 was poorly designed and rushed into service causing many accidents like the Turkish Airlines crash outside Paris in 1974 becaus
45 Corey777 : aDC-10crashed atSUX. That says it all.... Corey777
46 Post contains images RIX : I'm not quite sure Trident and VC-10 were not such a success because all resources were put into Concorde. Both Trident and VC-10 were designed to mat
47 DC10 : For me, it's the Il 86: short range and very noisy. DC10 had bad luck, but it's true that's it's not a very good aircraft (but he looks great!); L-101
48 RIX : Il86? Are you kidding?! One of a very few airliners that never crashed!! To oppose it to DC10?!!
49 Ilyushin96M : This is a hard one to respond to, because "worst aircraft" has different meanings for everyone. For me, the DC-10 is the worst. I've never flown in on
50 Trident : I didn't include the VC-10 on my list> The Trident I did include because of its poor operating economics, even by the standards of its conteporaries.
51 CNS : Yes, it is the DC 10!!
52 Prebennorholm : Trident, Sorry for indicating that you put the VC-10 on your list - my fault. Sorry. And I think that everything which you write in your latest post i
53 NorthStarDC4M : ok fine... the worst airliner of the wortld award winners are: B1900 Metro for Comfort Mercure Trident for economics 707 for safety 737 DC-10 for repu
54 VC-10 : I would have agree with 'Trident' on the fact that UK manufactures would been unable to cope with large orders. The proof of this is in that after fly
55 MD-90 : I believe that the MD-11 has an automatic glideslope function in it's autopilot. Or something like that. Then, 100 ft. from the ground, it quits, and
56 CV990A : I happen to LIKE the DC-10- the worst was probably the TU-104. Those were falling out of the sky in the 50s/60s almost as fast as Tupelov could crank
57 Ilyushin96M : How many TU104 crashes were there, as opposed to DC-10 crashes? Seeing that post made me curious. The TU104, like the DHC-106 Comet, Boeing 707 and Do
58 Boeing1071 : Definatley TU-104. Said to be no comparison to any jet much less propeller.
59 747-451 : Not the Comet It was the first "commercially sucessful" aircraft, (unlike the TU104 which was used exclusively in the East Bloc) and sold pretty well.
60 VC-10 : Just a couple of small points. BOAC had nothing to do with the Trident, BEA should take all the credit. The engine that the DH121 was to have was the
61 Trident : A few corrections on 747-451's Trident comments. The Tridents withdrawn at the end of 1985 were all Trident 3B's - most of which had entered service i
62 Post contains images 747-451 : Thanks for the clarifications..... -451
63 VC-10 : As a widebody the BAC 3-11 can hardly be said to be a 727/757 killer. It was a competitor of the A300 series. It was cancelled because the Conservativ
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