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Why 3 Person Cockpit On The DC-10?  
User currently offlineWarreng24 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 707 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10230 times:

Why was the DC-10 designed and certified to require a 3 person cockpit?

The DC-9 was developed about 5 years earlier and it had a 2 person cockpit.

Mods: Not sure if this should have been posted to Tech/Ops. Please move if appropriate. Sorry.

54 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10158 times:

Quoting Warreng24 (Thread starter):
Why was the DC-10 designed and certified to require a 3 person cockpit?

The DC-9 was developed about 5 years earlier and it had a 2 person cockpit.

Because the DC-10 is three times larger then the DC-9 and has three times as many systems.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4058 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10170 times:

The third person was a flight engineer. Around 1990-91 the MD-11 was introduced and also the MD-10 modification, both of which did away with the 3-person crew. Once advanced avionics came in, a third person wasn't needed to watch all the gauges etc.

User currently offlineTrijetsRMissed From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2356 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10171 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 1):
Why was the DC-10 designed and certified to require a 3 person cockpit?

The DC-9 was developed about 5 years earlier and it had a 2 person cockpit.

Because the DC-10 is three times larger then the DC-9 and has three times as many systems.

Also 3 person cockpits were not uncommon when the DC-10 was designed. The L-1011, 727, 747, and 737 all had 3 man crews at one time.



There's nothing quite like a tri-jet.
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 10111 times:

Quoting TrijetsRMissed (Reply 3):
and 737 all had 3 man crews at one time.

We have gone around and around on this one. The B737 never had a F/E. For one thing where would you put him..?? On the Co-Pilots lap..?? in the forward lav..??



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineCharlienorth From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1122 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 10084 times:

My quote function is tango-uniform...but some carriers actually did operate the 737 with a 3rd man,he sat in the fold down jumpseat,at UAL they were nickmaned "social director',the major carriers (UAL and WAL)flew withe this arrangement,the local service companies (PI and Frontier) operated with a crew of two up front...believe it was eliminated in the late 70's or very early 80's

User currently offlineTrijetsRMissed From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2356 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 10072 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 4):
Quoting TrijetsRMissed (Reply 3):
and 737 all had 3 man crews at one time.

We have gone around and around on this one. The B737 never had a F/E. For one thing where would you put him..?? On the Co-Pilots lap..?? in the forward lav..??

It was designed with a 3 man crew for 737-100. Just because it has long been changed does not mean it never happened.



There's nothing quite like a tri-jet.
User currently offlineVEEREF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 10063 times:

IIRC wasn't it Ansett that operated 767's that were built with F/E stations to meet local pilot union criteria?

User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 10045 times:

United did as well, at first.

N


User currently offlineMav75 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 228 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 9999 times:

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 7):
IIRC wasn't it Ansett that operated 767's that were built with F/E stations to meet local pilot union criteria?

Either them or QANTAS.

As for the original question, I think it's a good one. All widebodies of the era had the 3 man cockpit. My guess on the reason is that there was not enough automation for the size and complexity of these aircraft to eliminate the need for the F/E.

Do any DC-10 fans have a more accurate or official explanation for the 3 man configuration?


User currently offlineLucky42 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9942 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 4):
We have gone around and around on this one. The B737 never had a F/E.

Obviously you haven't gone around enough. Charlienorth is absolutely right on I know someone who was hired on at UAL as a 737 FE only for a short time before going to the DC-8.


User currently offlineCharlienorth From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1122 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9926 times:

I've heard it was a big reason for the DC9 sale to North Central,they didn't want the possibility of being forced to fly with the 3rd crew member.

User currently offlineHmmmm... From Canada, joined May 1999, 2104 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 9839 times:

With the introduction of EICAS, the FE positition was deemed safe to eliminate. The advent of the glass cockpit meant that the pilots could see all the instruments, albeit on screens that need to be called up, that the FE could see at his own station on dedicated analogue instruments.

One could argue that it is better to have three men in the cockpit, but when it became feasible to get rid of the third man, and his salary and benefits, the airlines jumped at the chance with the new technology.

There was a time when some airliners had dedicated navigators, some even had a man just for the radio.



An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
User currently offlineLucky42 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 9799 times:

Quoting Hmmmm... (Reply 12):
There was a time when some airliners had dedicated navigators, some even had a man just for the radio.

You still see this in some Russian airliners...Although Aeroflot is going more western in their airliners.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26501 posts, RR: 75
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9718 times:

Quoting TrijetsRMissed (Reply 3):
Also 3 person cockpits were not uncommon when the DC-10 was designed. The L-1011, 727, 747, and 737 all had 3 man crews at one time.

The only reason the 737 had a 3 person crew is because United's unions demanded it.

Quoting Charlienorth (Reply 5):
My quote function is tango-uniform...but some carriers actually did operate the 737 with a 3rd man,he sat in the fold down jumpseat,at UAL they were nickmaned "social director',the major carriers (UAL and WAL)flew withe this arrangement,the local service companies (PI and Frontier) operated with a crew of two up front...believe it was eliminated in the late 70's or very early 80's

United eliminated their third person way before that, a few years after the introduction of the aircraft and the negotiation of a better contract.

Quoting TrijetsRMissed (Reply 6):
It was designed with a 3 man crew for 737-100. Just because it has long been changed does not mean it never happened.

You are completely wrong. The 737-100 was designed for a 2 person flight deck. AFAIK, no 737-100 ever flew with more than 2 people at the front. Some of the earlier -200 models flew that way, particularly at United, because of their union contract.

Quoting Mav75 (Reply 9):
Quoting VEEREF (Reply 7):
IIRC wasn't it Ansett that operated 767's that were built with F/E stations to meet local pilot union criteria?

Either them or QANTAS.

Ansett, and there was absolutely no need for it.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineLaxintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25435 posts, RR: 49
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 9670 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 4):
The B737 never had a F/E.

Air France operated 737-200s for a brief period in the early 80s with the FE position. Again this was a union staffing requirement.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineSkyexramper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 9503 times:

Quoting Warreng24 (Thread starter):
Why was the DC-10 designed and certified to require a 3 person cockpit?

Cause it's a little too hard for the captain to hit the switches and monitor fuel flows that are 6' behind him. Big grin


User currently offlineVEEREF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 9470 times:

Quoting Mav75 (Reply 9):
All widebodies of the era had the 3 man cockpit. My guess on the reason is that there was not enough automation for the size and complexity of these aircraft to eliminate the need for the F/E.

Basically sums it up.
As a crewmember on the DC-10, I can also certainly vouch for the added benefit of a third brain and set of eyeballs up front as well.


User currently offlineZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5568 posts, RR: 36
Reply 18, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 9455 times:

In these days all long-haul aircrafts had three man cockpits, like the L 1011 or the 747.

User currently offlineHigherflyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 131 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 9253 times:

Quoting Warreng24 (Thread starter):
Why was the DC-10 designed and certified to require a 3 person cockpit?

The DC-9 was developed about 5 years earlier and it had a 2 person cockpit

IIRC, the FAA had an aircraft weight limit for certifying 2 man vs. 3 man flightdecks. The 737 and the DC-9 were below the limits.


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 20, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 9229 times:

Quoting Lucky42 (Reply 10):
I know someone who was hired on at UAL as a 737 FE only for a short time before going to the DC-8.

Where did he sit...? In the forward lav...?? On the lap of the Co-Pilot...? There is no FE station in the 737 or any place other then the jumpseat to sit. There is no panel to work or tasks for an FE to perform.

[Edited 2006-11-20 17:53:36]


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineCharlienorth From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1122 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 9209 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 20):
Where did he sit...? In the forward lav...?? There is no FE station in the 737 or any place other then the jumpseat to sit. There is no panel to work or tasks for an FE to perform.

Like I said in a previous post he sat in the fold-down jumpseat,it would be aft of the pedestal and between the pilots,it was strictly a feather-bedding job,he would read checklists operate switches and probably fetch food and pass coffee to the other two.


User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6836 posts, RR: 7
Reply 22, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 9164 times:

Quoting Higherflyer (Reply 19):
IIRC, the FAA had an aircraft weight limit for certifying 2 man vs. 3 man flightdecks.

80000 lb MTOW as I recall-- so when they were designing the DC-9 they initially planned to keep it below that limit.

Dunno when they increased that.

Didn't UA's 737s have a FE panel, along with the FE?


User currently offlineCharlienorth From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1122 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 9128 times:

Quoting Timz (Reply 22):
Didn't UA's 737s have a FE panel, along with the FE?

No he just sat in the directors chair...in the early 60's during the cockpit representation fight acouple airlines (TWA and AA,I think)flew with 4 up front,Capt,First Officer,Second officer,allALPA and an FE (FEIA) on the 707's.


User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5166 posts, RR: 22
Reply 24, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 9064 times:

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 17):
As a crewmember on the DC-10, I can also certainly vouch for the added benefit of a third brain and set of eyeballs up front as well.

That was certainly the argument for a long time about 3-person cockpits in any event, just as it was for a "fireman" in locomotive engines long after there was no coal "fire" into which he was supposed to shovel fuel.

While this makes sense intuitively (the "extra set of eyeballs to be scanning the skies"), it also creates a different CRM environment. Most ironically, some of the better-known accidents involving CRM actually occurred with more-than-the-usual-compliment of pilots in the cockpit. In Eastern 401, the L1011 that flew into the swamp while everyone screwed with a burned-out lightbulb in the gear lights, there were actually FOUR guys in the cockpit, the three mandated and an Eastern pilot jumpseater. In the Midwest Express accident in which IIRC the crew somehow didn't realize that they'd blown an engine on takeoff and thus didn't apply the proper procedures to correct for it, they had three guys in the cockpit, including a senior Midwest guy in the jumpseat. The absolutely-pathetic-and-tragic ATI accident where they repeatedly botched a 3-engine takeoff when ferrying a DC8 before, on the umpteenth try, they managed to lose control and kill themselves, was a 3-person crew. There were -- what -- four guys in the cockpit of that showboat B-52 that crashed so dramatically in rehearsal for an airshow, including officers at least equal in rank to the pilot? Sometimes, it seems, the CRM environment in which multiple people seem to agree that something is okay tends to drown out that third person's voice of reason...

I don't doubt that in high-workload sections of flight, having a 3-man crew is extremely helpful, but I think it turns out that it doesn't necessarily make anything "safer".


25 Mav75 : It's not always all bad either. A classic example of this is UAL 232 (which, ironically for this thread, happened to be a DC-10) which benefitted fro
26 Lincoln : Damn, beat me to it. Wasn't there a total of four people working on that one as a team-- Cpt. Haynes, the FO, the flight engineer, and the flight ins
27 LHRspotter : The flight instructor D. Fitch was actually deadheading on that flight and was sitting in the cabin. When the plane started experiencing difficulties
28 Jetdeltamsy : Uh....no. 727's also carried flight engineers. The aircraft was designed at a time when the available technology made a third human in the cockpit a
29 C133 : The DC-3 and DC-4 had two crew cockpits. When pressurization was added to the DC-6 the FAA, in their infinite wisdom, ruled that the aded complexity w
30 Meister808 : Why a 3 person cockpit on the DC-10? So the third guy can manage the throttles when the #2 engine explodes, of course... -Meister (yeah yeah, you all
31 N1120A : The 767 was designed with the exact same cockpit as the 757 and they hold the same type rating. It was designed from the start to have 2 crew
32 Timz : You mean, it was designed from the start to be capable of using 2 crew, right? But three crew was planned as an option? It wasn't until 1982 (?) that
33 FLY2HMO : Depends how you look at it. Still the really early 767s had a simple FE panel, and a seat for the FE, IIRC. But it was so basic they figured they cou
34 Post contains links and images Cedarjet : The 767 was always built as a two-man cockpit. The flight engineer's station for the Ansett -200s was added afterwards, as a customer option. I flew i
35 Post contains links and images SNfreak : Here's a pic And it's an AA plane View Large View Medium Photo © Daniel Werner[Edited 2006-11-21 01:25:14]
36 Post contains links and images LorM : Negative. Boeing offered buyers the choice of either a two or three crew environment. Ansett was one of the first to buy the 762 in March 1980 with a
37 474218 : Unless I am mistaken the A300 (prior to the -600 version) also required a 3 man flight crew.
38 EMBQA : ....and the 727 has three engines and is more complex system wise.
39 Levg79 : Actually, in the 1990s when airlines of the former Soviet Union started operating 767s, they had a 3-man crew. As I recall speaking to one of former
40 Jetstar : IIRC the FAA regulations at the time required a flight engineer on all 2 engine airplanes that weighed over 80,000 pounds and all 3 or more engine air
41 Lincoln : In a similar vein, on aircraft that still require flight engineers, are there still crewmembers who are "just" flight engineers? I seem to remember he
42 Wjcandee : CRM (or the need for defining and teaching a set of principles like it) were first suggested by the NTSB in the human factors section of a report on
43 N1120A : It was designed from the start to be a 2 crew aircraft. The three crew option was to get around requirements of the various unions. They didn't need
44 TrijetsRMissed : Generally While your are right that CRM classes surely cite this as a positive example of having CRM, it was being taught by several airlines before t
45 VC10 : although very few in number now I think you will find that in the UK at least all F/E are straight F/Es. In fact this was the case with British Airway
46 Jetstar : There is no such thing as a non-professional Flight Engineer, if the certification requires an FE, then that person must be in possession of a FE rat
47 Post contains links C133 : From the Boeing web site at this URL: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/767family/pf/pf_fltdeck.html An excerpt: "The crew-size debate reached its peak
48 C133 : Sorry, this isn't true. At American Airlines, at least, the professional FEs never had pilot qualifications or licenses. Can't speak for other carrie
49 474218 : Back when Douglas DC-6's, DC-7's and Lockheed Constellation's were the way to travel, they had flight deck crews of 4 and five. Pilot, Co-Pilot, Fligh
50 Jetstar : Knowing AA and the APA attitude towards AA, I would not be surprised that they forced the company to put a third pilot in addition to the FE on board
51 BrowntailWhale : In a follow on to FedEx's MD-10 program, UPS has started developing an MD-8 program to make the DC-8 two crew and automate most systems on the aircraf
52 VC10 : The way I seem to remember the debate [ but it was a long time ago] that when the jets came on the scene ALPA lobbied that the straight F/E should be
53 C133 : Can't remember the exact origin of the issue, but when the jets came along, the airlines decided it would be better for future new hire pilots to star
54 Charlienorth : In the early 60's when the FE staffing decision was made,quite a few of the A&P engineers at NWA got their pilot ratings and joined the pilot seniorit
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