RayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8090 posts, RR: 4 Posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2970 times:
Here's an interesting what if scenario, though it might sound a bit in bad taste.
What would have happened if the FAA permanently grounded the DC-10 after the AA 191 crash in 1979 that killed 265 persons?
Besides the fact it would have probably led to the earlier demise of McDonnell-Douglas' commercial airplane production, I think this would happene given the airplane production situation at the time:
1. There would have been considerable interest in replacing the grounded DC-10's with Lockheed L1011's, though it would have been held back by the RB.211 engine exclusivity of the plane. Lockheed might have been persuaded to build an modified L1011 that would have been powered by a modified GE CF6-50 engine with a different front fan so engine installation changes from the Rolls-Royce installation would be minimized.
2. Boeing would been swamped with orders for both the 767-200 and 767-300 models much earlier.
3. Airbus would have suddenly gotten serious interest from AA and UA to buy A300B4's to replace the DC-10. There would have been accelerated interest in building the A300B4-600 model since the US-based airlines would want the plane.
Mcdougald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2849 times:
If the FAA had permanently grounded the DC-10, they would have faced a barrage of legal action from the airlines, having spent so much money on suddenly worthless airplanes that the FAA had earlier certified as airworthy.
Ammunition From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 1065 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2811 times:
what if the Wright brothers never flew the first plane??
what if the jet engine was never produced?
what is widebodies were never introduced?
what if transatlantic was never flown?
what has happened has happened, speculation can last forever.
Saint Augustine- 'The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only 1 page'
IMissPiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6372 posts, RR: 32
Reply 5, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2798 times:
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It leads you to believe that something unrealistic could hapen. To the best of my knowledge, no airplane type has ever been permanently grounded by the FAA.
But. The L10 was already dead and the 767 was still a few years in the future. The A300 might have enjoyed a few more leases as interim aircraft. I suspect though that the biggest benificiary at the time would have been the 747-200. Just an opinion though.
RayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8090 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2732 times:
I personally think that the DC-10 was probably the closest that the FAA came to issuing a permanent revocation of certification, especially given the problems earlier with the cargo doors and then the engine plyon problem that lead to the crash of AA 191.
The ramifications of such an act would have been ugly, to say the least. It would have forced AA and UA, the two biggest DC-10 users in the USA at the time, to scramble like mad to make up for lost capacity, especially on the longer domestic routes the plane was being used at the time. Lawsuits would have been filed by almost everyone involved in the airline industry, to say the least.
Yet, I personally think it would have temporarily benefited Lockheed, since both AA and UA needed planes that could fly US West Coast to Hawaii--and given ETOPS didn't really happen until the late 1980's, AA and UA would needed the the L1011 to cover the route to Hawaii, especially since both AA and UA had few (if any) 747's in service in 1979. Back then, the 747-200 would have been overkill for AA and UA, which back then didn't exactly have a large international network.
Given that the 767 program was already launched in 1979, I also would have guessed that both AA and UA would have substantially increased their 767 orders to make up for the lost capacity, too.
American 767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4166 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2690 times:
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I think that the MD-11 would have never existed. Because, remember, the MD-11 was launched in the late 80's as the successor to the DC-10. Fed Ex, the largest MD-11 operator today, would have probably ordered a lot of 767-300F's. And maybe American would have ordered a few 747-400's in the late 80's to replace the old SP's on transpacific routes, at that time the 777 wasn't available yet, neither was the A340.
Milesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2030 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2668 times:
The FAA was never close to permanently grounding the DC-10. The only place that this aircraft is permanently maligned is on this board. The cargo door had a problem, there was a fix before there were fatalities, after the initial incident over Windsor, ON on the American aircraft. The Paris Turkish Air accident should never have happened. That aircraft should have been repaired before the crash, and there was a directive on how to check the rear cargo door that the airline evidently ignored.
The ORD crash, which I witnessed while on final approach in an MVA Beech 99, was caused by American's poor maintanence procedures. By removing the engines using a fork lift, American weakened the pylon structure. Had they followed McDD's suggested maintanence procedures, that crash wouldn't have taken place. The pressure to ground the DC-10 was from a bunch of political hacks in Congress that didn't have Bill Clinton's sex capades to rail against so they decided to be like that woman, Mary Sciavo, and fashion themselves as aviation experts.
In 1965 - 1966 there were four 727 crashes that happened in rapid succession, all on approach in clear or fairly good weather. At the time there were calls to ground that airplane too. The real problem was inexperienced crews that were transitioning from Piston and Turbo props to Jets and let the airplane get ahead of them, or tried to fly them like a DC-6 and found out that the aircraft, while fighter like, could be unforgiving, especially with a 40 degree flap setting.
The last DC-10 incident, UA 232 at SUX, took place in 1989, some 18 years after the first DC-10-10's went into service. A freak in flight hi bypass engine total failure caused all three hydraulic systems to fail. Many write that if it had been an L-1011, with four systems, the aircraft could have landed safely. Its also possible that a similar engine failure in an L-1011 could have blown the entire rear bulkhead off of the aircraft, or had the Ten had four systems, such a catastrophe could have resulted in the failure of four systems.
The DC-10 flew profitably, and successfully for 30 years. Had the economy not slowed, and the Arabs not hijacked four airplanes crashed them them in a such dramatic way, its quite possible that NW and CO might have flown the Ten for many years to come. There were two hull losses resulting from the failure of a mechanical part, or mechanism. Not bad for 30 years. It also should be pointed out that the DC-10-30 and 40 never experienced any of these problems.
The Ten was good airplane, but an airline can fly an aircraft with two engines cheaper than one with three. The real demise of the DC-10/MD-11 and in some respects, the L-1011, was ETOPS. Once an airline could use a twin Trans Atlantic and later Trans Pacific, the third and fourth engines became redundant. The 747 will eventually suffer the same fate, or will only be used on limited routes.
During the period of 1945 to 1958, the industry bought new aircraft because of innovations in speed, range, and comfort. The 707 and DC-8's, introduced in 1958/59 are gone today, not because the newer aircraft have more range or more comfort or more speed, they are slower in fact, but because they use less fuel, and take one less crew member. It's economics, not marketing. What is the difference to the passenger between a 757-200 and a 707-320C, very little except the lack of two engines on each wing, and the three inches less legroom, a problem, that American Airlines understands and has remedied.
RayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8090 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2647 times:
Ben, in my what-if scenario it would have been more likely that both AA and UA would have strongly requested that Lockheed work with General Electric to build a smaller-fan variant of the CF6-50 that could be installed on the L1011 with minimal structural modifications. Remember, in 1979-1980 time frame the very idea of twin-engine ETOPS was still several years away, and both airlines would needed widebody jets to serve the US West Coast to Hawaii routes, something the DC-10 by 1979 was heavily involved with both airlines. UA would probably have fared better in this regard since they had the DC-8 Super Sixty fleet that could have been reassigned for these flights until appropriate replacements were available. Given that AA did buy the A300B4-600R by the late 1980's, in my alternate scenario there would have been a strong possibility that AA would have bought the A340-300 so they could fly to NRT from DFW and ORD.
Milesrich, the early 727 crashes was caused by the fact pilots didn't try to fly the 727 by the book and often ran into a nasty aerodynamic situation called a deep stall, where the horizontal stabilizer on a T-tail plane loses its effectiveness and the plane violently stalls out in a frequently unrecoverable manner. The British discovered this during the testing of the BAC 1-11, which resulted in the loss of the first prototype. Besides forcing pilots to fly by the book, Boeing incorporated (at the suggestion of the British Civil Aviation Authority) on the control stick a feeback "feel" to warn the pilot of the plane approaching a situation that could result in that deep stall condition.