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L10-11, DC10 & MD11 Better Than 747's

Wed Apr 10, 2002 12:28 am

The 747 has been with us for a very long time, infact it's been in production for just over 30 years now.

The L10-11 was in production for under 15 years and the DC10 for about 15 years with a very bad safety history.
Of the 2 jumbo tri-jets, a better and improved jumbo came to our lives in the 90's, the MD-11. The only other modern commercial jumbo apart from the 747. I belive its life was just under 10 years, and this was because Boeing decided to cancel it.

Now then. When I look at the figers, I find out that over 800 tri-jets of L10-11, DC10 and MD-11's have been built. Of the 3 type of aircraft, there haven't been more than 15 variants altogether. However, there have been 15 variants of the 747 and with 2 extra years in production they have only managed to produce a couple of a hundred extra 747's only.

This makes me think, what if Lockheed produced a better L10-11 and what if the DC10 never had that bad safety record and what if the MD-11 was continued?

What if ?

Waiting for your comments.
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RE: L10-11, DC10 & MD11 Better Than 747's

Wed Apr 10, 2002 3:45 am

Actually, I believe that you are pointing the wrong direction on replacement aircraft.

The aircraft that ultimately killed off the trijets were the 767, A330, and 777 (with some help from the A300).

Trijets were always a compromise aircraft. From the beginning, airlines wanted the twinjet for better economy and lower maintenance, but the engines required for twinjets to be practical didn't exist in the late 1960s and very early 1970s. Coupled with the late 1960s boom in demand for lift, the trijets did very well.

Once you had those big engines, the trijets got pushed into a narrow enough niche that *ongoing* production became very difficult. The existing airframes carried enough lift that by the time they needed replacement, there were more efficient twinjets to take their place.

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RE: L10-11, DC10 & MD11 Better Than 747's

Wed Apr 10, 2002 4:05 am

Actually the DC10 was in Production for 18 years 1971-1989. Yes the twins replaced them on alot of rte's including some 747's mainly A330's and 777's to a smaller extent later versions of the A300. The 767 replaced them on some rtes albeit with a lose in capacity but gain in effiency!
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RE: L10-11, DC10 & MD11 Better Than 747's

Wed Apr 10, 2002 7:19 am

The idea that the DC-10 had a very bad safety record is somewhat of a misconception. The DC-10 did suffer from a number of high profile accidents, "high profile" being the key word here. Although the DC-10 did get its unequal share of blame for the AA crash in ORD, ONLY the cargo door latch mechanism emerged as a real design flaw that was safety related- this caused the crash of the THY DC-10 in 1974. When you look at the entire fleet of DC-10s (446 produced), the hull write-off rate is consistant with that of the 747 and only recently have DC-10s been retired in large numbers, before about a year ago the percentage of the 747 fleet that had been retired was about double that of the DC-10. For many years the DC-10 was neck and neck with the 747 in sales until the mid 80s when the 747's continued development (-300, -400) pushed it ahead in technology, thus sales.

The L1011 is widely regarded as the safest and most technologicaly advanced aircraft of its time. Its safety record was better than the 747 or DC-10 and it incorporated many fautures that were not found in the competing products for years. The L1011 suffered from both the lack of further development and the lack of a commercial airplane line from Lockheed aside from the TriStar. As much as operators liked the plane (and they did), they knew that the TriStar was their only choice from Lockheed, thus fleet comonality with one manufacturer was not possible. The TriStar, despite being a standout preformer is now dissappearing fast as the 250 fleet is down to only about 75 flying aircraft.

The issue with available engine power as noted in the post above certainly did not come into play until well into the late 80s. The large diameter turbofans developed for the 777, A330 and 747-400 were not around in the 70s or early 80s and the trijet was still a logical niche through the 80s. The largest engines available were the JT9D, CF6 and RB211 all of the which the DC-10 and L1011 used. It was not till the MD-11 that the larger engines became an issue. The MD-11 was truely the pinnacle of trijet technology and when compared to the 777, 767 or A330 has advantages and disadvantages. The MD-11 can carry more cargo than any other freighter aside from the 747. It also has a very large belly capacity for cargo, larger than any other widebody. When you compare cargo lift, the MD-11 to the 747-200F can move the same amount of cargo for about 30% less cost in fuel and crew. The MD-11 still represents the most efficient, longest range freighter available and turns out to be perfectly suited to freighter duties, ye Boeing still shelved the project in favor of................leaving the segment empty.
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RE: L10-11, DC10 & MD11 Better Than 747's

Wed Apr 10, 2002 8:02 am

"Better" - what is your definition, Konstantinos?

Each plane has its place in Jet Aviation History. The 747 and 1011/DC10 opened market segments themselves - and succeeded, by most accounts. (The same can be said for the A300 and the 767, too)

For years, when the issue was range and seat mile costs, the 747 was the winner, hands-down. But for many other airlines the 747 was too big/too expensive and all they wanted was a regional-to midrange 300 seater. Others just wanted both - different route needs. Quite a few airlines ordered the 747 as a matter of ill-conceived 'national' pride or just because of its range reach despite being bigger than what the route would justify.

One cannot and should judge which is "better" among planes so different -which you collectively call "jumbos" - by judging hull #s alone, and with so many ifs. "If" this with the safety record - "If" that with production years...

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RE: L10-11, DC10 & MD11 Better Than 747's

Wed Apr 10, 2002 8:04 am

Good write up Woodsboy, one question what do you mean Large Diameter turbofan for the A330 and 747-400 or do you mean power/thrust? Their (330,744) diameters are comparable to diameters of the Turbo fans produced in the 70's and 80's for the DC10/L10 and 747. The 777 is the only one that has a large diameter engine that is noticeable larger than the older engines.
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RE: L10-11, DC10 & MD11 Better Than 747's

Wed Apr 10, 2002 10:16 pm

Very well put there Woodsboy.

I'd also like to thank OA340 for his very good and kind comments.

As for the rest of the comments, if I didn't make myself clear then here it is,

I was not talking about replacement aircraft. My topic was about long range intercontinental Jumbo's. Ow, and by the way, they even used to call the DC8 a jumbo. And yes the MD-11 is a jumbo very much so, infact it comes second after the 747.
If we look at the 70's, the long range jumbo's would have been the 747, DC10 & L10-11 then came the 707, DC8 & VC10. However, in the late 70's - 80's along came the A300 and 767 as well as the 757, A310, A330, 777. They are not the same though to the 747, DC10, L10-11, MD11, A340.

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