I think the DC10 is a fantastic aircraft - when I was younger, it was always my hope that one day I would have a career as Cabin crew; a friend of my mothers was a stewardess at Dan Air for many years, and it was her fascinating tales about flying (on the Comet 4,727,BAC1-11 etc) that made me realise that was the job I wanted. When I began flying 10 years ago on the DC9-83 (at the tender age of 19) I hoped that one day I would get the chance to work on DC10's (or TriStars). As the years went by, it looked more and more unlikely - until we acquired a DC10-30! By this time I was a No1 (Purser), and as we obtained a 747-200 at the same time, there were very few of that volunteered to transfer to the DC10. I jumped at the chance, and have never regretted it. Having never even flown on one as a passenger, I vividly recall our aircraft 'familiarisation' visit during our training course. The aircraft was in the hangar having an overhaul, and my initial impression was of it's size (even though I flew 767's) and onboard the feeling of space - in the cabin, the galleys, toilets and Flight deck. As the aircraft had flown for a number of companies (Originally Singapore, but also Wardair, Minerve,AOM,Air Martinique,Air Guadalupe,Dominicana and TAESA), each had added their own little quirks to it, the most unique feature being the 'wallpaper' in shades of green and gold featuring the most bizarre combination of Autumnal leaves, Fishing boats, Horse & Carts, Totem poles, Polar Bears who were holding mirrors and looking at their reflection! Sadly, when this aircraft went in for a 'C' check 2 months ago, the airline decided to replace the artwork with standard airline off-white, despite many protests from the crew!
4 years after our first DC10 came, we now have a fleet of 4:the DC10-30 as well as three operational DC10-10's, two more DC10-10's that are leased out long term overseas and sadly our 'non flying' DC10-10 which is stored at BOH, UK and is slowly being scrapped for spares. However, the fleet has a good future ahead of it; they are going to fly for us for atleast another 5 years, and most have just had, or are about to have, major overhauls. A large number of additional cabin crew have just been trained for the fleet, and more pilots have just joined us(many of our Captains are ex-BA who were in the process of retiring their DC10's as we acquired more, others have chosen to transfer from our own 757/767 fleet)as well as additional Flight Engineers - not too easy to find these days!
If you asked any of the crew that fly on the DC10, they will all tell you it's their favourite aircraft (even when attempting to serve drinks/wine, a hot meal with tea & coffee and Duty Free goods to 379 passengers on a 1 hour 45 minute flight!). In all my many flights (touch wood!) I have never have a major safety incident(unlike the other types I've worked on) and I feel much safer crossing the Atlantic with 3 engines. Having a Flight Engineer onboard is a god send! I think that we are the only passenger airline in Northern Europe to fly the DC10-10, and certainly the only UK passenger airline to operate any DC10's. I feel very lucky to have the chance to work on such a classic aircraft when the vast majority of airlines of pensioning off their tri-jets!