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United DC-10 Operations In Denver

Fri Sep 19, 2003 7:27 am

Hi everyone,
United has for nearly three decades operated the Mc Donnel Douglas DC-10 aircraft, mostly 10 series aircraft on high density domestic flights as well as a few 30 series aircraft...but most of the DC-10 fleet at United consisted of DC-10-10's. United has a hub in Denver CO so I was wondering why they never ordered the DC-10-15 aircraft for "hot and high" operations in Denver, the mile-high city, but then I figured...oh yes that's right when United ordered the DC-10 back when McDD was launching the type, they didn't have a hub then in Denver. They had a hub in Cleveland OH. It was when they closed the Cleveland hub that they settled in Denver. Do you think, at the time the DC-10 was brand new thirty years ago, if United had a hub in Denver they would have chosen the DC-10-15? Maybe yes.
I'm wondering now why Continental never chose the DC-10-15, maybe they didn't need a high-capacity airplane for the network they had out of their Denver hub then.

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Photo © Christopher Smay

United DC-10-10 at the gate in Denver CO, operated on domestic flights within the United States.

For those who don't know what the DC-10-15 is: it's an uprated DC-10-10. It's a variant with the exact same weights and fuel capacity than the -10, but equiped with uprated GE engines. The DC-10-10, operated in large numbers for years by both American and United, had GE-CF6-6 engines. The DC-10-15, operated by Aero Mexico, had GE-CF6-50 engines which are equiped on the DC-10-30. Maybe summer in Denver is not as hot as it is down in Mexico City but if United had the DC-10-15, they would have had less weight restrictions on those than they had on the DC-10-10.

Ben Soriano
Brussels Belgium
Ben Soriano
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RE: United DC-10 Operations In Denver

Fri Sep 19, 2003 7:35 am

The DC-10-15 was a pretty rare airplane built for a special case and wasn't too popular in the end. Denver, although "hot and high," isn't always the hottest and is lower than some other major airports. None of the flights on DC-10s out of Denver on United that I knew of streched the aircraft's range or cargo capabilities either. Due to this, I'd assume that the DC-10-10 (like for most operators) was a good enough airplane for the job without having to upgrade to the -15.
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RE: United DC-10 Operations In Denver

Fri Sep 19, 2003 11:28 am

United has had a Hub in Denver since the 1940's, the introduction of the pressurized DC-6, and United's purchase of Western's DEN-GJT-LAS-LAX route in 1947. Prior to that many flights west stopped in Cheyenne, or flew the South Pass route west because the Continental Divide in Wyoming is only about 7000 feet in elevation, compared to the 11,000 feet west of Denver.
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RE: United DC-10 Operations In Denver

Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:23 am

The longest UA DC-10-10 route from DEN was to IAD I believe. For the CO DC-10-10s, it was EWR.

Both UA and CO ran some DC-10-30s to HNL. CO also flew some to Gatwick.
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