THY747
Topic Author
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Problems With MD-11 Performance

Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:55 pm

Hello all,

Forgive me for my ignorance but I would like to know what some specific MD-11 performance problems were. I know that airlines were generally unhappy with the aircraft and I remember reading about fuel consumption being more than projected. Is this true? What other problems existed?

THY747
 
COAB767
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:58 pm

I think there were electrical problems with the aircraft as well.
Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
 
gigneil
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 12:11 am

The problems were extensive and many.

The main one was that the aircraft never even remotely reached its promised range, or a usable range.

Even carefully maintained MD-11s with extra tankage had a hard time travelling LAX-HKG for ATL-NRT.

N
 
citationjet
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 12:28 am

Range problems were true. I know a aero engineer who was hired by MD as an aeronatical engineer to work the aero fixes to the MD-11.

AA expierienced electrical problems with the MD-11. They were not happy with it.
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ConcordeBoy
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 12:39 am

Too small a rudder, instability and a tendency to want to rollover during approach.
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
COAB767
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 1:00 am

In contrast those planes were just junk.
Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
 
Horus
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 1:21 am

Besides the valid point that Concordeboy gave, SQ cancelled their order for MD-11s for the A340s back in the 90s due to the airliners fuel inefficieny.

It's a shame though as I think the aircraft is great. Besides Varig and Finnair who else operates the passenger version of the aircraft ? (Korean Air?)
EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
 
modesto2
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 1:25 am

Horus, some other airlines include: World, Thai, Alitalia and Swiss.
 
Triple Seven
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 1:36 am

Problems with the MD-11s were almost, if not fully corrected by mid 90s.
The corrected version was introduced as the MD-11ER (retrofit package available to earlier models too). Performance of the MD-11ER were actually better than the original performance parameters set for the MD-11 program.
However, bad image and publicity killed the MD-11 program...and McDD itself.
 
Areopagus
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:23 am

Google "MD-11 range shortfall" and hit I'm Feeling Lucky. This produces Langley Research Center's computational fluid dynamics page that overviews their contribution to the MD-11 performance recovery effort. That was in the unexpectedly adverse airflow and pressure distribution around the engine pylons, which hadn't shown up in subscale model wind tunnel testing. The pylons were redesigned. In summary, they note:

Initial flight tests of the MD-11 indicated an unacceptable range shortfall of over 400 nmi. McDonnell Douglas initiated a modification program for the MD-11 known as the Performance Improvement Program (PIP), which included focused efforts to improve the aircraft’s weight, fuel capacity, engine performance, and aerodynamics. Cumulative improvements from modifications identified by the PIP from 1990 to 1995 recovered and subsequently extended the range for the aircraft.
 
gigneil
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:49 am

Performance of the MD-11ER were actually better than the original performance parameters set for the MD-11 program.

Even with the PIP, the planes had poor range. It was better than it was, but not as good as it needed to be.

N
 
n685fe
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:30 am

ConcordeBoy
"Too small a rudder, instability and a tendency to want to rollover during approach.">

MD put a four piece rudder on the a/c that more then makes up for it's physical length. What data do you have that shows the a/c wants to roll during aproach? If you are refurring to FDX N611FE and China Airlines B-150, the a/c rolled after the gear and wing seperated the a/c and lost lift on the effected side causing it to roll. Both cases were pilot error, "improper landing technique". ConcordeBoy, are you prejudgeice? You tend to judge an entire a/c type on these two cases whose only flaw was the pilots flying them at the time. If you can judge an a/c type by a few cases then:

The 737 has a tendency to lawn dart during approach/departure/cruise;UA, N9031U; Indian Airlines VT-EAM; Pacific Western Airlines, CF-PWC; Air Florida, N62AF; Transportes Aereos Militares Ecuatorianos, HC-BIG;TAAG, D2-TBN; Thai, HS-TBB; British Airtours, G-BGJL; VASP, PP-SME; China Airlines, B-1870; LAN Chile, CC-CHJ; Thai Airways, HS-TBC; Condor, D-ABHD; Ethiopian Airlines, ET-AJA; Brithish Midland Airways, G-OBME; VARIG, PP-VMK; China Airlines, B-180; Xiamen Airlines, B-2510; ect ect....
The 737 has a tendency to brake up, Far Eastern Air Transport, B-2603; VASP, PP-SMY;Gulf Air, A40-BK; EgyptAir, SU-AYH; Iraqi Airways, YI-AGJ; Aloha Airlines, N73711; USAir, N416US; Philippine Airlines, EI-BZG; ect ect....

Do you get my point? And this is just the 737, you could do this to any a/c type.


[Edited 2004-04-13 22:33:33]
psp. lead by example
 
Horus
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:33 am

Modesto2, How many MD-11s do Thai, Alitalia and World operate?
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Thrust
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:40 am

Were all of the AA and DL MD-11s eventually given the MD-11ER retrofitting package? It's just too bad that these beautiful birds saw so few years of service. Well, at least KLM's will be around until 2012, or should I say 2008 since AF bought them out? BTW, if AF bought out KLM, I would imagine they will try to phase out the MD-11s, right, since they have the much more fuel efficient A343s and Boeing 744s?
Fly one thing; Fly it well
 
AUAE
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:42 am

MD-11s are expensive to maintain. In particular, although the thing is a tank, structures need a lot of love after 8 years.
Air transport is just a glorified bus operation. -Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive
 
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solnabo
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:43 am

Watched NatGeo Channel about Swisscrash in -98 with the MD11; just horrible to see it though actors.....in that case it was the electrics to the 1st class pc´s / phones.
Maybe the performance is crappy but the aircraft is a beauty!!!
**You´ll be missed**

Michael//SE
Airbus SAS - Love them both
 
777236ER
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:48 am

The MD-11 had a smaller horizontal stabiliser by 40% and its centre of gravity was moved aft. This led to it being less stable than the DC-10. The thing wasn't particularly dynamically stable - and even though it was certified, its lack of stability was atributed to a few crashes.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:51 am

ConcordeBoy, are you prejudgeice?

 Confused

um... well, I guess I wait to get to know the ice before passing judgement  Laugh out loud




Do you get my point?

You mean there was one?  Wow!
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
Thrust
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:55 am

I never thought range was a problem for the MD-11  Wow!

Fly one thing; Fly it well
 
gigneil
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:01 am

I never thought range was a problem for the MD-11  

It was the number one problem.

N
 
Thrust
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:02 am

Well, I guess I've learned something new about the MD-11  Smile
Fly one thing; Fly it well
 
phollingsworth
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:07 am

I know that part of the problem for the MD-11 was that even after the original range problems got fixed it still did not have sufficient range for some of the city pairs that the launch customers wanted to use it for. Part of the problem is that certain city pairs became effectively farther apart during the course of the MD-11 program, i.e. the typical winds changed. I know this was the case with HKG-LAX, which for which the effective still air range increased significantly between updates.
 
777236ER
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:22 am

While the initial range problems were fixed within time, by that time the MD-11 had already been severly bashed by AA, and Boeing and Airbus had come up with 777s and A340s with even more range.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
FlyingColors
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:36 am

To cut to the chase....

The MD-11 did have performance issues in its late development.

MD has 366 orders. When it was coming up short of its promises just prior to its release, several orders were lost and only 200 were produced.

MD has many management problems causing precious time to laps by, thus loosing sales.

By the time the MD-11 was ready for customers it actually overshot its promise of range by at least an extra 2%! Yes aerodynamic issues were solved, prior to delivery.

These facts just love to get out of order!

Its a great airliner!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike  Smile
Moon chaser!
 
gigneil
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:38 am

By the time the MD-11 was ready for customers it actually overshot its promise of range by at least an extra 2%! Yes aerodynamic issues were solved, prior to delivery.


The MD-11 never, ever exceeded its promise of range. Even PIPed MD-11s occasionally had issues negotiating ATL-NRT.

McD's range for a PIPed M11 was like 8200nm, and I can assure you no MD-11 ever achieved that target.

N
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:43 am

By the time the MD-11 was ready for customers it actually overshot its promise of range by at least an extra 2%!
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:57 am

The MD-11 had no performance problems, as long as one ordered the aircraft with the optional performance package... Hell on fuel consumption though...  Insane


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 Big grin Seriously though, I did one time visit a friend of mine's office at an airline that flew them. I noted that the MD-11 model on his credenza seemed to be in a nose-down attitude, as opposed to the nose-up attitude of the other types of aircraft models on the same credenza. I pointed that out and asked him about it, and with zero hesitation he replied "Oh, it's just coming back for repairs.."

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Bobs89irocz
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 7:05 am

Horus- I have no idea how many MD-11's World has but i think its 9-12

Alitatia- 4 as of 6 months ago im sure their down to 2 or 3

Swiss- their MD-11's are on there way out as well, being replaced by the A343. Last i herd they had 8 left.

AA had as many as 23-24, they leased 3 or so of them back in early to mid 90's to an airline called US AFRICA that only lasted about 6 months before they where gone do to some exective reasons.

DL had 13 at one point i believe.

Now FedEx is the largest operator of MD-11's with 42?
 
scf158
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 7:14 am

Swiss now has 3 MD-11's left that they use. These three wont be around for much longer.
 
767Lover
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 7:23 am

Even PIPed MD-11s occasionally had issues negotiating ATL-NRT

Can you explain -- I mean, what makes you say this? Did the crew have to consider diverting to another airport for a fuel stop or something?
 
OV735
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 7:42 am

Just an interesting side note - as the original MD11 clearly undershot its promised range capabilities, MD had to decrease the weight of the airplane and they were pretty desparate with it - they even installed new lighter and more aerodynamic windscreen wipers, and many other things that only saved a couple of kilos the maximum.

But apparently it helped, since the range improved so much it exceeded the orignal expectations.

Regards,
OV735
 
n685fe
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:50 am

My point is, you made an uneducated judgment concerning the characteristics of the MD11 with a limited amount of technical knowledge or facts surrounding the two incidents where the a/c did roll. What helped you form your opinion, television or the newspaper?

[Edited 2004-04-14 02:00:38]
psp. lead by example
 
gigneil
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:55 am

Can you explain -- I mean, what makes you say this? Did the crew have to consider diverting to another airport for a fuel stop or something?

The flights did stop on many occasions. Sometimes in PDX. I think occasionally ANC.

At 5953 nm on the great circle, ATL-NRT just ain't that far.

N
 
GaleaoCumbica
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:14 pm

Hi guys!

I am Brazilian and living in London since 2001.
I usually fly Varig to Brazil, as it is easier for me a non-stop flight from LHR-GRU-LHR.
As everybody around here know Varig has a large MD-11 fleet and it keeps growing.
Every time I saw a discussion like this I keep asking myself if it is always safe to be in a MD-11 flight.
Am I wrong thinking about this?
Last year I flew around 10 times, always different A/C and airlines, twice with Varig, my mother is coming to London next month, with a Varig MD-11, and some of my relatives fly Varig a lot, at least 8 times a year.
So my final question. Is the MD-11 safe or not?

Cheers

GaleaoCumbica
 
LVZXV
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:33 pm

Galeaocumbica:

I'd say so. This 8,200nm rubbish is neither relevant to you or to me if the MD-11 can fly GRU-LHR or EZE-ZRH as it has proven itself so capable of for years. 8,200nm is an obscene distance, and given that ZRH-EZE is one of the longest non-stop routes in the world (just shy of 7,000nm) I don't see why the MD-11 was required to fly an extra 1,200nm--the 744 cannot do it.
5 MD-11s have been lost since 1990 of the 200 built--of which 2 were freighters. VARIG, despite posting a $625 million loss in 2003, still has excellent maintenance and an excellent safety record, so I would have no qualms in flying on their MD-11s.  Smile

XV

How do you say "12 months" in Estonian?
 
AM772
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:11 am

However, bad image and publicity killed the MD-11 program...and McDD itself.

As the MD-11 is a develovepment of the DC-10, it never had a good reputation.

Because of its performance, capacity, etc... it could be, for its years (early 90's) a competitor to the 767, A300, then, the 777 and A340.

Most of the DC-10 problems, were copied by the MD-11, they're similar in a lot of aspects... Big grin

Cheers

AM772
 
Triple Seven
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 4:28 am

The poor performance of the MD-11 could be attributed to the wholesale adaptation of the DC-10.

IIRC McDD rushed to developed the MD-11 fast - and that was the problem.
Back in the mid 80s McDD saw three choices for the MD-11. One was to adapt the wing of the DC-10, the other was to design an all new wing, and the final one was to approach Airbus to jointly develop a new wing based on those for the A330/340s.

McDD looked at the three choices and this was what they came out with:

DC-10 wing adaptation:
1. Cheaper (obviously)
2. Allows the MD-11 to be introduced at an earlier time frame. Beating the A330/340s and the 767X (now 777) into service by several years.
3. Allowing McDD to capture a significant portion of the market before A & B could.
4. Other than wing tip extension the only other real growth would be inserting a root extension for future derivative. That would take the old DC-10 wing design to the limit and thus growth potential will be limited.
5. Monopoly in the market for 3 to 4 years.

New wing adaptation:
1. Expensive - but not beyond the reach of McDD then. (Healthy military/space program to cover their ass then)
2. Timescale will slip by two to three years. (scared the hell out of McDD)
3. Allows the MD-11 to easily achieve its performance parameters
4. Tremendous growth potential for the MD-11. Allowing heavier MTOW, stretched ,twin engine derivative to be developed at lower cost and and at faster time frame.
5. Risk going head on with A330/A340s and 777.

Going with Airbus:
1. Very risky indeed.
2. Cheaper than doing it alone
3. Unsure if the concept of joint development would even work out or not.

At the end McDD decided to take the low risk and fast approach. Hoping to capture the market fast before A&B could.

They risked it and the rest is history. God knows what the outcome would have been if the alternative was chosen.
 
gigneil
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 4:48 am

Is the MD-11 safe or not?

Absolutely.

This 8,200nm rubbish is neither relevant to you or to me if the MD-11 can fly GRU-LHR or EZE-ZRH as it has proven itself so capable of for years. 8,200nm is an obscene distance, and given that ZRH-EZE is one of the longest non-stop routes in the world (just shy of 7,000nm) I don't see why the MD-11 was required to fly an extra 1,200nm--the 744 cannot do it.


6100nm is not just shy of 7000nm. Its 900 nm closer, and yes about 200nm further than ATL-NRT, but hardly even close to one of the longest routes in the world.

My guess is that the flight took a very large restriction, and that it probably did divert on more than one occasion.

Otherwise, the winds on that route are so completely different to ATL-NRT that the characteristics of the route are not the same.

Point is - the plane didn't meet anyone's expectations, certainly not the "revised" pip ones.

N
 
warren747sp
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 4:48 am

It is very common for airliners flying longhaul Trans-Pacific especially in the winter month to land somewhere for fuel stop.
So when one says that the MD-11 can not fly Atl-Nrt day after day and classify it as not able to meeting its intended range. It is just a lot of rubbish, as the same will be true for any airliner type giving the same weather condition.
747SP
 
gigneil
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 4:59 am

So when one says that the MD-11 can not fly Atl-Nrt day after day and classify it as not able to meeting its intended range. It is just a lot of rubbish, as the same will be true for any airliner type giving the same weather condition.

No. Not an airliner with an initial range of 7500nm and a revised range of 8200nm on a 5900nm route.

Sure, a 764 from EWR-HNL its understood that you're gambling on the wind and the potency of your fumes. But if, for example, one of CO's 772ERs couldn't negotiate the route there would be a massive scandal.

N
 
Arcano
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 12:24 pm

Hi

I have a very basic question about MD11: When the program was launched, it was introduced as a DC10 upgrade or a whole new aircraft? If it was just an upgrade (in terms of wings, engines, rubber or whatever) why not keep calling it the same? DC10-40 or something as Boeing and Airbus did.

If it was a whole new a/c, why building an almost twin a/c?

Didn't DC10 had the same unreliable image with the cargo doors and everything?
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Starlionblue
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 3:27 pm

The MD-11 was launched as a new AC. Compare to the A330/340. Same fuse size as A300/310, but the innards and wings are all new.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
mpoellot
Posts: 64
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 4:46 pm

Hi folks,

just read this:

http://www.airlinesafety.com/faq/faq9.htm

Michael
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 5:13 pm

Mpoellot, I was just waiting for that link to appear  Big grin Sensationalist in it's conclusion but raises many valid points.

However, if you think about it, the 737 and 747 have a similarly chequered history. Just think of the deficient design on the 747 cargo door or the 737 rudder reversal problem.

This does not make the plane unsafe, especially now after all the directives that have been enacted.


"As such, the pilot is constantly making little corrections, like flying a dynamically unstable fly-by-wire fighter with the computer out"

Ahem, if you fly an unstable fighter (e.g. Gripen, Typhoon) without computer support, you will be attempting to control an object as airworthy as a brick in crosswind.


Somebody once said they should let Lockheed design all the airplanes, Boeing build them...and McDonnell-Douglas market them! And let the French guys stick to making Citroens and Peugeots...

I agree with the first part of this statement. The second is the usual anti-Airbus BS (and they're not French!!!). That statement alone makes me think again about how much I want to respect the author of the quote.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
mpoellot
Posts: 64
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 5:55 pm

Starlionblue, the report sounds somehow exaggerated indeed, however, problems with that aircraft existed as we all know it -- hence the modifications and software upgrades to fly the MD-11 safely.

You wrote about 747 cargo door problems. If memory serves, it was a Turkish Airlines DC-10 facing that problem resulting in a crash
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 6:05 pm

United 747 over the pacific lost the cargo door and part of the fuse. A few people were killed. Reason: The locking latch design was deficient.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
mpoellot
Posts: 64
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 6:10 pm

Oh yes, I forgot. That´s right.
 
GaleaoCumbica
Posts: 92
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 6:15 pm

Mpoellot,

Have you ever been in a MD-11 flight or you avoid it 100%?

Just wondering...

I feel safe in any A/C, as soon as I know if the airline keep it well maintained.

Have always a safe flight.

Cheers

GaleaoCumbica
 
COAB767
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RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 6:17 pm

IMO MD11's are just plain junk.
Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
 
mpoellot
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2004 7:32 pm

RE: Problems With MD-11 Performance

Thu Apr 15, 2004 6:35 pm

GaleaoCumbica, the MD11 is very familiar to me. In fact, I´ve been a passenger on the entire Swissair / Swiss MD11 fleet crossing the Atlantic including the HB-IWF that crashed near Halifax. Did I feel unsafe ?? Never !!

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