If you really knew jack sh*t about the DC-10 you would realize that the airframe is sound, the construction solid, and that it was one of the best airplanes to be manufactured in the 1960's. Although it was given a bad name, the fundamental problems were with the airlines flying them at the time. let us start the accident summaries:
First DC-10 fatal accident was the crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 981. An airline employee did not check the locking mechanism on the aft cargo door. The airplane was crusing at around 10,000 feet for the short flight from Orly-Gatwick, and was pressurized for sea level (large pressure differential). The cargo door exploded open and a few folks were sucked out, the hydraulic lines were severed and the airplane plunged into the ground, killing all on board. Obviously a bad start for the DC-10. But, if proper procedures had been followed, the airplane would not have crashed.
The second (and more memorable for people in the US) was AA
191. Most people know the details surrounding this crash, but to sum it up, AA
(and most other airlines at the time) were using flawed maitenance procedures that were exacerbated by an out-of-gas forklift and a lack of an overnight shift in the engine shop. It was a good move to ground all DC-10's, because of the flawed maitenance procedures that were in practice at nearly every airline that flew the DC-10 (including CO
The third crash involving the DC-10 was the Air New Zealand DC-10 that crashed into Mt Erebus in Antarctica. had nothing to do with the airworthiness of the aircraft.
The last but not least, and definitely the most memorable for kids our age (we were alive for this one, and i live in Iowa) was the Sioux City crash. This was caused by a flawed maitenance practice of United Airlines, in failure to detect a fatiguing engine disk. This crash brought human factors and crew resource management to the front page in the aviation industry. It also proved that a good airplane and a good, motivated and well trained crew could turn a helpless situation into something that people can (and did) walk away from.
The fact is the DC-10 had bad luck in the beginning, but it has proved to be a very reliable and very safe aircraft. There has not been a fatality on a major US airline that operates a DC-10 since Sioux City and it has been over 15 years since then.
It is okay to dislike the DC-10. But saying that it is an unsafe airplane and you fear for your life if you think you are going to fly in one is nothing but slander and is a pretty ignorant thing to say in a forum like this.
There is no logic whatsoever in saying that a newer airplane is safer. What about the Airbus that flew into the forest at the airshow? What about the CRJ that crashed in Michigan a few years ago....the list goes on.
An airplane is only as safe as the crew and support that is behind it.
edit: incidentally, Delta came very close to Chapter 11 and is in a bad financial stiatuion, despite their purchase of "newer" aircraft. Northwest has stayed afloat with their old jets and also without the help of a bail out from American Express. New jets cost money. Old jets that are paid off obviously don't. Doesn't take a genius (im sure you could even figure it out) that if you can get by with what you have and still run a safe and efficient airline then there is no reason to upgrade.
[Edited 2005-02-05 04:56:58]