It is impossible to say that the MD11 has a worse safety record than it deserves! Bollocks. A type could be said to have a worse reputation, but the actual accident rate is not something chosen by a hard-to-please jury. Even if a type has a lot of aircrew error accidents (say, the 727 or A320 in the early days, or the Caravelle), that doesn't happen cos pilots are lemmings, it's because they are more easily led into making mistakes in that cockpit than in another. The MD11 landing accidents are the result of a too-small tailplane and a terrible lack of inherent stability. While certain types (727 and A320 early ops, even dare I say it the DC10) have had an undeserved reputation, no aircraft has ever had an undeserved statistical record. How could that be possible?
The fact is that the MD11 - unlike any other commercial transport - has little or no natural stability in descent and finals, requiring constant correction all the way down (like balancing a baseball bat on the palm of your hand) - that is why there have been three or four serious landing accidents involving aircraft written off and passengers killed. Don't forget uncommanded slat extension during cruise (two passengers killed on a Chinese MD11) and insulation which is highly flammable (Swissair inflight fire, 228 killed). The MD11 is a dreadful mistake and the sooner it's gone the better. On the plus side it has nice overhead bins and I like the shape of the windows. That's all, otherwise it's a piece of sh*t.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz