mrcomet
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Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:32 pm

This is a weird one but its for a friend who is a writer. They wanted to know what commercial airliner had a reputation for being a really tough airplane. From what I gather, they mean what airplane would your really want to be in if you got stuck flying through a hurricane with severe turbulence. What can handle the really vicious loads and still fly. Thanks.
The dude abides
 
mrcomet
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:35 pm

BTW, I was thinking answering the DC3 but that may be due to all the old Hollywood movies I saw as a youth.
The dude abides
 
LH526
Crew
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:40 pm

There once was a B707 over California who got one third (nearly a half) o her starboard wing ripped off and yet made it to the airport, call that tough.

Mario
LH526
Trittst im Morgenrot daher, seh ich dich im Strahlenmeer ...
 
cchan
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:43 pm

I am very impressed with the MD11's performance during turbulance. MD11 will probably get my vote, followed by B767 and B777.

...by the way, the Saab 340 is a dog in turbulance, but it can still fly in very rough weather!
 
scouseflyer
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:43 pm

Quoting MrComet (Reply 1):
BTW, I was thinking answering the DC3 but that may be due to all the old Hollywood movies I saw as a youth.

There was a story I remember from my youth about a DC3 that flew home from somewhere during WW2 with one DC3 wing and one DC2 wing (hopefully it didn't fly in circles!)
 
oly720man
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:52 pm

wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
 
bablackpilot
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:56 pm

B727 and L1011. Especially the L1011 because just about anything from Lockheed can take a beating.
My arrogance is only an issue between you and your self-esteem!"
 
ImperialEagle
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:02 pm

Each generation brings aircraft that are supposedly "built like a tank". I remember crews that thought the Boeing (377) Stratocruiser was their choice to fly through the worst weather----but they forgot that PA had lost one over the South American jungle after penetrating a violent thunderstorm (not proven but highly suspected).

Then after the L-188 (Electra) went through the LEAP mod programme, it was believed to be nearly indestructible. It had, after all been the only aircraft built to date that was approved to operate in any know weather condition---including icing. A variation (the Orion) had been chosen to become the premier "Hurricane Hunter" alondside its older sister the C-130.
Then a BN L-188 came apart after penetrating a violent thunderstorm over Texas, and there was another similar accident about two decades later.

The Boeing 707 was once thought indestructable. After all, on TWO occasions, they had managed to limp home after loosing a third or more of one wing!
Yet, BA lost one to (a suspected mountain rotor) clear air turbulence near Mt. Fuji in Japan. And NW lost a 720B in Florida after it entered a violent thunderstorm.

As always, just when you think it's "bullet proof", fate conspires to remind you that it's not!   

Although there have been plenty of incidents involving "jet-upset" with various types involved------
if I had to come up with an all-time champion it would be the ( I believe, TW) Boeing 727 that went supersonic in a nosedive over one of the Great Lakes back in the 1980's. Had slats and flaps ripped off and still managed to limp to a landing.

[Edited 2007-02-15 13:09:53]
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
EI321
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:02 pm

The DC9 is extremly durable. So are most soviet aircraft.

[Edited 2007-02-15 13:18:46]
 
awthompson
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:11 pm

The older heavier planes were the toughest as they were generally over-built.

I have heard stories about all of the following examples:

BAC 1-11
DC-8
Boeing 707 (however a BOAC 707-436 did break up in the air in 1966 near Mount Fuji in extreme turbulance)
Boeing 727
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:18 pm

Most people think that flying in a hurricane is worse than a thunderstorm; I would beg to differ. The reason is that even though a hurricane is much larger and more intense than a thunderstorm by and large the air circulation is horizontal, while in a thunderstorm it is vertical. What tears an airplane apart in a thunderstorm is crossing from a violent updraft to a violent downdraft in a short distance (or vice versa.) Severe thunderstorms can posess vertical wind shear so abrupt that no aircraft ever built can survive it. It is not the intensity of the wind itself or even the turbulence that does the damage, it is the wind shear.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
FriendlySkies
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:29 pm

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 7):
Boeing 727 that went supersonic

Didn't a DC-8 go supersonic once as well?
 
ImperialEagle
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:35 pm

Quoting FriendlySkies (Reply 11):
Didn't a DC-8 go supersonic

Yes, in a controlled shallow dive.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
BCAL
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:37 pm

Don't laugh but I would say that the Comet 4 would be up there with the toughest commercial airliners ever built.

After the initial Comet I accidents and investigations, de Havilland carried out modifications to the airliner and strengthened the fuselage beyond specifications that had been derived from the accident investigations. Earlier Comets were either scrapped or, in the case of the Canadian Air Force Comets, substantially modified and strengthened. The Comet 4 was flown in the days when many of the safety features that are standard on today's aircraft were unavailable and civilian jet transport was still in its infancy.

I have read somewhere that the extent to which some pilots had subjected the Comet 4 to (e.g hard landings etc) would have surely resulted in a break-up or worse for other aircraft.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:53 pm

One story I heard was that after WWII Douglas was concerned with all the C-47's that were being introduced to civilian use with uncertain history, and were worried that they might be structurally compromised by heavy use. They therefore took one that had been extensively used and subjected it to the same destructive tests that they had used in the original certification. The result? the wings broke at about 50% HIGHER load than expected. It turns out that aluminum, if worked at a low enough percentage of its yeild strength work hardens and actually gets stronger, which is what happened to that C-47. Unfortunately at higher stress levels aluminum fatigues, which is what we are most familiar with (i.e. the Comet, the Aloha 737 and the United 747). But it does go to show how strong and conservatively designed the DC-3 was.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
awthompson
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:56 pm

Interesting about the De Havilland Comets. The UK Royal Air Force still use the Comet airframes in the form of Nimrods albeit with substantial re-working.

While on the subject, I guess we could add the Vickers VC-10 to the list. Do a search to see how far around the world they are still travelling routinely these days after FORTY years in service! (photographed recently at Hanover, Dubai, Halifax, Lajes etc.) I know they are in military service nowadays but these actual aircraft all seen passenger service with the airlines long before becoming military transports.
 
Cadet57
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:06 pm

NW DC-9's!!

 duck 

Sorry, Couldent resist.
Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:11 pm

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 16):
NW DC-9's!!

Yes, when God announces the Final Judgement He'll charter a NW DC-9 to spread the word....
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
awthompson
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:12 pm

I know Airbus get a lot of stick on this site, neverless I am aware of only ONE recorded fatal in flight break up of an Airbus aircraft and it was not the result of turbulence. No other major manufacturer has this enviable record.

Therefore it would be fair to suggest that Airbus probably make the toughest airliners in the modern jet age.
 
MD88Captain
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:24 pm

DC9, MD80, 727 (especially the 727), King Airs, most Soveit designs - all very overbuilt/tough. Airbus = not overbuilt/not tough. Falcon 20/50 = tough, Beech Starship = tough.
 
1stfl94
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:32 pm

The DC-8. When the PLFP blew up the aircraft hijacked at Dawson's Field in 1970 it took about three attempts to fully destroy the Swissair DC-8, every other plane was gone in the first explosions.
 
mrcomet
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:23 pm

Here is the voting so far:

4 DC9
3 DC3
3 727
3 DC8
2 707
2 Comet
The dude abides
 
isitsafenow
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:48 pm

Quoting Joe Patroni...."that's one nice thing about the 707, son...it can do everything 'cept talk.."
The 707, and there is more than one factual story about it landing with part of wing off.
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
BCAL
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:58 pm

Quoting MrComet (Reply 21):
Here is the voting so far:

4 DC9

From Aviation Safety Network regarding a collision between an Iberia DC9 and Spantax Coronado over Nantes, France

Quote:
.....While in the midst of an overcast, the Convair collided with the DC-9. The CV-990 lost an outboard portion of its left wing and managed to carry out an emergency landing at Nantes. The DC-9 lost control and crashed.

The CV-990 sounds one tough bird.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
BMED
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:22 am

The twin otter, its used in some rough places and even though its out of production theres yet to be a modern aircraft to replace it.
Living the jetset life! No better way to be
 
abletofly
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:08 am

I would go for the DeHavilland DHC-7 Dash 7.
Have flown it numerous times in severe weather in Greenland. As passenger of course. The best experience was the November 3rd 2005 flying from SFJ to GOH.
Coming into Nuuk (GOH) we had 55 knots of side/nosewind at the nearmost end of the runway. Approaching runway 6.
The aircraft bounced up and down and we actually landed on the nosewheel and slid slightly sideways along the runway. Great airmanship, and very experienced crew. Almost all of them are..  Smile

Regards.
 
Lucky42
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:29 am

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 22):
...."that's one nice thing about the 707, son...it can do everything 'cept talk.."

If I remember correctly. I believe Joe Patroni says "she can do everything but read" In reference to the guy in the right seat saying " the book said that couldn't be done". I maybe be wrong though.
 
alaska737
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:40 am

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 17):
Yes, when God announces the Final Judgement He'll charter a NW DC-9 to spread the word....

 rotfl 

I would have to say that these are some of the toughest.

C-130
DC-3
727
L-188
L1011
Saab 340
Dash 8 100/200
Dash 7
 
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N776AU
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:54 am

I love the very beastly 767's in that kind of weather. I flew out of ATL in moderate rain and high winds. Didn't even feel a bump.
Careful, Doors Are Closing And Will Not Reopen. Please Wait For The Next Train
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:53 pm

I'd go for one of the Dash's; the 6, 7, and 8 are all incredibly tough although the 8 is the only one I have been on, - they operate off paved or unpaved runways and can take a real battering in the sky. Have been through a few major storms in them, and they've served me well so far.

On one particular occasion Iberia cancelled all of their flights with the MD87 and 88 into an airport because of bad weather, but Air Nostrum still flew it with the Dash 8; on final approach the captain warned us that there were 120kmph gusting headwinds and a 100kmph crosswind, so basically expect a rough ride. It was pitch black, terrible turbulence and snowing, but we made it down, albeit sideways most of the way, out of nearly 20 mostly jet operated flights, the only flight of the day to make it was this one!

The Dashes are really tough


Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Feb 16, 2007 5:34 pm

The DHC-6 twin otter is I think by far the toughest Commercial Aircraft out there... Here are some videos
http://youtube.com/watch?v=_8wmZ6hhpg8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hAydQxOf4o
Keep the shinny side up!
 
jeffry747
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:48 pm

Quoting Cchan (Reply 3):
I am very impressed with the MD11's performance during turbulance.

The MD-11 (and the DC-10 for that matter) may be able to weather turbulence well, but you try to put one onto the runway the wrong way and you might be in for a world of hurting. I know of at least 5 instances where the plane became slightly unstable and the landing went to hell. FedEx lost two DC-10s and an MD-11; China Mandarin flipped a Mad Dog trying to land in a typhoon; UPS had an MD-11 land its nosegear too hard, resulting in the plane being in the hangar for 5 months. I'm not trying to knock the MD-11 or DC-10, but you just gotta make sure you land it right, or the whole flight through hell will have been for naught. They are very easy to land too hard.

My pick for a tough plane? The DC-8. I was rather impressed with a story I heard some time ago about a DC-8 being dunked into some salt water when it ran into trouble. Everyone safely got out, the plane was towed out of the water, and was repaired. That DC-8 then survived a full flying career.
C'mon Big B, FLY!
 
AzoresLover
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:02 pm

Quoting Jeffry747 (Reply 31):
I was rather impressed with a story I heard some time ago about a DC-8 being dunked into some salt water when it ran into trouble. Everyone safely got out, the plane was towed out of the water, and was repaired. That DC-8 then survived a full flying career.

Was this maybe a Philippine Airlines plane that landed in San Francisco Bay short of the runway? I remember seeing pictures of the plane a long time ago in the water, but I don't remember the type. Your post made me wonder if it was this incident to which you referred.
Those who want to do something will find a way; those who don't will find an excuse.
 
isitsafenow
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:02 am

Quoting Lucky42 (Reply 26):
Lucky42

Yeah........that's it!
Thanks......
safe  bigthumbsup 
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
burnsie28
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:41 am

Definately go with the DC-9, its the plane that gets damaged to no end, gets fixed and keeps on going. Almost 50 years that bird has been in service. One of the few planes that keep going. 707's are pretty much non-existant except with 2nd rate carriers and such.
 
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LTU932
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sat Feb 17, 2007 9:21 am

Well, they do say that once NW retires all 787s, the pilots will fly back to base on a DC-9.  Wink

My vote is for the DC-9.
 
WestJetYQQ
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:38 pm

707 Hands Down!  Wink

Filler
Filler
Will You Try to Change Things? Use the Power that you have, the Power of a Million new Ideas.
 
united319
Posts: 446
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:49 am

I dont know about handling rough weather and all that, but id classify the workhorses that can stand many years in service are....

DC-9
737 (new generation and next generation)
A320s probably will linger around as long as DC-9s
It's Time To Fly
 
747400sp
Posts: 3890
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:18 am

Anything Douglas built.
L1011
707
727

All these aircraft in my opinion, are not airliners, they are fling tanks! Big grin
 
deskflier
Posts: 525
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sun Feb 18, 2007 2:12 am

My list would be like this:

Antonov An-2
Junkers Ju52/3m
Douglas DC-2

All these can take a beating, both in rough weather and from the hands of an inexperienced pilot. They can all carry nearly the equivalent of their max payload in ice and still keep flying. Sadly their first flights are awhile back, the newest (An-2) flew in 1947. None of these are still manufactured, the An-2 was discontinued around Y2K, the last Ju52 made its first flight in the 1960s, and the DC-2 was phased out in favour of manufacture of the DC-3, a plane that is as poor in carrying ice as the DC-2 is good at it.
How can anyone not fly, when we live at a time when we can fly?
 
Viscount724
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:52 am

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 38):
Anything Douglas built.

Fully agree, especially the DC-8.

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 12):
Quoting FriendlySkies (Reply 11):
Didn't a DC-8 go supersonic

Yes, in a controlled shallow dive.

You may be interested in my Reply 39 with more on the Supersonic DC-8 in the following thread from the Tech/Ops forum.

Citation X Record (by LoveASE Jan 14 2007 in Tech Ops)#45

Quoting Awthompson (Reply 9):
Boeing 707 (however a BOAC 707-436 did break up in the air in 1966 near Mount Fuji in extreme turbulance)

Here's one early 707 (the 6th off the line) that did survive an incident that must have been frightening. The aircraft was repaired and went back into service. This incident occured only 3 months after PA put the first 707 into service.

http://dotlibrary1.specialcollection...ccidents%5Cwebsearch%5C020359A.pdf

It was the following aicraft:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Clive Dyball
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Gerhard Plomitzer


[Edited 2007-02-18 16:53:41]
 
747400sp
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:03 am

Quoting LH526 (Reply 2):
There once was a B707 over California who got one third (nearly a half) o her starboard wing ripped off and yet made it to the airport, call that tough.

Mario
LH526

Yes! I happen to a Pan Am 707 fling from SFO to HNL it's wing caught fire and haft it's starboard wing was burned off. It landed safely at some USAF base in California.

PS: God was with that jet.
 
awthompson
Posts: 484
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:38 pm

I'll not comment any further on the British types; VC-10 (reply 15), BAC 1-11 (reply 9) or even European Airbus models (reply 18) since no-one seems to be interested suffice to say that VC-10 aiframes have been flying all over the world for 40 years now and on that count probably win this poll hands down.

Dealing therefore with only american types as those are all that people seem to know about here, the DC-8 pushes ahead of the Boeing 707 on strength. Boeing 707's have had 1 incident of engine separation in flight, 2 incidents of horizontal stabilizer detachment in flight and one inflight break up as a result of extreme turbulance. There are no such recorded incidents on DC-8s.
 
57AZ
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:12 pm

I'd have to say that the 727 is the toughest jetliner I can think of . I remember reading about the World Airways flight from Da Nang that nearly didn't make it-ended up getting attacked on the ground and had to take off from the taxiway. I remember that they reported that the aircraft sustained some wing damage from a hand grenade and hit a truck and fence in it's hasty takeoff. Also, it was extremely overloaded with something like 300+ people and the airstair jammed in the deployed position. According to the performance data, it should have crashed but it didn't.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
CV990
Posts: 4224
Joined: Sat May 22, 1999 3:49 am

RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:42 pm

Hi!

Noooop, you guys are all wrong!!! The toughest airliner built was the Convair CV880!!!! Hard has a rock!!! Read the "Great Airliners" book from Jon Proctor regarding the Convair CV880/990 and you'll see! There is a part that tells that when TWA started to withdraw the CV880 and old generation 707's a scrap dealer came to "destroy" some 707's and CV880's.....well, the 707's were a piece of cake, the CV880's the dealer started the first one and had to give up...the same equipment that was used for the 707 wouldn't make it with the Convair!
Also when UC880 "Old Smokey" was almost at the end of it's life the USNavy guys did a test, and that was to put a bomb on the cargo bay to see if that would have any effect on the structure of the Convair...well, the bomb indeed exploded but the plane kept going on!!!
Finnaly there is a nice photo of a Latin Carga CV880 landing at MIA with it's cargo door open......the door didn't felt and the plane landed safely......a true rugged plane the Convair!!!
Regards
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
 
hoppe777
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:33 pm

RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:29 am

Wow so many different opinons !

im inclined to go with the 707. didnt it do a barrell roll in testing without any effects whatsoever ? surely it must have pulled some G's and put it under some severe stress. how many commercial airliners can claim that ?

Hoppe777
Sometime in easter 10 .... yet to book :)
 
GAIsweetGAI
Posts: 887
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:10 am

Quoting Hoppe777 (Reply 45):
surely it must have pulled some G's and put it under some severe stress.

Nope- barrel roll is a 1G maneuver.
"There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
 
CV990
Posts: 4224
Joined: Sat May 22, 1999 3:49 am

RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:26 am

Hi again!

Yes BCAL, that's a great information you got to us here...that accident was really big and the one that crashed was certainly NOT the CV990!!! Here it is EC-BJC that was NOT destroyed by the accident but instead it was scrapped!!!


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.



Regards
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
 
awthompson
Posts: 484
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:25 am

I imagine the Convair 880/990 are tough without a doubt. I remember Spantax flying them into Belfast many years ago on charter flights to the Spanish holidays resorts. Pity I missed having a flight on one. When I was old enough to go, it was all virtually Caravelles and DC-9s they used!
 
awthompson
Posts: 484
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 9:59 pm

RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:43 am

Heres a great shot of one of the Spantax CV-990's in their last livery:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Eduard Marmet



..... and another sad pic of her being chopped a few years later:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Joan Martorell

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