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Rolls Royce & The DC-10/MD-11

Sat Mar 20, 2004 6:07 am

Okay, some of this asked in the DC-10-30/DC-10-40 thread, but basically does anybody have any info regarding Rolls Royce power plants on McDonnell Douglas widebodies?

I believe that BA was offered a RR RB211 powered DC-10 (to be the -50) when it was looking for a long haul widebody smaller than its 747s. In the end it opted for the L1011-500, which offered commonality with the existing short haul TriStars, and used the same powerplants as the 742s. Argument for offering a -50 to BA would be similar to NW with the -40 - engine commonality. But what was the proposed range, payload, etc of this model? The Ian Allan ABC's on BA suggest that it was superior to the L1011-500 but that BA opted for the Lockheed aircraft on the grounds that it already operated a version of that aircraft, whereas the DC-10 would be another model in the fleet.

It's well known that developing the RB211 for the TriStar bankrupted Rolls Royce in the 70s, and nearly did for Lockheed too. But given the engine had a moderate success on the 747 (CX, BA, SU, QF) why did it not so with the DC-10?

Secondly, another book I have states that Air Europe had MD-11s on order to be powered by Rolls Royce Trents. When the carrier went belly-up the orders lapsed. Nobody else selected RR for engine supply on the MD-11. How would the RR MD-11 have compared with the GE/P&W engined models? Any noticeable differences in payload, range, etc? Also, how many orders/options did Air Europe have on the MD-11? With the various issues effecting the MD-11 in the late 80s/early 90s it can't have helped McDonnell Douglas to lose two UK customers (The BCal order being cancelled by BA upon their takeover).

Edit: If somebody drops me a message who has some spare webspace I can send a scan of a drawing of the Air Europe MD-11 from the book I read it in (To give an idea of when it was written it has colour impressions of a TW RR Trent powered A330 and a CO 'Meatball' liveried A340!)

[Edited 2004-03-19 22:11:35]
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RE: Rolls Royce & The DC-10/MD-11

Sat Mar 20, 2004 5:10 pm

What kind of file are you needing space for? I have 2 sites for uploading files, and If the extension is other than listed for the 2 sites, I can make an adjustment.
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RE: Rolls Royce & The DC-10/MD-11

Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:15 pm

Those days on both the L-1011 and the DC-10, if a different engine option was to be made available it was up to the engine manufacturer to fund the design of the installation and testing required to certify an alternate engine.
The P&WA engines for the DC-10-40's were tested in an outdoor test stand in West Palm Beach as well at East Hartford.
I say engines, because the engine used on the Northwest airplanes was significantly different from the engine used on the JAL DC-10-40's.
The Northwest engine had the accessory gearbox installed on the engine core and had to be accessed by entering the by-pass.
The JAL engine had the accessory gear box installed on the outside of the fan casing, which typical of all installations now.
The RB-211-22 engine was originally planned to have the gearbox on the core, but it was moved to the fan casing. This resulted in additional angles drives to link the N3 rotor to the gear box and one of these called, the step aside gearbox, was a real problem. One of the Inflight Shutdowns I experienced was due to a step aside gearbox failure.
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RE: Rolls Royce & The DC-10/MD-11

Mon Mar 22, 2004 11:36 pm

You are very correct about gearbox problems on -22B engines. When the -524 came along, some (but not all) of these problems were 'solved'.

In addition, the RR RB.211 engine, being three-spool, has a completely different bleed air plumbing arrangement (than two-spool types) for installation on airframes, requiring a major re-design...which would have been rather costly for Douglas.
Also, the RB.211 installation is about 3000 pounds heavier (per engine) than a two-spool design, negating the fuel savings achieved to a rather small amount.

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