beowulf
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Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Fri Apr 09, 2004 10:02 pm

Hi,

It was discussed previously in this forum that the MD-11 and the DC-10 are very popular aircraft with cargo operators. I find that interesting, but there were some explanations given. First, these models seem to be fast, can hold sufficient cargo with standard containers, are reliable, and there is a market with plenty of second-hand aircraft of this type.

Now here comes my first question.  Smile

Is it coincidence that an aircraft with three engines enjoys such popularity or is there a deeper reason behind it? Why not a twin engine aircraft? The Airbus A300B4 is also popular with freighter airlines, but not as popular as DC-10s and MD-11s, isnt it? I am sure there are plenty of old twin engine airplanes available.

Second question:

Why is the Lockheed Tristar not as popular with freighters than DC-10 or MD-11? It also has three engines, thus the name.  Wink/being sarcastic It wasn't as widely used as the DC-10, but is has a good reputation and was very advanced.

Nick
 
AUAE
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Fri Apr 09, 2004 10:12 pm

I am not sure Lockheed ever really marketed the L1011 as a freighter. Douglas heavily marketed the DC-10 and M-11 as frieghters. Modifying an L1011 to create the large cargo door would be quite expensive. I am guessing this is why you son't see it too much. DC-10 and MD-11 came straight from Douglass with those huge doors.

As for why 3 engines...because they were too expensive to market as pax liners, so they targeted the freight industry. It will be interesting to see what the replacement for all those 3 engine planes will be.
Air transport is just a glorified bus operation. -Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive
 
beowulf
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Fri Apr 09, 2004 10:26 pm

@AUAE
Hmm, yes, DC-10s/MD-11s were marketed as freighter versions, too. But a lot of the DC-10s/MD-11s operated by cargo airlines are converted planes.

Nick
 
Alessandro
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Fri Apr 09, 2004 10:32 pm

Did the L1011, DC10/MD11 pass stage 3, if not are they hush kits to all of them availble?
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AUAE
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Fri Apr 09, 2004 10:34 pm

Only speculation here, but I am guessing the availabilty of modification engineering was more readily available on the DC-10 and MD-11. I believe Douglas provides after market conversion kits???

Could be also that L1011s were run pretty hard until they were put to pasture. ??
Air transport is just a glorified bus operation. -Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Fri Apr 09, 2004 11:51 pm

Since freight aircraft tend to lag one generation behind pax aircraft, I'm sure the next gen of freight aircraft will be full of two holers.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
avioniker
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Sat Apr 10, 2004 12:15 am

Lockheed very actively marketed the 1011 in 1991 to 1994 and even built an overhaul facility in Tucson with the intention that it would be a Passenger-to-freighter conversion facility that would rival the one in Italy for the Douglas fleet.
The problem is the 1011 fuselage is not wide enough to accomodate two freight cans. Kalitta (American International) did have some planes built and I'm fairly sure they're still in operation somewhere but the idea died before it could really get going. Just not profitable enough for the operator with only a couple of planes.
FYI the cargo conversion costs from $250,000 for a barebones 727 job in Miami or PEMCO to upwards of $8Million at Boeing for whatever your little heart desires.
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
QantasA332
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Sat Apr 10, 2004 7:00 am

I think there just is (and was) a huge surplus of tri-holers simply due to their relative unpopularity in the commercial market. Because of this, many freight carriers prefer them simply due to the fact that there are many available, and at a low cost.

Cheers,
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elwood64151
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:48 am

Three-holers really became unpopular after the ETOPPS rules were updated to allow two-holers to fly intercontinental. Before that, three-holers (DC-10, MD-11, and L-1011) were frequently used for such operations on routes where the 747 was just too big for the demand to support one.

The after-market value of three-holers dropped like a stone after two-holers started intercontinental routes. As a result, they were cheap to obtain for freighters. Even before that, they were popular, but now they are extremely popular among cargo carriers.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Sat Apr 10, 2004 9:26 am

Arrow also flew L-1011 freighters...

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citationjet
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Sat Apr 10, 2004 9:55 am

Speaking of 3 holer freighters, don't forget the 727s. The last 727-200s built were for FedEx.
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
 
avioniker
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:14 am

The last -200's were not built for FEDEX
They're still being converted at many facilities around the world.
The last -200 built in Renton for PAX was converted to freight in Copenhagen in 1995 around Easter.
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
n685fe
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:16 pm

The last 727 built by Boeing did in fact go to FEDEX. They bought the last 16 of them as -200F's right off the line, never were used as pax a/c.
psp. lead by example
 
pilotpip
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:24 pm

I think that one of the major reasons that the L10 was not widely used is/was because it was quite the hangar queen. They were not as reliable. The mx costs on it were very high and delays are an even greater problem for the time sensitive freight industry.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The old three engine aircraft are why I like my job so much. The majority of the jet fuel I pump goes into DC-10s and 727s. Fed Ex decided to send one to LAX from STL this past Sunday and seeing one of those things take off during the day, with only two people and the 70,000 lbs of fuel I added really give you a sense of how powerfull those things are!
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beowulf
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:34 pm

Hi everybody,

Thanks for all your input. Let me see if I got this rigth.

1) Three-holers became "unnecessary" after ETOPS regulations were changed so that two-holers could fly the routes for which one needed three-holers prior to that. And, of course, three engines are more expensive to maintain than two engines.

2) The L1011 has a narrower fuselage than the DC-10/MD-11, and you can't get two freighter cans in it. Thus, it's not as economic as the DC-10.

Nick
 
avioniker
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Fri Apr 16, 2004 1:58 am

OOPS sorry
I was thinking of the last 727 PAX aircraft built that went to THY. They were converted to freighters in 95-96.
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
beowulf
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Wed Jul 14, 2004 5:55 pm

Hi,

I have a follow up question regarding this issue, thus, I am bringing the thread up.

Was there any intention (and/or implementation) of fitting the L1011 with a glass cockpit, like it's done with the DC-10 --> MD-10?

Also, if L1011s are no longer used in passenger operations and are not popular among freighters, what's happening to all the L1011s? Scrapped? I still don't understand why the L1011 was such a bummer. O.K., its delivery was delayed due to Rolls-Royce's problems, but it was more advanced than the DC-10 at the time. I wonder why Lockheed didn't get into gears to make this plane a bigger success.

Nick
 
DC3CV3407AC727
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Wed Jul 14, 2004 11:51 pm

Champion Air currently flies N697CA,the last pax three holer off the line,in 1983.
the rumble of round engines is like music to me,likewise the thunder of thr JT8D
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Thu Jul 15, 2004 1:51 am

As far as I understand, the DC-10 and MD-11 require very little modification except for the door to be converted into a freighter, due to the fact that Douglas built them like tractors. Esp. the floor structure is strong enough as it is. The L1011 would require massive strenghtening of the floor, which togethert with it´s advanced, higher stressed design, makes it more expensive and complicated to convert.
The various Airbusses also need to be considerably reinforced internally (unless they were built from scratch as freighters), but conversion of at least the A300 series is cheaper than a L1011.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
beowulf
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:00 am

@MD11Engineer / Jan
Thanks for this insight. It's very fascinating for me to read this.

Recently I bought "The End of an Era: My Story of the L-1011" by James West, which (supposedly) describes why the L-1011 flopped. Well, I'll keep you posted whether it's any good.

One more question, maybe 411A knows this:
Was there any intention (and/or implementation) of fitting the L1011 with a glass cockpit, like it's done with the DC-10 --> MD-10?

Nick
 
miamiair
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:07 am

For an airplane to be converted to a freighter version (No, Boeing does not offer conversion kits), several things have to happen: A)The floor structure has to be analyzed to see if it can sustain the necessary design loads plus a safety factor B) You don't just cut a hole in the skin and then build a door for the hole; you have to install doublers and load paths in the fuselage structure C) You need to have a cargo restraint system to keep the cargo from rolling fore and aft (CG problems could be a bit touchy) and last but not least, you need to install a 9G bulkhead or install a cargo net restraint( You don't want to be the freight dog driving, come to a sudden stop only to have your cargo push over the glare shield).

All this is developed in the form of a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) that has the drawings, the analysis of all the necessary calculations and other pertinent data, such as loading information, AFM supplements etc. The STC is the property of the entity that came up with the data, applied for it and received approval; until they sell it to whomever wants to buy it.

For a while Marshall's of Cambridge was converting the L-1011's to freighter version and Aeronavali does a great deal of DC-10/MD-11 conversions.

Reason that a glass cockpit hasn't been done for the L-1011 is that you have to develop an STC for it and that takes time and money, besides there aren't a whole lot of these flying around anymore.

Last I say Arrow was still flying their L-1011.


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Starlionblue
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RE: Three Engine Aircraft Popular Cargo Airplanes

Thu Jul 22, 2004 7:19 am

Old thread rearing it's head  Big grin

Anyway I thought of the following for the MD-11F (of which LH Cargo took the last few). At the end of the production run, any additional orders are just additional gravy. Investments in design, testing, tooling and so on are all (hopefully) paid for. In any case the airframer is in a situation where a very low price can be offered, and the waiting period is very short compared to a well-selling mainliner.

A good reason for the MD-11F to have sold for quite a while after the line would have shut down for purely pax.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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