LH, not long ago flew the MD-11 to the old Quito airport (Elev 9230 MSL) where I've approached the airport (which lies in a valley) during the night, with thunderstorms, with weight near MLW. To say that one has the same level of adrenaline in these conditions than land a pax-filled MD-11 in Miami on a CAVOK day is hogwash...
Been there, done that. In an MD11, in Quito.
Of particular interest regarding these kinds of conversations is that the majority of those who have deeply held views on the aircraft actually have no knowledge of the aircraft other than what they read on the internet.
Apparently it's enough for expertise.
The MD11 evolved in its operation, with the addition of features and changes, much like many type designs. One really ought not compare mishaps which occurred prior to those developments to those that came after, and needs to look closely at the changes that occurred in the type design and features, which have altered the operation of the aircraft and it's handling.
Several posters have commented on the MD11 having a far aft CG, which is entirely untrue. It doesn't. In fact, a development of the MD11 was the use of tail fuel, in the horizontal stabilizer, to move the CG farther aft; this fuel is pumped aft in flight and moved forward prior to landing to increase cruise efficiency. The ideal CG in the MD11 is 32%, and tail fuel management (TFM) has the ability to move the CG 7% MAC, if certain conditions are met. This also means that depending on the nature of the flight, the CG can be well forward for takeoff and landing, and then adjusted inflight; the adjustment is automatic, as is fuel circulation for temperature.
If the MD11 is flown correctly, it's easy to fly, easy to land, has stellar takeoff performance, hauls a load well, is fuel efficient, and very user-friendly in the cockpit. If it's not flown well, then it falls into the same as any other category of pilot abuse. If the MD11 is flown stabilized and the power managed correctly, not yanked to idle at 100', not flared hard, it lands about like any other aircraft. It handles a crosswind well. It has adequate pitch authority, though many who have no MD11 experience try to make something of a smaller horizontal stabilizer. It uses considerably less control input than a DC10; no big motions. Control use is subtle, and the key to operating it properly is the same principle that every airline teaches around the world: stable operations. Fly it according to the book. Don't chase.
It's comical to hear posters talk about how they breathe a sigh of relief every time a DC10 or MD11 is retired, because they feel for the crews. One doen't hear the crews saying the same thing, or begging to be freed from the trap of flying the airplane, into which they've been forced. Not at all.
With some isolated exceptions, the MD11 mishaps have centered largely around bounced landings; more to the point, around improper handling of the bounced landing.
With multiple hydraulic systems out, the airplane can be a handfull; this is something most understand from the simulator because those problems have not occurred on the MD11, yet. I've landed the MD11 with low hydraulic systems; there is redundancy and it landed perfectly normally.
Many of the mishaps involving the MD11 have occurred in the hands of newer or inexperienced crewmembers. That also needs to be taken into account, as does the operator and nation-state flying the aircraft. Not all are equal, and to draw a picture across the board shows a gross misunderstanding of the type and of safety in general.
The MD11 is not unsafe. It can be operated unsafely. There is a gulf of difference.
The same is true of any other aircraft type, and efforts to compare the 777 to the MD11 or across other fleet types are also demonstrations of ignorance on the subject. It's not the same airplane, not the same operation, and there are too many differences in the operator, type of operation, conditions of operation, etc, that need to be taken into consideration.