Legend90
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Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 10:11 am

So I know Mcdonnell Douglas has a pretty patchy history with its aircraft and stuff (e.g.DC10, which eventually got fixed), but one of its last planes, the MD11, is it really that dodgy to fly? Like I've also heard how hard it is to land, such as the detection if the aircraft has even touched down (e.g. Lufthansa Cargo Flight 8460 which crashed). Also, are the MD11's cockpit outdated now, and lacking proper technology considered they were made in the 1990s?
 
32andBelow
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 2:29 pm

Cockpit doesn’t look outdated. This fedex one is full glass.

https://youtu.be/pZeF3MW-oMY
 
ORDfan101
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 2:31 pm

It was just at the wrong time
 
Flanker7
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 2:40 pm

Flying blue only if possible
 
YYZYYT
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 2:44 pm

touchy on landing yes, but "dodgy" is farther than I would go. There is a good discussion in tech/ops:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1400953


Also, I wouldn't go so far as to say that MD had a history of dodgy aircraft, either. While the DC-10 certainly had issues, others such as the DC 8 and 9 have proven to be dependable workhorses, over many decades.

Flanker7: beat me too it! :irked:
Last edited by YYZYYT on Tue May 28, 2019 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
XT6Wagon
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 2:45 pm

Its ok in the passenger configuration, but the high max landing weight of the cargo version is what makes it seem less safe than normal for the time.
 
DFW17L
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 3:31 pm

Not this again.
 
Flanker7
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 3:48 pm

YYZYYT wrote:
touchy on landing yes, but "dodgy" is farther than I would go. There is a good discussion in tech/ops:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1400953


Also, I wouldn't go so far as to say that MD had a history of dodgy aircraft, either. While the DC-10 certainly had issues, others such as the DC 8 and 9 have proven to be dependable workhorses, over many decades.

Flanker7: beat me too it! :irked:


Sorry about that :lol:
Flying blue only if possible
 
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sassiciai
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 4:33 pm

It's a bit late to ask this question, as the majority of these aircraft are retired

A better title would use "was" instead of "is"

Where have you been hiding for the last 20 years?
 
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sassiciai
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 4:38 pm

....and while I'm remembering all these years ago, Douglas built some fabulous aircraft

Consider the DC-3

DC-6

DC-7

DC-8 in all its variants

DC-9

Douglas had a shining reputation with these products. Something went wrong in the days of the DC-10, and the company became vulnerable and eventually failed!
 
kabq737
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 4:50 pm

I’m not going to bother with flying characteristics as that’s been widely discussed before.

As for the flight deck it’s still pretty great. The screens are large and the software is known to be good. Many pilots prefer it over Boeing or Airbus systems of the era.
Been on: 320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 738, 739, 744, 752, 763, 764, 772, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, MD83, MD88, MD90, E70, E75, E90, TRIM
Flown: SEEKER, C150M C172N, C172R, C172S, C182RG, DA40, PA-46
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SEPilot
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 5:24 pm

What went wrong with the DC-10 and DC-11 was that Douglas was bought out by McDonnell, who had never built a commercial airliner and had no idea how to do it. All of the others had learned by experience that the FAA safety requirements were just the starting point; you designed an airliner to be as safe as you possibly could. With military planes once you met the specifications you were done. And the McDonnell engineers were in the drivers’ seat on the DC-10 and MD-11 design. They took many shortcuts that Boeing, Douglas, Convair, and Lockheed engineers would never have done, and some of them came back to bite, hard (many of them having to do with how hydraulic lines were routed). The big problem with the MD-11 was that they were unwilling to spend the money to give it a new wing. And they compensated by using very high wing loading and “relaxed” stability to reduce drag, which is what makes it dodgy on landing. It also has the main landing gear mounted to the bottom of the wing spar, meaning that with a too hard landing the wing spar breaks instead of the landing gear breaking off, which is what happens with every other jetliner that I know. I know no other plane that has ever flipped on its back during a bad landing. Several MD-11s and one DC-10 (UA232) have done it.

So then after destroying Douglas the McDonnell people came close to doing the same after McDonnell bought Boeing with Boeing’s money. After the “merger” McDonnell people were heavily salted throughout Boeing corporate hierarchy, and this was when Boeing made some of its worst decisions.

But, to be fair, KLM has proved that the MD-11 CAN be operated safely. They have flown probably more passenger miles on the MD-11 than any other airline, and never had an accident.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 5:29 pm

MD-11s have been flying nearly 30 years. The safety data speak for themselves.
 
cschleic
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 5:45 pm

So many of these question posts seem to be from OPs who joined very recently. And this one has been discussed many times before....searching would provide an answer.
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 6:06 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
MD-11s have been flying nearly 30 years. The safety data speak for themselves.

Yes, it does. The MD-11 has by far the worst safety record of any large airliner introduced since the mid 80s with the exception of the MAX.
http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/rate_mod.htm
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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flyPIT
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 6:15 pm

Flanker7 wrote:
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1400953&hilit=MD+11

Discussed at length here

Another spirited discussion:
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1414281


cschleic wrote:
So many of these question posts seem to be from OPs who joined very recently. And this one has been discussed many times before....searching would provide an answer.

As if the A.net search function (the MD-11 of search functions) works properly. Case in point, the very topic I linked above I had to use google to find. Typing the topic title verbatim in the A.net search function and selecting "topic titles only" yields no results.
FLYi
 
Revo1059
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 6:32 pm

AA people at ORD I used to deal with in my airline days nicknamed it the MD-911
 
DarthLobster
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 7:06 pm

SEPilot wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
MD-11s have been flying nearly 30 years. The safety data speak for themselves.

Yes, it does. The MD-11 has by far the worst safety record of any large airliner introduced since the mid 80s with the exception of the MAX.
http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/rate_mod.htm


The 737 is a large airliner now?
 
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Boeing757rb211
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 7:18 pm

Not only "Is the Max a large aircraft now" like stated above.... But unless i need to get my meds checked i also wasn't aware that the Max came out in the 80's like some of the other "main" aircraft currently being discussed.
 
YYZYYT
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 7:22 pm

SEPilot wrote:
Several MD-11s and one DC-10 (UA232) have done it.



Not to quibble, but UA 232 was not a hard landing -> broken wing spar -> roll, it literally cartwheeled across the field due to loss of control because of the hydraulic routing issue.

Someone posted in the tech ops thread (I think) that an essential factor in the wingspar rolls is that cargo flights tend to operate with higher weights. This may be why the rolling happened mostly with cargo flights, and not passenger flights (and yes, I'm aware of the Mandarin crash. I said "mostly" )
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 10:45 pm

DarthLobster wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
MD-11s have been flying nearly 30 years. The safety data speak for themselves.

Yes, it does. The MD-11 has by far the worst safety record of any large airliner introduced since the mid 80s with the exception of the MAX.
http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/rate_mod.htm


The 737 is a large airliner now?

Yes, by large airliner I am referring to mainline airliners as opposed to commuters.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Tue May 28, 2019 11:02 pm

YYZYYT wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
Several MD-11s and one DC-10 (UA232) have done it.



Not to quibble, but UA 232 was not a hard landing -> broken wing spar -> roll, it literally cartwheeled across the field due to loss of control because of the hydraulic routing issue.

Someone posted in the tech ops thread (I think) that an essential factor in the wingspar rolls is that cargo flights tend to operate with higher weights. This may be why the rolling happened mostly with cargo flights, and not passenger flights (and yes, I'm aware of the Mandarin crash. I said "mostly" )

UA232 was certainly a very unusual case, but in watching the video of the crash it appeared to me that one wing did break, and the plane (what was left of it) did end up on its back. It did not get any attention at the time because it was not the cause of the crash, and the MD-11 did not yet exist and hence had not done any of its disastrous landings. The DC-10 was clearly much better mannered in its landings, but I believe that UA232 showed that if you hit the ground hard enough with it it would have done the same thing. The fact that the DC-10 was quite a bit lighter than the MD-11 certainly helped. But one wingspar roll was a passenger aircraft, a China Airlines MD-11 that crashed at Hong Kong in 1999.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
Aptivaboy
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 12:54 am

Douglas had a shining reputation with these products. Something went wrong in the days of the DC-10, and the company became vulnerable and eventually failed!


There's a relatively famous quote about how the DC-10 was too much McDonnell and not enough Douglas. I think that sums it up perfectly. Douglas was known for building solid, reliable and exceptionally robust airframes. After the merger, the DC-10 lost a lot of that pedigree.
 
prebennorholm
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 3:39 am

SEPilot wrote:
But, to be fair, KLM has proved that the MD-11 CAN be operated safely. They have flown probably more passenger miles on the MD-11 than any other airline, and never had an accident.

Yes, thank God KLM never bent an MD-11.

But imagine that they had had one accident. Just one. And that was a statistical norm for an airline operating 10 planes for up to 20 years. Extrapolate that to the world wide MD-11 fleet since EIS, then we should statistically have witnesed 25-30 MD-11 accidents by today.

Or try to extrapolate that accident rate to the world wide 767 / 777 / A330 / A340 fleets. I dare not calculate how many hundred potential accidents that would indicate.

Great that KLM kept their MD-11 nose clean, but it doesn't prove anything. One KLM MD-11 accident would mean a most horrible accident rate.

Airlines like KLM should have a clean nose. Which they also have since the Teneriffe Disaster 42 years ago. This century they have a B734 nose gear collapse and a small panel falling from a B777 smashing a car window in Osaka, Japan.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
NYCAAer
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 3:59 am

Revo1059 wrote:
AA people at ORD I used to deal with in my airline days nicknamed it the MD-911


We also used to call it the MD-Lemon. Then we used to joke that AA was going to paint them blue so that they would match the ground equipment, because they didn’t fly. From a flight attendant perspective, though, I always liked working aboard it. The Pacific configuration we had was easier to work than the later Atlantic configuration we used on JFK-LHR.
 
1989worstyear
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 4:11 am

The cockpit technology is the same as any A320, A330, 737NG, or 777 rolling off the line today. All of those except for the 737NG were from the '90s (the "late" part of any decade belongs to the next one).
Stuck at age 15 thanks to the certification date of the A320-200 and my parents' decision to postpone having a kid by 3 years. At least there's Dignitas...
 
Max Q
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 6:25 am

SEPilot wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
MD-11s have been flying nearly 30 years. The safety data speak for themselves.

Yes, it does. The MD-11 has by far the worst safety record of any large airliner introduced since the mid 80s with the exception of the MAX.
http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/rate_mod.htm




The facts don’t lie
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society
 
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scbriml
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 6:48 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
MD-11s have been flying nearly 30 years. The safety data speak for themselves.


It does. It's bad.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
There are 10 types of people in the World - those that understand binary and those that don't.
 
Legend90
Topic Author
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 8:37 am

I wouldn't of thought it was that bad of an aircraft since its still operating to this day (even though they are slowly being phased out). Who would want to pilot such an aircraft if they thought they were going to die in the process, compared to newer aircraft (except the 737 MAX).
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 3:40 pm

Legend90 wrote:
I wouldn't of thought it was that bad of an aircraft since its still operating to this day (even though they are slowly being phased out). Who would want to pilot such an aircraft if they thought they were going to die in the process, compared to newer aircraft (except the 737 MAX).

No pilot thinks he is going to die, no matter what he flies. If he did, he wouldn’t be a pilot. And, to be fair, in even the 70s or 80s the MD-11’s record would be excellent. But safety has made tremendous progress, which has made the MD-11 look bad in comparison.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 3:58 pm

SEPilot wrote:
Legend90 wrote:
I wouldn't of thought it was that bad of an aircraft since its still operating to this day (even though they are slowly being phased out). Who would want to pilot such an aircraft if they thought they were going to die in the process, compared to newer aircraft (except the 737 MAX).

No pilot thinks he is going to die, no matter what he flies. If he did, he wouldn’t be a pilot. And, to be fair, in even the 70s or 80s the MD-11’s record would be excellent. But safety has made tremendous progress, which has made the MD-11 look bad in comparison.


I never thought, “it won’t happen to me”; it was more like, “I’ll try like hell to not let it happen to me”. For thirty years, post mid-air, I remained vigilant but thought it could happen to me. I nixed a couple scheduling ideas or crew pairings I thought out at the edges.

Too many funerals, I guess.

GF
 
FX1816
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 5:19 pm

SEPilot wrote:
YYZYYT wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
Several MD-11s and one DC-10 (UA232) have done it.



Not to quibble, but UA 232 was not a hard landing -> broken wing spar -> roll, it literally cartwheeled across the field due to loss of control because of the hydraulic routing issue.

Someone posted in the tech ops thread (I think) that an essential factor in the wingspar rolls is that cargo flights tend to operate with higher weights. This may be why the rolling happened mostly with cargo flights, and not passenger flights (and yes, I'm aware of the Mandarin crash. I said "mostly" )

UA232 was certainly a very unusual case, but in watching the video of the crash it appeared to me that one wing did break, and the plane (what was left of it) did end up on its back. It did not get any attention at the time because it was not the cause of the crash, and the MD-11 did not yet exist and hence had not done any of its disastrous landings. The DC-10 was clearly much better mannered in its landings, but I believe that UA232 showed that if you hit the ground hard enough with it it would have done the same thing. The fact that the DC-10 was quite a bit lighter than the MD-11 certainly helped. But one wingspar roll was a passenger aircraft, a China Airlines MD-11 that crashed at Hong Kong in 1999.



Not sure what you are watching or looking at but UAL232 definitely had nothing to do with a hard landing. Just short of touching down the right wing dropped, struck the ground and cartwheeled. Now if you will, the DC-10 has had a few hard landings. Two that come to mind are N364FE landing in MEM back in 2003 and the other FedEx one in FLL a few years back, neither plane rolled on to its back though.
 
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ojjunior
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 6:00 pm

SEPilot wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
MD-11s have been flying nearly 30 years. The safety data speak for themselves.

Yes, it does. The MD-11 has by far the worst safety record of any large airliner introduced since the mid 80s with the exception of the MAX.
http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/rate_mod.htm


Nice stats, thanks for that.

    Model Rate Flights FLE* Events
    Boeing 737 MAX 7/8/9/10 3.08 0.65M 2.00 2
    Boeing MD11** 0.37 2.79M 1.02 3

It brings me some questions:
How long did the MD-11 last and how long did the MAX before the grounding?
And how many years apart both events?
How was MD-11 technology compared to the Max? What about manufacturing technology either?

This might say something about rushing to launch something...
 
triple3driver
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 6:17 pm

The biggest issues with the MD11 were economical, not safety. However, it did have design flaws that weren't present in other aircraft such as the 747, A320, or even it's predecessor the DC10, which has it's own issues. While they were able to work around these issues, the accidents and number of people dead from MD rushing the 2 programs speak for themselves.
If you can walk away from it intact, it was a good landing!
 
ILNFlyer
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Wed May 29, 2019 8:36 pm

triple3driver wrote:
The biggest issues with the MD11 were economical, not safety.


I was going to say, IIRC, there were some performance issues regarding fuel usage and range which hampered it at the time it entered service.....unfulfilled promises regarding performance.....so potential customers balked......
 
Legend90
Topic Author
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Re: Is the MD11 a dodgy aircraft?

Thu May 30, 2019 9:18 am

ILNFlyer wrote:
triple3driver wrote:
The biggest issues with the MD11 were economical, not safety.


I was going to say, IIRC, there were some performance issues regarding fuel usage and range which hampered it at the time it entered service.....unfulfilled promises regarding performance.....so potential customers balked......

I think they were just saying once the program was done with the fixes etc. But those early issues messed it up for MD, same as the DC10 early issues.

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