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LHMark
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The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 4:20 am

In the latest issue of Wired Magazine, there's a feature called: "The Worst Stupid Engineering Mistakes." Out of ten, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 takes fifth place. According to the piece:

Nearly a thousand people around the world lost their lives while the kinks were being ironed out of this 290-ton competitor to the Boeing 747. Blown-out cargo doors, shredded hydraulic lines, ad engines dropped midflight were just a few of the behemoth's early problems.

Ouch. Pretty harsh.
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Stitch
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 4:21 am

The DC-10 was also showcased on one of the "Engineering Disasters" episodes on The History Channel's "Modern Marvels" series for many of those same reaons.
 
DouglasDC10
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 4:44 am

Quoting LHMARK (Thread starter):
Nearly a thousand people around the world lost their lives while the kinks were being ironed out of this 290-ton competitor to the Boeing 747.

Let's start with the first error: The DC-10 was not designed as a 747 competitor but to fill the gap between the smaller DC-8 and 707 and the larger 747.

Quoting LHMARK (Thread starter):
Blown-out cargo doors

Yes, it was an early design problem which was revealed in the early test phase but was believed to be solved. When it appeared again during the Windsor incident, a service bulletin was issued which included a new door closing system. The airlines were not very fast in refitting the doors with United Airlines being the fastest carrier to comply with the bulletin: It needed 129 days to refit the whole fleet. American, Continental and National needed over 300 days! The THY aircraft involved in the only fatal accident involving such a cargo door was not refitted. Although clearly a design fault, the airlines were not very cooperative on that.

Quoting LHMARK (Thread starter):
ad engines dropped

Manuals are issued to ensure right maintenance. When it is not complied with the instructions given, it may result in failures and even heavy accidents. The accident mentioned from 1979 was surely not a design fault.

Quoting LHMARK (Thread starter):
a few of the behemoth's early problems.

What were the other ones worth to talk about?

Some other questions:

Why is it sill around in such high numbers? Around 50% of all DC-10/KC-10 built are still active while similar aged aircraft like 747-100/200/SP A300B2/B4 and L-1011 don't have such a high survival rate.

Why is it setting and breaking records for longevity? Around 20 DC-10s have reached the 100 000 hrs maark which is not achieved by many airliners in general. Some DC-10s have surpassed the 120 000.

If that was a stupid engineering mistake - then what was the Concorde or the Tu-144?
 
OPNLguy
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 4:50 am

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
The THY aircraft involved in the only fatal accident involving such a cargo door was not refitted.

True, but it can easily and convincingly be argued that Ship 29 should have been modified, since it was one of six "orphans" from a cancelled Japanese order that were never delivered and was in McD's possession before it was later sold (along with 2 others) to THY.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
satx
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 5:02 am

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
Let's start with the first error: The DC-10 was not designed as a 747 competitor but to fill the gap between the smaller DC-8 and 707 and the larger 747.

Although an error to an airline fan, how significant is this error in the larger context? My answer: Not very.

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
Although clearly a design fault, the airlines were not very cooperative on that.

Unless you're saying the airlines were being less cooperative just to this one specific aircraft, I don't see the significance. A design flaw is a design flaw nonetheless.

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):

Why is it sill around in such high numbers?

1. Issues were eventually resolved (doesn't change the view of the article)
2. Freight carriers loved it (might not keep loving it if fuel keeps going up)

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
If that was a stupid engineering mistake - then what was the Concorde or the Tu-144?

Depends on how you look at it. Personally, even though I'm an aircaft fan, I can still see how the Concorde was a complete waste of money, time, and resources for the average tax payer. Who would have ever thought it would cost the average Joe Taxpayer just to fly a select few upper-crust folks faster than the rest of us. The Tu-144, well, I'm not sure how anyone could consider it a roaring success.
A300 319 320 321 332 333 388 B727 732 733 735 737 738 739 742 743 744 752 753 763 764 772 77E 77L 773 77W 788 789 C200 700 900 DHC2 DC9 E145 170 175 190 F100 MD81 82 83 87 88 90 | 38 Lines 44 Craft 58 Ports
 
DouglasDC10
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 5:07 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 3):
True, but it can easily and convincingly be argued that Ship 29 should have been modified, since it was one of six "orphans" from a cancelled Japanese order that were never delivered and was in McD's possession before it was later sold (along with 2 others) to THY.

I think that the aircraft were stored at Long Beach, but owned by Mitsui (the leasing company which would have acted as lessor for ANA). I can be wrong on this, so correct me, if you can clarify. I am not going to defend the actions of MDD at that moment as they could have refitted the aircraft as it was in Long Beach. However, also THY did not care about refitting and took delivery of the aircraft along with ship 33 which wasn't refitted either. I just wanted to clarify that it is NOT ONLY McDonnell Douglas to be blemaed, but the airlines too.

regards

DouglasDC10
 
highpeaklad
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 5:15 am

It is understandable. When I was growing up I think the DC10 was the only plane I would have been concerned to fly on. This was due to the ORD accident, the THY crash and the NZ Erebus crash. If I remember correctly the fleet was grounded at one point which is pretty significant. Now the problems have been sorted out I would have no qualms about it even though they're getting on a bit now. Its just the adverse press generated from a series of incidents, a bit like the Comet saga but in a much more media savvy age.

Chris
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flydreamliner
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 5:30 am

Quoting LHMARK (Thread starter):
Nearly a thousand people around the world lost their lives while the kinks were being ironed out of this 290-ton competitor to the Boeing 747. Blown-out cargo doors, shredded hydraulic lines, ad engines dropped midflight were just a few of the behemoth's early problems.

Hmm, it's too bad the people at wired don't do their research. The DC-10 has a fairly average rate of serious accidents. 2,800 people have lost their lives in 747s, and many of those were aircraft failure related. I'm not sure why the DC-10 is singled out. Someone should tell Northwest about the DC-10 being a failure, because I believe their transatlantic DC-10-30s have some of the highest average flight hours per day and per year of any airliners crossing the atlantic, and have done so in complete safety, after decades of faithful service. Human error and airlines being slow to inspect and update their aircraft was a major factor in many of the DC-10s crashes.

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
If that was a stupid engineering mistake - then what was the Concorde or the Tu-144?

Yeah, I think TU-144 killed some pilots in an airshow, and then only ever saw mail service? And corcorde has the worst safety reccord of any commercial jet in modern time, aside from never being profitable to build or opperate, and being possibly the greatest sales dissapointment ever.
"Let the world change you, and you can change the world"
 
Hardkor
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 5:49 am

If they look at incident/rotation ratios, doesn't the DC-10 actually fare better than aircraft such as the MD-11, Concorde and 747?
Hardkor
 
seanp11
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 7:38 am

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
Manuals are issued to ensure right maintenance. When it is not complied with the instructions given, it may result in failures and even heavy accidents. The accident mentioned from 1979 was surely not a design fault.

Lets not kid ourselves here, the engine seperation at to the American -10 at Ohare happened due to the fault of the airline, but what actually brought down that flight was both hydraulic lines being routed together, being severed by the engine seperation. Then when the Copilot, following the engine out procedures pitched up to slow to V2, causing the lines to drain, and the slats retracted. Then the left wing stalled, the copilot had no stick shaker, so he did not know his wing was stalling, until it was too late.

Most of those things have been fixed, but they never changed the routing of the hydraulic lines IIRC.

However, according to www.airsafe.com, the 747 has a higher accident rate than the DC-10. The DC-10 most certainly had some serious teething issues, but I wouldn't call it a mistake.
 
Go3Team
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 7:52 am

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 9):
the copilot had no stick shaker

Which could also point the finger back at the airline, who did not order the stick shaker for the copilot. They only ordered it for the left side.

Some of my most memorable flights have been on DC-10s. A few rides with UA back in the 80's and most recently, a flight to LGW on NW. The ride on NW was most likely my last on a DC-10, so I made sure to enjoy it, and I did. A lot of people complain about the interior on NW's 10s, but I found no problem with it. I am a person of size, and found the seats to be comfortable. I can't say the same about the MD11 flight I had with DL a few years earlier.
Yay Pudding!
 
CptGermany
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 7:56 am

Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 7):
And corcorde has the worst safety reccord of any commercial jet in modern time

Well, it's all statistics. Also, the only Concorde crash was actually caused by a part that fell off a CO DC-10 which took off right before. The Concorde rolled right over it, the tire burst and the rest is history. What irony!

Besides, the Concorde was an economical failure because of the surge in oil prices in 1973. OAPEC nations stopped exporting oil to countries who supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War against Syria and Egypt. In 1974, the world oil prices quadrupled.

Before the 1973 oil crisis, the Concorde was actually very successful. Many, what we would nowadays call, blue-chip airlines ordered the SST, such as BA, BOAC, AF, LH, PA, TWA, QA, AC, AA, etc. This link shows all orders with paint schemes: Concorde Orders.

[Edited 2006-05-22 00:58:36]
 
PhilSquares
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 8:19 am

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
Why is it sill around in such high numbers? Around 50% of all DC-10/KC-10 built are still active while similar aged aircraft like 747-100/200/SP A300B2/B4 and L-1011 don't have such a high survival rate.



Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
Let's start with the first error: The DC-10 was not designed as a 747 competitor but to fill the gap between the smaller DC-8 and 707 and the larger 747.

You can't have it both ways. If you're going to take the position the DC-10 can't be compared to the 747 then you can't talk about airframes being built still in service.

Quoting Hardkor (Reply 8):
If they look at incident/rotation ratios, doesn't the DC-10 actually fare better than aircraft such as the MD-11, Concorde and 747?
Hardkor



Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 9):
However, according to www.airsafe.com, the 747 has a higher accident rate than the DC-10. The DC-10 most certainly had some serious teething issues, but I wouldn't call it a mistake.

I would hardly call airsafe.com a reliable source. Take a look at the Boeing Statistical Summary. The latest one is May 2005 which has 1959-2004 statistics. You will find the DC-10 has a hull loss rate of 2.71/million departures while the 747 has a rate of 2.12. If you want to compare the MD-11/744 the rate is 3.45/0.75.
Fly fast, live slow
 
khobar
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 8:19 am

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 9):
Most of those things have been fixed, but they never changed the routing of the hydraulic lines IIRC.

They installed a locking mechanism that prevents slat retraction in the event of loss of hydraulic pressure.
 
SPREE34
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 8:31 am

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 9):
Then when the Copilot, following the engine out procedures pitched up to slow to V2, causing the lines to drain, and the slats retracted.

????? Then the Copilot.....huh.....What???? The lines were emptying without any help from the Copilot, they were ripped apart.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
khobar
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 8:35 am

Hull loss accidents - Worldwide Commercial Jet Fleet, 1959-2004

747-100/200/300/SP = 2.12
747-400 = 0.75

DC-10 = 2.71
MD-11 = 3.45

http://www.boeing.com/news/techissues/pdf/statsum.pdf

Make of it what you will.
 
seanp11
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 9:04 am

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 14):
????? Then the Copilot.....huh.....What???? The lines were emptying without any help from the Copilot, they were ripped apart.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm going off of what the History channel said about this, IIRC, one of the changes they made after the crash was modifying the engine out procedures so that instead of saying "Climb out at V2" they say "Climb out at V2 or above."

Quoting Khobar (Reply 13):
They installed a locking mechanism that prevents slat retraction in the event of loss of hydraulic pressure.

Thanks for the info.  Smile
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 9:51 am

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
Why is it sill around in such high numbers? Around 50% of all DC-10/KC-10 built are still active while similar aged aircraft like 747-100/200/SP A300B2/B4 and L-1011 don't have such a high survival rate.

Why is it setting and breaking records for longevity? Around 20 DC-10s have reached the 100 000 hrs maark which is not achieved by many airliners in general. Some DC-10s have surpassed the 120 000.

There are many B-747s that also have in excess of 100,000 hours on them, too. While it is true there are still a lot of DC/MD-10s still flying, the same can also be said for the classic B-747s, and TZ just completed D checks on the L-1011s, so they will be around for years, in passenger service.There were 3X the number of B-747s built compared to the DC-10, the DC-10 was built about 2X over the L-1011.

But, all this means is that well maintaned aircraft can fly almost indefinetly. Just look at the DC-8 and B-707.

Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 7):
Hmm, it's too bad the people at wired don't do their research. The DC-10 has a fairly average rate of serious accidents. 2,800 people have lost their lives in 747s, and many of those were aircraft failure related

The B-747 has also flown 6 times as many people, as the DC-10, 3X the number of flying hours. Which B-747 accidents can be blaimed on the design of the B-747? Even the JAL B-747-SR accident was caused by a faulty repair, not a faulty design.

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 9):
However, according to www.airsafe.com, the 747 has a higher accident rate than the DC-10. The DC-10 most certainly had some serious teething issues, but I wouldn't call it a mistake.

I would use a more reliabale site than airsafe.com, as they are wrong. The DC-10 suffered more from being rushed to catch up with Boeing and Lockheed. Had the engineers had more time to design it, it could have had a smoother entery into service, like the L-1011 did.

BTW, did you know that McD had to buy the cargo door locking design from Boeing to fix the cargo door problem? Boeing sold them the KC-135 cargo door locking system.
 
darrenthe747
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:38 am

http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/boeing.htm

i don't know how reliable this website's information is, but most of these stories sound familiar. My understanding of the 747's history is that most of the crashes in its history were mostly caused by human error or malicious acts. Definitely take notice to the major crashes in the 747's history...

Tenerife crash, definitely pilot error
Lockerbie crash, bomb
Lufthansa crash in Nairobi, pilot error
Air India crash due to failed attitude indicator...without any detailed knowledge on this crash, i would say this is pilot error. Basic IFR training teaches cross referencing instruments and scanning for possible errors in a given instrument.
All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.
 
acidradio
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:57 am

When did Wired become an authority on aircraft? Actually, I didn't think they were an authority on anything other than gimmicky ".com" concepts that are usually a ruse to obtain venture capital, only to be squandered on over-luxurious crap for the scam artist "founders" of the company.

Fine, the DC10 had some crashes. EVERY aircraft of that era has had crashes. We are talking designs from the 1960's. There were no computers or even calculators to use. Sliderules! This is not the 777, which got to fly (so to speak) before it was even printed out on a sheet of paper!

There is a sky full of these machines still flying TODAY, day in and day out. Pretty amazing stuff.
Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
 
WesternA318
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 11:03 am

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 9):
The DC-10 most certainly had some serious teething issues, but I wouldn't call it a mistake.

And although there have been no hull losses, the A318 had its fair share of problems, as well, did it not?
 
cloudy
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 11:10 am

Before bashing Wired you have to remember that they were not talking about the total record of the DC-10. They were talking about its problems EARLY ON. Because of this, it is irrelevant to use today's accident statistics. These were "earned" in literally decades of flying after the flaws which the program talked about were fixed.

The DC-10 did have a frightneningly high accident and incident rate in its first years in service, more so than any other airliner since the Comet(which also commonly makes "Engineering disaster" lists). Some of the early accidents were indeed caused or made worse by design flaws.

IN SHORT.....One can put up straw men to argue against by pointing out how much the DC-10 was improved since its troubled start, or by pointing out that the concept of the DC-10 was indeed valid. One can also. argue about the definitions of terms and about the causes of specific accidents. However, I don't see how it is out of line to say that the early DC-10 design had disastrous flaws. That seems obvious to me - the only way to argue against that statement is to make it say something it does not.
 
Alias1024
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 11:11 am

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 16):
I'm going off of what the History channel said about this, IIRC, one of the changes they made after the crash was modifying the engine out procedures so that instead of saying "Climb out at V2" they say "Climb out at V2 or above."

Before the crash of AA 191, pilots were taught to go to V2 in the event of an engine failure, even if the aircraft was already above that speed. Now, pilots are taught to maintain their airspeed if already above V2. Since AA 191 was already above V2, it is possible that maintaining that speed would have allowed the aircraft to continue climbing, without the damaged wing stalling.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
khobar
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 12:00 pm

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 16):
Thanks for the info

You're welcome. To be more specific:

"On February 19, 1982, McDonnell-Douglas issued DC-10 Service Bulletins 27-187 and 27-189 which modified and changed the leading edge slat control system. The first change modifies the hydraulic valves at the slat actuator to insure that in the event of a broken hydraulic line or lines, the fluid in the actuator would not be ported overboard and that the slats would remain in the commanded position. The second change modifies the slat control system's followup cables to insure that in the event they were subjected to impact damage they would not impart an unwanted command signal to the hydraulic valves in the system. These changes were incorporated into AD 82-03-03. The AD became effective February 25, 1982, and compliance is required "...on or before January 31, 1983, or in accordance with a schedule of accomplishment approved by the Chief, Los Angeles Area Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, Northwest Region."

http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR82-03.pdf
 
isuA380B777
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 12:02 pm

[quote=Highpeaklad,reply=6]It is understandable. When I was growing up I think the DC10 was the only plane I would have been concerned to fly on. This was due to the ORD accident, the THY crash and the NZ Erebus crash.

Erebus crash was not DC10's fault. Please see the following article fore more reference.


http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19791128-0&lang=en
 
cf6ppe
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 12:02 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
I would use a more reliabale site than airsafe.com, as they are wrong. The DC-10 suffered more from being rushed to catch up with Boeing and Lockheed. Had the engineers had more time to design it, it could have had a smoother entery into service, like the L-1011 did.

The L1011 entry into service was hardly a walk in the park.

The first several engine removals (all) for causes made the two launch operators (EA and TW) think that RB.211 meant "remove before 211 hours". Eventually the -22C entry into service engines would last upwards of 800 hours between removals - major overhaul was required to get them back on wing.

Then each of the two launch operators suffered fan disk failures (on wing mounted) engines ~8 and 10 months into service. To deal with the fan disk problems, operators had to remove and inspect the fan disks after 300 flights - Airworthiness Directive requirement. These fan disk removal and replacements were done without removal of the engines. I know that to maintain the schedule, EA removed and replaced a fan disk assembly every day.

Also, remember that the first wide body crash happened at the end of 1972. It was an L1011.... attributed to a nose gear problem. The aircraft sunk into the Everglades west of MIA while the crew was attempting to rectify the problem.

I remember the morning briefings where countless L1011 problems were discussed. Most every day a DC8-6x substituted for an out of service L1011, then one day an L1011 substituted for a DC8.

We thought that we had the world by the tail on a downhill pull...
 
ltbewr
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 12:10 pm

Probably few if any of the people connected with Wired Magazine were even born when the first couple of DC-10's were made or before the AA 191 disaster.
Yes, there were some serious design flaws that were realized about the DC-10 but don't forget this was before the degree of computer technology and engineering procedures we now have. Still MCD created a workhorse aircraft, with many to work many more years in air freight service. I have been on a number of DC-10's including in the early 1980's and never felt any particular fear of them.
 
OPNLguy
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 12:12 pm

Quoting Khobar (Reply 23):
"On February 19, 1982, McDonnell-Douglas issued DC-10 Service Bulletins 27-187 and 27-189 which modified and changed the leading edge slat control system. The first change modifies the hydraulic valves at the slat actuator to insure that in the event of a broken hydraulic line or lines, the fluid in the actuator would not be ported overboard and that the slats would remain in the commanded position. The second change modifies the slat control system's followup cables to insure that in the event they were subjected to impact damage they would not impart an unwanted command signal to the hydraulic valves in the system. These changes were incorporated into AD 82-03-03. The AD became effective February 25, 1982, and compliance is required "...on or before January 31, 1983, or in accordance with a schedule of accomplishment approved by the Chief, Los Angeles Area Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, Northwest Region."

http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/nt...3.pdf

I was at Air Florida when this happened. The Captain, John R., did a superb job, and later went on to Fedex after Air Florida folded a couple of years later.

Could have been really nasty had they gotten airborne...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
OPNLguy
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 12:14 pm

Quoting Cf6ppe (Reply 25):
The first several engine removals (all) for causes made the two launch operators (EA and TW) think that RB.211 meant "remove before 211 hours".

Almost 30 years in the biz and you mentioned one that I'd never heard. Thanks for the laugh...  Wink
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
khobar
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 12:17 pm

Quoting Cf6ppe (Reply 25):
Also, remember that the first wide body crash happened at the end of 1972. It was an L1011.... attributed to a nose gear problem. The aircraft sunk into the Everglades west of MIA while the crew was attempting to rectify the problem.

"For reasons unknown, the autopilot had been switched from Command Mode, to CWS (Control Wheel Steering Mode). In the latter, any small inputs to the flight controls will instruct the autopilot how to alter the airplane's course. In this case, small forward pressure on the steering column would force the plane into a descent. Investigators believe the autopilot accidentally switched modes when the captain leaned against the steering column while turning to speak to the flight engineer, who was sitting behind and to the right of him. Like tapping the brakes in a car that is in cruise control, pressure on the steering column switches the autopilot out of command mode.

The NTSB report cited the cause of the crash as pilot error, specifically: "the failure of the flight crew to monitor the flight instruments during the final four minutes of flight, and to detect an unexpected descent soon enough to prevent impact with the ground. Preoccupation with a malfunction of the nose landing gear position indicating system distracted the crew's attention from the instruments and allowed the descent to go unnoticed."

94 passengers and 5 crewmembers died during the crash and two more died of injuries later. The incident was due to burned-out light bulbs with a replacement value of twelve dollars. The landing gear was found to be in the down and locked position."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Airlines_Flight_401
 
mirrodie
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 12:40 pm

Quoting Acidradio (Reply 19):
When did Wired become an authority on aircraft?

That was my first question when I saw the opening post. You have to consider the source. That might as well have come from Martha Stewarts magazine.

I liked the stats mentioned above. True the DC-10 is not the worst. Funny how Concorde takes that with its single accident.

Statistics are amazing!
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
777fan
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 1:12 pm

Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 7):
2,800 people have lost their lives in 747s, and many of those were aircraft failure related.



Quoting Darrenthe747 (Reply 18):

Lockerbie crash, bomb
Lufthansa crash in Nairobi, pilot error

Let's not forget the KAL crash in Guam, and KAL 007 shootdown - those account for about 600 people, yes?

Suffice to say, some of the DC-10's accidents have been more dramatic in nature. Two infamous crashes (UA 232 and AA 191) happened to be caught on film which adds to the reputation, deserved or not.


777fan
DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
 
ktachiya
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 1:13 pm

Quoting SATX (Reply 4):
Although an error to an airline fan, how significant is this error in the larger context? My answer: Not very

You pointed out that it was insignificant but this was the case I think. Remember the 747-100 was designed with US domestic ops in mind. The solution that Lockheed and Douglas came out with was the L-1011 and the DC-10 which were tri-jet (so they could make their way to Hawaii). So I think you are right at least according to what I read in Japanese aviation magazines.
Flown on: DC-10-30, B747-200B, B747-300, B747-300SR, B747-400, B747-400D, B767-300, B777-200, B777-200ER, B777-300
 
cf6ppe
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 1:14 pm

Quoting Cf6ppe (Reply 25):
Also, remember that the first wide body crash happened at the end of 1972. It was an L1011.... attributed to a nose gear problem. The aircraft sunk into the Everglades west of MIA while the crew was attempting to rectify the problem.

Khobar, thanks for adding the link to Flt 401 info...
 
Woosie
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 1:19 pm

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 12):
You will find the DC-10 has a hull loss rate of 2.71/million departures while the 747 has a rate of 2.12. If you want to compare the MD-11/744 the rate is 3.45/0.75.

I am intimately familiar with that publication. Accident rates are, in part, skewed by the number of airplanes in service. For example, there have been 446 DC-10's (including KC-10A's) manufactured, and only 200 MD-11's. As we all know, five of the MD-11's crashed, so there are a maximu of 195 in service (I think a couple are being stored as we speak). There are well over 1000 747's manufactured. This difference makes the ratios seem worse than they are, given the random nature of accident chains.

What's really amazing is no 777 has had an accident - there's over 500 in service!! Airbus has a terrific safety record with the A330/A340 too.
 
satx
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 1:35 pm

Quoting Woosie (Reply 34):

What's really amazing is no 777 has had an accident - there's over 500 in service!!

Unknown to most people, the 777 is actually controlled by Skynet. Thus, it has a perfect operational record.
A300 319 320 321 332 333 388 B727 732 733 735 737 738 739 742 743 744 752 753 763 764 772 77E 77L 773 77W 788 789 C200 700 900 DHC2 DC9 E145 170 175 190 F100 MD81 82 83 87 88 90 | 38 Lines 44 Craft 58 Ports
 
PhilSquares
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 1:38 pm

Quoting Woosie (Reply 34):
I am intimately familiar with that publication. Accident rates are, in part, skewed by the number of airplanes in service. For example, there have been 446 DC-10's (including KC-10A's) manufactured, and only 200 MD-11's. As we all know, five of the MD-11's crashed, so there are a maximu of 195 in service (I think a couple are being stored as we speak). There are well over 1000 747's manufactured. This difference makes the ratios seem worse than they are, given the random nature of accident chains.

Well, what would you suggest as a methodology for comparing them? You could use rate/flight hours but flight hours would be very difficult to asertain. I think the rate based on departures is a fair comparison. But just compairing raw numbers you will note the 747 (SP/100/200/300) has lost 26 hulls and the DC-10/KC-10 has lost 23. Even on that comparison alone the DC-10 doesn't look that great. I would argue that you'd need to take the KC-10 out of the comparison since they're really not operated within the same constraints as the DC-10. If you do that, the statistics look even worse.
Fly fast, live slow
 
gg190
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 4:49 pm

Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 7):
And corcorde has the worst safety reccord of any commercial jet in modern time, aside from never being profitable to build or opperate, and being possibly the greatest sales dissapointment ever.

BA found Concorde quite profitable for some time. (However they may not of done had they paid more than £1 for each aircraft) But I agree it was a massive commercial failure.
 
cricket
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 6:04 pm

First, Wired is definitely one of the best magazines on the market!

Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 7):
The DC-10 has a fairly average rate of serious accidents. 2,800 people have lost their lives in 747s, and many of those were aircraft failure related.

Huh? If you add up Tenerife, KAL007, Kanishka and Lockerbie (impatience, shot down and terrorism - hardly the airframes fault) - you get over 1000 lives. Only the JAL accident over Japan and TWA 800 could be considered the 747's serious engineering malfunctions.
Plus keep in mind, a lot of the DC-10 incidents occured over a very short period of time - the article clearly mentions the early lifetime of the aircraft - so mentioning statistics over a 20 year period will skew data to prove your point.
been there, flown that
 
RichardPrice
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 6:38 pm

Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 7):
And corcorde has the worst safety reccord of any commercial jet in modern time, aside from never being profitable to build or opperate,

This is a falacy, Concorde was one of BAs most profitable programmes right up until 9/11. Once they had bought out the government share in the 1980s, BA went on to price the seats at a level which saw the aircraft make quite a bit of money for them.

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 37):

BA found Concorde quite profitable for some time. (However they may not of done had they paid more than £1 for each aircraft)

Also, the '£1 for each aircraft' is false, BA paid £155million for their fleet of aircraft, and paid a further £16million in 1984 for the government share and spare parts backorder. There was one additional airframe from dropped options that was purchased unfurnished with no avionics or cabin fittings from the manufacturers for £1,000 plus £100 per engine.
 
gg190
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 7:20 pm

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 40):
Also, the '£1 for each aircraft' is false, BA paid £155million for their fleet of aircraft, and paid a further £16million in 1984 for the government share and spare parts backorder. There was one additional airframe from dropped options that was purchased unfurnished with no avionics or cabin fittings from the manufacturers for £1,000 plus £100 per engine.

Yes but the initial figure for buying the fleet was loaned to BA by the government, a loan which was written off when BA was privatised, so they didn't really pay it.
 
RichardPrice
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 7:22 pm

Quoting Gg190 (Reply 41):
Yes but the initial figure for buying the fleet was loaned to BA by the government, a loan which was written off when BA was privatised, so they didn't really pay it.

Again, the loan was not written off, it was recovered in the £900million UKP that the Government received due to the privitisation. The loan was marked as paid in full.
 
DAYflyer
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:10 pm

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):



Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
Quoting LHMARK (Thread starter):
Nearly a thousand people around the world lost their lives while the kinks were being ironed out of this 290-ton competitor to the Boeing 747.

Let's start with the first error: The DC-10 was not designed as a 747 competitor but to fill the gap between the smaller DC-8 and 707 and the larger 747.

Quoting LHMARK (Thread starter):
Blown-out cargo doors

Yes, it was an early design problem which was revealed in the early test phase but was believed to be solved. When it appeared again during the Windsor incident, a service bulletin was issued which included a new door closing system. The airlines were not very fast in refitting the doors with United Airlines being the fastest carrier to comply with the bulletin: It needed 129 days to refit the whole fleet. American, Continental and National needed over 300 days! The THY aircraft involved in the only fatal accident involving such a cargo door was not refitted. Although clearly a design fault, the airlines were not very cooperative on that.

Quoting LHMARK (Thread starter):
ad engines dropped

Manuals are issued to ensure right maintenance. When it is not complied with the instructions given, it may result in failures and even heavy accidents. The accident mentioned from 1979 was surely not a design fault.

Quoting LHMARK (Thread starter):
a few of the behemoth's early problems.

What were the other ones worth to talk about?

Some other questions:

Why is it sill around in such high numbers? Around 50% of all DC-10/KC-10 built are still active while similar aged aircraft like 747-100/200/SP A300B2/B4 and L-1011 don't have such a high survival rate.

Why is it setting and breaking records for longevity? Around 20 DC-10s have reached the 100 000 hrs maark which is not achieved by many airliners in general. Some DC-10s have surpassed the 120 000.

If that was a stupid engineering mistake - then what was the Concorde or the Tu-144?

A good job of setting the record straight. I used to buy into the "lousy design" rhetoric too until I got the facts. The 1979 crash in Chicago was clearly AA's fault. What was the cause of Paris? And we all the now know the cargo door was, in fact, poorly designed.
One Nation Under God
 
CF188A
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:23 pm

I do find it remotely ironic that the Air France Concorde crash was indeed caused by a Continental DC-10...which if I'm not mistaken , the piece that fell off is not legal on aircraft due to the fact it will not "flatten" if an aircraft passes over it...... any thoughts?
Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow~ RIP ... LJFM
 
RichardPrice
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:31 pm

Quoting CF188A (Reply 43):
any thoughts?

Yes, lets not do this again.
 
OPNLguy
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:36 pm

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 42):
What was the cause of Paris? And we all the now know the cargo door was, in fact, poorly designed.

Not the door, but the latching mechanism...

You might want to find a copy of "Destination Disaster", which was a book written in the mid-1970s, after the 1974 THY accident near Paris. There's an entire chapter dedicated to discussion of how MDD changed the design of the cargo door latching systems to something the Convair (fuselage sub-contractor) engineers called "fundamentally less positive." One Convair engineer, Dan Applegate wrote a scathing memo (the title of book chapter is "The Applegate Memorandum") about the degradation in safety, and he made the comment "It seems to me inevitable that, in the twenty years ahead of us, DC-10 cargo doors will come open, and I expect this to usually result in the loss of the plane." This was before the THY crash in 1974, and before AA's 1972 Detroit/Windsor incident.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/081...-8959024-9785726?v=glance&n=283155

Although this book was primarily a discussion on the DC-10 accident, the three authors did a great job (IMHO) in weaving in the history of the industry, and showing everyone how the industry developed, and how manufacturers operated. Published in 1976, the book is obviously dated, and I wish the same three could do an update on what's transpired in the last 30 years since.

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 5):
I think that the aircraft were stored at Long Beach, but owned by Mitsui (the leasing company which would have acted as lessor for ANA). I can be wrong on this, so correct me, if you can clarify. I am not going to defend the actions of MDD at that moment as they could have refitted the aircraft as it was in Long Beach. However, also THY did not care about refitting and took delivery of the aircraft along with ship 33 which wasn't refitted either.

Perhaps the reason that THY "didn't care" was because MDD paperwork (including QC inspection stamps) indicated that the modification work had already been completed, when in fact, it hadn't been. All this is covered in great detail in the book I mentioned above.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
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TheRedBaron
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:39 pm

Wired= A magazine written by stupid wannabees.

DC10=A great Plane with bad accidents due to bad luck, manteniance, or human error.

I´d Fly a DC10 anyday.... Western Airlines (if posible)
The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
 
cricket
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:40 pm

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 42):
A good job of setting the record straight. I used to buy into the "lousy design" rhetoric too until I got the facts. The 1979 crash in Chicago was clearly AA's fault. What was the cause of Paris? And we all the now know the cargo door was, in fact, poorly designed.

You contradict yourself here - if in one breath you say you don't believe in the lousy design rhetoric - and then you admit that the cargo was badly designed.
The fact of the matter is that this bad design cost the lives of real people in Paris. Not my relatives or yours, but they were someones relatives, it wasn't poor maintenence (TWA800) or terrorism (Air India, Lockerbie) but plain and simple poor design.
There are arguments that can say that well, they didn't know. True. But at the end of the day, I don't think the article is wrong in its ultimate analysis - in the mid-70's the DC-10 had a miserable reputation.
That said, thirty years on, things have changed.
been there, flown that
 
Dougloid
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:40 pm

Quoting Acidradio (Reply 19):
When did Wired become an authority on aircraft? Actually, I didn't think they were an authority on anything other than gimmicky ".com" concepts that are usually a ruse to obtain venture capital, only to be squandered on over-luxurious crap for the scam artist "founders" of the company.

Absolutely correct. Buncha fucking morons stirring up old shit because they can't think of anything new to say.

Quoting DouglasDC10 (Reply 2):
Yes, it was an early design problem which was revealed in the early test phase but was believed to be solved. When it appeared again during the Windsor incident, a service bulletin was issued which included a new door closing system. The airlines were not very fast in refitting the doors with United Airlines being the fastest carrier to comply with the bulletin: It needed 129 days to refit the whole fleet. American, Continental and National needed over 300 days! The THY aircraft involved in the only fatal accident involving such a cargo door was not refitted. Although clearly a design fault, the airlines were not very cooperative on that.

Now fellas, let's don't forget the titanic efforts that the *baggage handler* made in the Turkish Airways crash. As I recall he was illiterate and therefore couldn't read the instructions and forced the door shut, damaging it to the point that it fooled the idiot lights.

The design fault, if design fault there was, was in building a cargo door that could be buggered shut by morons and indicate safe when it was not.

I may be the only person on a.net who has actually spent any time with the things as I was certified to rig and inspect cargo doors, passenger doors, and airpack doors on the MD11.

[Edited 2006-05-22 15:57:10]
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
ord
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RE: The DC-10 Takes A Beating From Wired

Mon May 22, 2006 10:44 pm

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 42):
I used to buy into the "lousy design" rhetoric too until I got the facts. The 1979 crash in Chicago was clearly AA's fault.

There was not one sole factor that caused the crash of AA 191. Yes, AA contributed to the crash because of their maintenace practices. But the DC-10's design also played a role. Because the DC-10 had the main and backup hydraulic lines routed together, and all were ripped when the engine came off, there was no backup. Both the 747 and L-1011 had backups routed away from the main lines so in the event of an unforseen catastrophe like 191 there would be a backup.

Again, there is no question AA's maintenance started the domino effect leading to the crash. But the fact is if AA 191 had been a 747 or L-1011 and an engine ripped off there most likely would not have been a crash.

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