blacksoviet
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Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:26 am

It seems like by the late 1980's, airlines were no longer interested in trijets.
 
Antarius
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:38 am

Because the DC 10 had 3 engines. You cant easily take an engine out.

Are you asking why did MD bother making an MD11 when twins were getting popular? Or why didnt MD make a subsequent twin?
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Channex757
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:50 am

It could have been a twin.

About the time the MD-11 was failing in the market for various reasons, McDD were talking to Airbus about sharing their wing technology. This might have had the result of an MD-11 Big Twin derivative with Airbus' Hawker Siddeley expertise designing wings for them capable of carrying the big turbofans. There were after all quite advanced plans for McDD to make a twin of the DC-10 which could have killed a hefty chunk of 767 and A300 sales, but Douglas didn't jump.

The McDonnell Douglas story has several similar events where the company made the wrong decision or failed to invest in products.For an OEM with such a strong and loyal customer base they effectively traded themselves out of existence.
 
747Whale
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:54 am

It was considered, but at that point with other options available, MD had sunk it's eggs into one basket and wasn't going to recover. It stretched the DC-10 as far as it could go, and with the 777 emerging, the MD11 wasn't the change that the airlines wanted.

The MD11 relies on the aircraft operating the flight profile for efficiency. The airlines that began taking the MD11 weren't happy with the efficiency, and didn't find it to match the program predictions. It was largely due to attempts by those operators to use the MD11 the same as other aircraft in their fleet, and that killed the efficiency. The operators didn't take advantage of what the airplane had to offer, and consequently didn't see the performance that it was capable of providing. In many respects the MD11 was well ahead of it's time, and in some respects, it still is.
 
RalXWB
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:26 am

So a stretched DC-10 was/is still ahead of its time? Sorry, but that put a smile on my face...
 
ELBOB
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:18 am

Channex757 wrote:
This might have had the result of an MD-11 Big Twin derivative with Airbus' Hawker Siddeley expertise designing wings for them capable of carrying the big turbofans. There were after all quite advanced plans for McDD to make a twin of the DC-10 which could have killed a hefty chunk of 767 and A300 sales, but Douglas didn't jump.


The serious discussions with Airbus were primarily around narrowbodies; early ideas about long-range aircraft fell through and MDC instead focused on a stretched A320 to be built in the USA. Incidentally Hawker Siddeley were well gone, by then it was BAe.

The first round of MD-11 Twin studies were in 1987 which would have used one of the proposed shortened MD-11 LR fuselages as a basis. but a flurry of launch orders for the trijet MD-11 suggested that it would easily hit its 350-aircraft program target, and that took urgency out of the twin studies. When the MD-11 emergency PIP became priority the twin was filed away and forgotten.

By 1995 things were looking bleak and they were again looking at a MD-11 Twin MR / LR and a Stretch model, to slot between the A330 and 777. But as ever at MDC the risk-averse accountants scuppered it; this time though they were probably correct.
 
bhxalex
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:26 am

Anything less than 3 jets wouldn't have been any use to customers wanting an aircraft for Trans-oceanic ops at the time. The DC10 was a success before and the idea of twin engined aircraft crossing oceans wasn't one many were entertaining, as this was Pre ETOPS as we know today.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:31 am

Apart from above mentioned reasons, there weren't any engines in that size category available at the time. The CF6/PW4000/Trent 700 were just about the biggest engines in the world. The GE90 came several years later. Airbus ran into similar issues at the same time. The A330-300 could be powered by 2 engines, but at the expense of a lower MTOW leading to a much shorter range. For a long-range aircraft, Airbus had to go the 4-engine route. The MD-11 (and even the DC-10) was even heavier than the A330, so would have suffered even more.
 
THS214
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:35 am

RalXWB wrote:
So a stretched DC-10 was/is still ahead of its time? Sorry, but that put a smile on my face...


747Whale is right. MD-11 was a stretched DC-10 but a lot more. Some airlines wanted to use it for long flights where it did not deliver. For slightly shorter flights it was great. What killed it was versatility. 777 and 330/340 combo with different variants had huge operational envelope that MD-11 was not able to match and McD did not have money to grow MD-11 versatile.
 
Bobloblaw
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:36 am

They didn’t have the money. Can we please stop these threads. Why didn’t XX do this or that?
 
747Whale
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:48 am

RalXWB wrote:
So a stretched DC-10 was/is still ahead of its time? Sorry, but that put a smile on my face...


Wipe it off.

The MD11 is still more advanced in many respects than a 777.

It's a lot more than a stretched DC10.

Do you have MD11 experience?
 
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Channex757
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:02 pm

ELBOB wrote:
Channex757 wrote:
This might have had the result of an MD-11 Big Twin derivative with Airbus' Hawker Siddeley expertise designing wings for them capable of carrying the big turbofans. There were after all quite advanced plans for McDD to make a twin of the DC-10 which could have killed a hefty chunk of 767 and A300 sales, but Douglas didn't jump.


The serious discussions with Airbus were primarily around narrowbodies; early ideas about long-range aircraft fell through and MDC instead focused on a stretched A320 to be built in the USA. Incidentally Hawker Siddeley were well gone, by then it was BAe.

The reference to Hawker Siddeley was deliberate. It is Hawker where the BAE and Airbus talent pool was able to draw from as HS were masters at wing design. That remains the major British contribution to the Airbus line, and an MD-11 stretch or twin derivative with an advanced wing would have been quite something.
 
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Channex757
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:10 pm

Bobloblaw wrote:
They didn’t have the money. Can we please stop these threads. Why didn’t XX do this or that?

This subject does have some value for discussion. It's a genuine question with some history attached to it and not the pointless repetitive guff about why x didn't order the y plane. Those are just trolling to try and start A versus B arguments.
 
LH707330
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:02 pm

There was a discussion between Airbus and MD about using the 330/340 wing and MD-11 fuselage on a big twin. The reason it didn't go ahead was that MD was attached to the trijet layout, while Airbus preferred the twin approach, which sacrificed some payload/range. In the end, the 340 showed up with better fuel burn, largely due to a 20-year newer wing design with more span/better AR (not just a dc-10 wing with winglets), more efficient fuselage layout, and better engine placement, which prompted SQ to switch orders and others to wait.

747whale is right though, there were a lot of cool features in the MD-11 like the dial-a-flap that helped takeoff performance by enabling operators to better match the exact conditions on a given day, but cumulatively those were not enough to make up for the wing and layout.
 
Armadillo1
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:42 am

for same reason Airbus made 330+340;. twinjet were good for atlantic but pacific demanded more than 2 engines
 
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TheFlyingDisk
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:14 am

MDC worked on the DC-10 Twin, which was shelved. Why didn't they just dust the design off and work on improving that to eke out more range?
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PacoMartin
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:34 am

Channex757 wrote:
This subject does have some value for discussion. It's a genuine question with some history attached to it ...


In 1985, the FAA increased the ETOPS to 120 minutes at the single-engine cruise speed. Trans World Airlines operated the first ETOPS (90 minutes) service in February 1985 with a Boeing 767. On December 30, 1986, McDonnell Douglas launched the MD-11 with commitments for 52 firm orders and 40 options. The first ETOPS 180 tests were conducted in 1989.

Given the timeline it is a fair item for discussion. However, the benefit of hindsight makes it difficult to be objective.

Given the range of the MD-11 it is clear they meant it to be used for TransPacific routes as well. You need ETOPS 180 minutes even to fly to Hawaii.

San Francisco to Tokyo edges out of ETOPS-120, and Los Angeles goes even further out of ETOPS-120 area. I was under the impression that MCD was very opposed to ETOPS.
 
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PacoMartin
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:17 am

blacksoviet wrote:
It seems like by the late 1980's, airlines were no longer interested in trijets.


By 1990, 175 ETOPS-certified 767s were operating more than 4,000 ETOPS flights per month. Two years later, among U.S. carriers, more twin-engine planes were crossing the North Atlantic than three- and four-engine aircraft.

75 minutes ETOPS gives you free access from the East Coast to San Juan (you dont have that with 60 minute rule)
120 minutes ETOPS gives you a route from JFK to London Heathrow
138 minutes ETOPS removes a bothersome little triangle near the JFK-LHR
180 minutes ETOPS however, gives you free access to almost the entire Northern Hemisphere

On December 30, 1988 (nine days after the bombing of a Pan Am 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland), the FAA released AC 120-42A, allowing for 180-minute ETOPS. 3 14 AC 120-42A conditioned 180-minute certification on increased reliability-beyond that required for 120-minute ETOPS. It created tiers of certification for ETOPS: 75-, 120-, and 180-minute tiers . Type certification for 180-minute approval would require at least 250,000 engine hours. Operational certification would require an airline to operate under approved 120-minute ETOPS for one year before gaining approval for 180-minute ETOPS.

The "late 1980s" is probably a little early, to say airlines were no longer interested. The FAA did not grant approval to waive the one year of 120 minute ETOPS operation before granting the 180 minute ETOPS until May 1995. At this time the trijet was officially archaic, and there was little ore no interest in ordering new ones. Within 13 months of this immediate ETOPS decision, MCD was bought by Boeing.
 
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PacoMartin
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:03 am

A double-check on dates, verifies that the FAA awarded the right to fly the B777 for 180 minutes without any time in the air, only a week before the first commercial flight on 7 June 1995.
Before that airlines had to fly for 1 year under the 120 minute ETOPS. Then it took a second year before qualifying for 180 minute ETOPS.
Since an MD-11 qualified for 180 minute ETOPS upon delivery, it still had some advantages. Bit once the rule changed the company was gone in little over a year.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Why didn't McDonnell Douglas make the MD-11 a twinjet?

Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:41 am

bhxalex wrote:
Anything less than 3 jets wouldn't have been any use to customers wanting an aircraft for Trans-oceanic ops at the time. The DC10 was a success before and the idea of twin engined aircraft crossing oceans wasn't one many were entertaining, as this was Pre ETOPS as we know today.


In the mid-1980s, the 767 and A300/310 were already crossing the Atlantic on a routine basis. TW began ETOPS flights on 767s in 1985, for example. By the early 1990s, the 767 was the most frequently-used aircraft for crossing the Atlantic. So transoceanic flight wasn't the issue. The issue was transpacific operations. It's true that at the time McD introduced the MD-11 (1989), the engine OEMs weren't ready to produce an engine big enough to give an aircraft that size transpacific range. It was another six years that the 777 had engines big enough, and another two after that until the 777-200ER was finally introduced with true transpacific range.

Moreover, McD was in a poor financial position. If they had introduced a twin-engine widebody, it wouldn't have been as simple as just redesigning the DC-10 (which they had proposed to do, but didn't). The entire tail would need to be redone, as would the centers of gravity, which would affect the MLG, the wingbox, the high-lift devices, control surfaces, etc. Sure, they could have used the DC-10 nose, and fuselage, but the rest of the aircraft would need so much redesign, that it would have basically been a clean-sheet design, and McD didn't have the resources. They didn't even have the resources to properly reloft the DC-10 wing for the MD-11, which is one reason why it did so poorly.
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