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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:08 am

Haven't there been a couple cases of jets plunging about 20K feet? I think a TWA plane did that. A 727? I think the loading on that would qualify a plane for an ironplane competition.
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:57 am

I got to say the DC-8 they are still flying after all these years
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:58 am

my vote goes for:

C17 ( non commercial )
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:53 am

I think the jets of the Hawai'i interisland airlines deserve some recognition. They go thru 12-16 flights each day, and the Aloha 732 incident shows how well built that plane was (to be able to fly after losing 1/3 of the fuselage....quite amazing if you ask me).

So, I vote for the following,

Aloha Airlines - The Spirit Moves Us. Gone but NEVER Forgotten. Aloha, A Hui Hou!
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:09 pm

Lemme think...

Convair 880 would be one. Thick-skinned to reduce the need for stringers, with triple-sparred wings. It's main-gears could be extended for use as brakes at up to 400 kts. It routinely flew at 400 knots indicated airspeed during the climbing and descending parts of the flight, and Mach numbers between 0.87 (cruise) to 0.91 (barber-pole) during the high-altitude parts of the flight. The plane once sustained six G's during a training accident and they couldn't find any damage worthy of grounding it. It was returned to service.

Lockheed L-1011 would almost certainly be on the list. Like the Convair 880 they designed the aircraft with fairly thick-gauge skin to avoid using large amounts of stringers. While it only had two-spars, it was still built in the typical Lockheed style, overengineered to death. To avoid jet-upset problems and avoid mis-set trim problems, the aircraft was designed with an all moving tail with geared-elevator tabs for assisted control power which allowed it to takeoff even with full nose-down trim, while this may not have made the plane any sturdier, it deifnetly made it more surviveable.

Vickers VC-10 was a pretty sturdy SOB, from what I heard actually was more limited by IAS loading than by .Mmo and could actually penetrate the sound barrier with no modifications such as water-ballast to help shift the CG around.

Boeing 727 was a pretty sturdy jetliner. Ironically the extreme structural beefiness of the wings was a result of a miscalculation. No airplane had ever used triple-slotted fowler flaps of that size, if not ever so they made the wing extremely strong to compensate and it turned out they technically went overboard. However, one could say that a wing that could take 2.8 times the normal loads (1.5 is the requirement) would be very useful safety wise! It should be noted that a 727-100 after having three of its slats wrenched off lost 34,000 feet accelerated past the speed of sound, sustained 5-G's of force to pull-up, lost the other slat, lost one of the speedbrake panels, possibly some of the flaps, and a high-speed gear-extension managed to successfully make an emergency landing with no loss of life. The nose gear did collapse after landing duringt he taxiing however.

Boeing 747 substantially exceeded the structural load tests by a decent margin, failing at 1.74 times the normal load due to the use of a third-spar.

Douglas DC-8 was a pretty well liked and well-built airplane. It featured a thicker skin than the 707, and used titanium alloys for strengthening and even reducing weight. The design may have been relatively simplistic in appearance, but it was rugged and sturdy. It turned out when they chopped up the planes, they found they needed a heavier blade to hack into the fuselage of the DC-8! The DC-8 for a time was the first jetliner to penetrate the sound barrier as well. Stab-trim was required in addition to full up elevator and water ballast for assistance. The plane also carried no passengers aboard

I'm just covering jet aircraft in this post...

Andrea Kent
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:30 pm

Blackbird, I will not quote that all again but the above is indeed very interesting information and fascinating reading!
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:22 am

Quoting Hoppe777 (Reply 45):
im inclined to go with the 707. didnt it do a barrell roll in testing without any effects whatsoever ? surely it must have pulled some G's and put it under some severe stress. how many commercial airliners can claim that ?

Actually any aircraft (including all airliners) can do a barrel roll. Tex Johnson did it because he knew it would turn heads, which it did.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:24 pm

We're not talking longevity here folks, we're talking planes that can take a beating.

My vote goes to

DHC Dash 7
DHC Dash 8

737-200 (Canadian North operates 732's out of a gravel airstrip to this day

The Dash's can pretty much land at any shitty airport with a full load of pax.

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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:35 pm

I'll do a summary in a few hours....
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:14 pm


Well indeed it's impressive to see a 732 using a gravel runway but......we cannot forget that the only airliner that actually LANDED in South Pole was a Modern Air Convair CV990!!!! For me that shows how rugged the "Maserati Of The Skies" was!!! The plane used was N5615 and did that twice, in 1968 and in 1970!!!

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Photo © Kjell Nilsson

CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
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RE: Toughest Commercial Airliner Ever Built

Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:55 am

MD80 - 30+ years of heavy utilization and still going strong.
Viva la Vida

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