McDonnell-Douglas DC-10, MD-10 and MD-11 Spotting Guide


McDonnell-Douglas DC-10

McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 of National AirlinesMcDonnell-Douglas DC-10 of National Airlines

The McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 was a medium to long-range, wide-body, trijet. Its design featured an engine mounted on pylons under each wing, and a third engine mounted in the base of the vertical stabilizer.

Designed as a successor to the McDonell-Douglas DC-8, it could carry 380 passengers up to 6,600 miles. It was marketed to those airlines seeking a jetliner smaller than the Boeing 747 but with transcontinental range and wide-body comfort for passengers.

The DC-10 series included the DC-10-10 and DC-10-15, and longer range DC-10-30 and DC-10-40 variants. Assembly was done at the McDonnell-Douglas plant in Long Beach, California.

McDonnell-Douglas delivered a total of 386 DC-10 airliners between 1968 and 1988.

Douglas DC-10 of Northwest Air Lines
Northwest Air Lines Douglas DC-10

 

McDonnell-Douglas MD-11

To continue development of its tri-jet airliner series, McDonnell-Douglas designed the MD-11, which features a stretched fuselage, longer wingspan with winglets, a smaller tailplane, new engines and a glass cockpit.

McDonnell-Douglas delivered a total of 200 MD-11 airliners between 1988 and 2000. Most models, 131 aircraft, were the basic passenger variant, while 53 of the freighter variant MD-11F were built. Other variants included the MD-11ER, MD-11CF and MD-11C.

In 2016, about 120 MD-11s remained in service with cargo operators, mostly with FedEx Express, United Parcel Service, and Lufthansa Cargo.

FedEx MD-11F parked at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California (Staff Photo)
View similar photos at AirplaneBoneyards.com
FedEx MD-11F parked at the Southern California Logistics Airport

 

McDonnell-Douglas MD-10

To allow commonality between the DC-10 and MD-11 for airlines such as FedEx Express which operate both types, McDonnell-Douglas offers a cockpit upgrade to the DC-10.

Beginning in 1996, this upgrade included the installation of an advanced common flight deck on the DC-10 ... the aircraft was then redesignated as a MD-10. This allowed a common type rating for both the MD-10 and MD-11, and also eliminated the need for a flight engineer.

McDonnell-Douglas KC-10 Extender of the U.S. Air Force

A military aerial tanker version of the DC-10 was developed for the United States Air Force, and operated as the KC-10 Extender. It employs a mixed hose-and-drogue and flying-boom refueling system, and can refuel military aircraft of the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. It has twice the refueling capacity of the Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker.

McDonnell-Douglas delivered a total of 60 KC-10 Extenders to the Air Force between 1981 and 1988.

Shown below is a KC-10 Extender of the United States Air Force during in-flight refueling operations with a F-22 Raptor (Photo courtesy of the US Air Force)
KC-10 Extender of the United States Air Force during in-flight refueling operations with a F-22 Raptor

 

Side-by-Side Comparison of the DC-10 and the MD-11

Side-by-side comparison of the Mcdonnell-Douglas DC-10 and MD-11

Side-by-Side Comparison of the DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011

The McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 Tristar are similar in design and size, each featuring an engine under each wing, and a third engine mounted in the tail. The distinguishing difference in the two airliners is the design of the third engine.

On the L-1011, Lockheed used an "S-duct" air inlet embedded in the tail and upper fuselage. Engine exhaust is at the tail of the aircraft.

Engineers at McDonnell-Douglas used a different approach, with a straight-through engine design, with the exhaust in the tail structure itself.

See spotting chart below showing a side-by-side comparison of the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011.

Spotting Guide for the DC-10 and Its Competitor the Lockheed L-1011

 

DC-10 Photographs

Western Air Lines Douglas DC-10 tri-jet airliner
Western Air Lines Douglas DC-10

Douglas DC-10 of Northwest Orient Airlines
Douglas DC-10 of Northwest Orient Airlines


Douglas DC-10 of National Airlines
Douglas DC-10 of National Airlines

Douglas DC-10 of British Caledonian
Douglas DC-10 of National Airlines

Douglas DC-10 of Western Airlines
Douglas DC-10 of National Airlines


Brazilian cargo VarigLog DC-10 airliners in storage at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona (Staff Photo)
View similar photos at AirplaneBoneyards.com
Brazilian cargo VarigLog DC-10 airliners in storage at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona

 

Images of the McDonnell-Douglas MD-11

Delta Air Lines McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 wide-body, tri-jet airliner
Delta Air Lines Mcdonnell-Douglas MD-11

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