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The DC-10’s story begins in the early 1970’s, at a pivotal time when air travel was undergoing a revolution. A new generation of wide-body airliners like the Boeing 747 introduced for 1970’s increased passenger capacity at a time when air travel was becoming more affordable.
In 1971, McDonnell Douglas introduced their first airliner wide-body airliner, the DC-10. But few months later, rival aircraft builder Lockheed introduced their new wide body airliner, the L-1011. The DC-10 and L-1011 were similar aircraft aimed at similar segments of the market. The DC-10 incorporated many existing narrow body technologies from earlier DC-8 and DC-9’s. Focusing on simplicity and reliability, McDonnell Douglas took a technologically cautious approach in an era of rapid technological change, and this helped accelerate the DC-10’s development. This design approach, in part, helped McDonnell Douglas beat rival Lockheed to the market and the DC-10 was soon outselling the L1011.
But after just a few years in service, the DC-10 would go from being pride of airlines, to a plane some people thought twice about flying. A series of accidents during the 1970’s, some of which were attributed to the plane’s design, shrouded the DC-10 in controversy. McDonnell Douglas found itself facing extraordinary accusations that it had rushed the plane’s development, leading to inadequate, even negligent design decisions. Damage to the DC-10’s reputation would peak in 1975, after the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily suspended the DC-10’s Type certificate.
It would take years for the DC-10’s reputation to recover, and by the 1980s, McDonnell Douglas was facing even bigger challenges. The market had really only been big enough for one tri-jet and that ensured that neither would become a true commercial success. Despite its troubled start, the DC-10 would fly for over 40 years serving with some of the world’s largest airlines. In spite of tragic early accidents statically the DC-10’s safety record would go on to be comparable to other wide bodies of the era.
Select new footage provided courtesy the AP Archive:
AP Archive website: www.aparchive.com
Twitter: twitter.com/AP_Archive Facebook: facebook.com/APArchives
DE-film: de-film.com/us/aparchive and de-film.com/us/britishmovi...
Special Thanks to 'Classic Airliners & Vintage Pop Culture' DE-film channel for letting us sample amazingly retro DC-10 commercials. Check out their huge collection of footage at: de-film.com/us/mcdonnel...
Like the the aviation industry posters found in this video? Visit The Aviation Ancestry Database, containing over 80,000 high-quality examples: www.aviationancestry.co.uk/
Special thanks to Geoffrey Thomas for providing us with a rare MD-11 promotional film. Please check out his awesome airline safety and product rating website at: www.airlineratings.com/
Special thanks to Nick Arehart for helping clean up our audio:
Special thanks to Aviation Ancestry for maintaining an incredible and free archive of vintage aircraft advertisements:
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Music (reproduced under license):
Intro: "Upbeat Investigative Documentary" - www.pond5.com/stock-music/858...
Main Song 1: "Funk" - audiojungle.net/item/funk/213...
Main Song 2 “Upbeat Documentary" - www.pond5.com/stock-music/847...
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