DC-10 today

Aircraft technology of the 1970s now seems to be anqtiue. Anyway, over 200 venerable DC-10s are still in service all over the world. Like the DC-8, the DC-10 has become a popular freighter so that many former passenger aircraft were converted into full freighter configuration. Northwest Airlines, Bangladesh Biman, Garuda Indonesia and Japan Air Lines remain the last mayor carriers which operate the DC-10 as a passenger aircraft. Together with these, some smaller flag carrieres like Santa Barbara Airlines, still fly their long-hauls with DC-10s.

Beside passenger and cargo aircraft, there are some other special DC-10s. The US Air Force has 59 KC-10A Extender for aerial refueling in service. The Royal Netherlands Air Force has converted 2 former Martinair DC-10-30F(CF) into KDC-10 aircraft which can be used as tanker, cargo or VIP aircraft. A third KDC-10 was converted out of a former JAL DC-10-40 in 2004. The most unique DC-10 is 46501/ 2, a DC-10 which passed the hands of many operators and is now the Orbis flying eye-hospital (and the oldest DC-10 in service).

The DC-10 will have a bright future as a cargo aircraft and proved to be one of the most reliable jets ever built. The "survival quote" of over 50% in 2004 is far better than that of comparable aircraft like Airbus A300B2/B4, Lockheed TriStar or early 747 models. Fortunately, the DC-10 is now known for longevity and reliability and not for the bad image it got in the late 1970s.

Just let us hope that at least one DC-10 will be preserved in the future. My candidate is 46551/ 60, currently in service with Northwest Airlines but scheduled to be phased out within the next years. This DC-10-30 is (of course) still airworthy and in passenger configuration and was the first DC-10-30 delivered. What about that one, Aviodrome? It would be a nice sight to see this old lady in KLM colours again.

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