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DALLAS – Today in Aviation, one of the world’s most iconic airliners, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, operated its maiden flight in 1970.
The DC-10 came about after a request from American Airlines (AA) in 1966 for an aircraft smaller than the Boeing 747 but able to fly similar long-range sorties. AA became the launch customer when it placed an order for 25 of the type on February 19, 1968, with options for 25 more. It was joined by United Airlines (UA), which ordered 30 airframes plus 30 options.
Designed and constructed at the manufacturer’s Long Beach, CA site, the Series 10 went into production in January 1968. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the type on July 29, 1971.
The DC-10 then entered service with AA on August 5 between Chicago (ORD) and Los Angeles (LAX).
McDonnell Douglas (McD) produced the DC-10 in three basic models. The Series 10 was built to operate on domestic routes with a range of 3,500 miles (5632 kilometers). Meanwhile, Series 30 and 40 were designed for extended range and intercontinental flights.
The Series 40 was initially designated the Series 20 but renamed after a request from launch customer Northwest Orient (NW). McD first delivered the type on November 10, 1972. The Series 30 followed soon afterward, entering service with Swissair (SR) on December 15.
The final DC-10 rolled off the production line in December 1988. Destined for Nigeria Airways (WT), it was the 446th airframe to be built.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG) had the honor of flying the last fare-paying passengers on the DC-10. On February 20, 2014, the type’s final flight departed Dhaka Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (DAC) bound for Birmingham (BHX).
Featured Image: The DC-10 became the mainstay of many major airlines’ fleets during its 40+ year flying career. Photo: McDonnell Douglas