by Site


12 September 2007

Lockheed L-1011 vs McDonnell Douglas DC-10

We must be careful when comparing these two aircrafts. The main difference is: when did McDonnell Douglas have its first DC-10 long-range aircraft? It entered in service in 1972 with the DC-10-30 series.

Now the same question for Lockheed, when did it have its long-ranger? It entered in service only in 1979! Of course Lockheed could not compete in the long range market.
There were sold 199 L-1011 -1,-100,-200 and there were sold 138 DC-10-10 and DC-10-15. Now this is a fair comparison!

Why the long range version of the TriStar was so delayed? Well, not because of RB211 reliability problems or so. Just because its production and development for more powerful versions was halted almost for one year due to RR bankruptcy, which also affected initial sales. It was delayed even further due to overcapacity with the airlines and depressed market. The TriStar 500 could have been ready by 1977 and before that Lockheed studied -250 long range version with the same -500 engines, MTOW and fuel capacity. But it never came to a production standard. There are only 6 L-1011-250 which were converted from -1 series in 1986, already after the shut down of the L-1011 production line!

When TriStar 500 entered in service, it was too late. In the early 80's it was facing competition not only from the DC-10 but also from 2nd generation and more fuel efficient, two crew man, twin jets.

No doubt the L-1011 was technically superior and safer than the DC-10. However, the DC-10 when compared to the TriStar had a better payload-range having from the beginning a true long range version.
The L-1011-1 was simply fine for USA's coast to coast routes for which it was designed.

Why the DC-10 stayed longer with airlines? Easy. More aircrafts flying, more spare parts, effective technical support from McDonnell Douglas.

Finally, it seems that McDonnell Douglas also never made money with the DC-10 program. If it wasn't for the KC-10 contract with 60 units built for USAF, which kept the production line opened until 1988, it would also have suffered big losses.


Anonymous said...

I thought the Tristar entered service with Eastern in April 26 1971

Anonymous said...

Hi! The TriStar entered in service with Eastern in April 26 1972 but I was speaking about long range TriStars!

Anonymous said...

Yes, you aer right and I'm wrong, hehehe sorry about that, my mistake, let's hope that Luzair L1011 which is currently under c check in victorville returns home asap.


Post a Comment