Yesterday morning, Northwest flight 98 arrived in Minneapolis/St Paul from Honolulu. That flight marks the last scheduled DC-10 flight in the United States.
The DC-10 has had and checkered career. After first flight in 1970, the type was plagued with problems. In 1979, American flight 191 crashed after an engine separated from the wing on departure and caused other damage to the aircraft. That left the type grounded until it was determined to be safe again.
The most famous DC-10 accident was likely United flight 232 in Sioux City, Iowa. After an uncontained engine failure in the tail engine, the aircraft lost all hydraulics. After a herculean effort to line the aircraft up with the runway using alternating thrust, the aircraft ended up losing stability and it did cartwheels down the runway. Amazingly, many people survived.
Since that time, the aircraft has become the reliable workhorse it was expected to be. I’ve had many DC-10 flights over the years including:
*SAS from LAX to Copenhagen
*United and American various flights
*Hawaiian, Delta, Western, World, and Leisure Air from LAX to Hawai’i
My last flight on a DC-10 was on Hawaiian from LAX to Kahului (Maui) in July 2001. I will always remember the aircraft as feeling very big inside. It seemed to be built like a tank.
The aircraft will live on in some third world countries, cargo, and charter flights for now. As usual, Douglas built an aircraft that can keep going for years.