In mid-1960s airlines had to choose between the low-capacity narrow-body 707 or the massive 747 for transatlantic routes. Future of air travel clearly belonged to the spacious and cost-efficient wide-body jetliners and so a gap in the market appeared for a long-range, mid-capacity wide-body airliner.
While Lockheed’s L-1011 may have paved the way for tri-engine jets it’s extremely complex S-duct made it hard to maintain and prone to failures. The odd shape also meant that upgraded, bigger engines could not be fitted. A technological wonder of it’s time was a dead end in the long run.
McDonnell-Douglas also developed a trijet of their own and decided to learn from Lockheed’s shortcomings. The fruit of their project was the DC-10. With the engine number 2 integrated into it’s vertical stabilizer the DC-10 was far easier to maintain and could fit a multitude of engines. Three engines allowed it to conduct flights directly over the ocean (it was free of ETOPS restrictions) and it’s sleek silouhette meant that it was more fuel-efficient than it’s contemporaries. It gained some bad reputation after a series of accidents attributed to it’s cargo door locking mechanism. In retrospect the bad press was greatly exaggerated and the DC-10 proved to be as reliable and safe as other airliners of it’s generation over it’s service life.
It was quick and fairly easy to maintain compared to 4-engine monsters like the 747 but after the ETOPS restrictions were lifted and aircraft like the B777 or the A330 started making direct flights over the oceans the trijet quickly lost it’s edge in terms of efficiency. Two engines were the future, and in the late 1990s the DC-10/MD-11s were slowly being phased out of service. Last passenger variants of the MD-11 were retired from service with KLM in 2011, but the powerful platform was quickly adapted for cargo-carrying duties by Fedex and UPS among others. Many DC-10-30Fs and MD-11Fs remain operational to this day in those companies.
This replica of a cargo variant of the DC-10-30 is my biggest flyable craft to date, and perhaps also the most detailed and functional. It features custom landing gear, flaps, spoilers and a ton of detail which make flying it a great experience.
It’s also relatively low partcount for a craft of this size which should make it quite playable!
1. STARTUP AND TAKEOFF
Since KSP slams your craft onto the runway REALLY hard when spawning, the gear may get a little wobbly and you may have to wait a few seconds until it settles down and straightens out (you may want to enable SAS and brakes). This happens only on loading so don’t worry about it too much when landing.
Be sure to enable the APU with AG3 so you don’t run out of power while your engines aren’t running.
After the DC-10 is sitting still on the runway you can start up the engines on idle throttle. You can extend the flaps with AG1 for takeoff. To take off apply gentle throttle (no more than 20-25%) until you are moving at approx 40-50m/s on the runway to prevent stalling the compressors and losing thrust. Optimal V2 is approx 80-90m/s. After takeoff you should be moving fast enough to prevent any compressor stalls at high throttle. Retract the flaps with AG1 and retract the landing gear with G.
There isn’t too much to it - the DC-10 is very stable and pilot friendly for the most part. Roll rate and pitch authority are both very good for an aircraft of this size. The cruising speed is approx 200m/s and top speed sits at somewhere around 270m/s at 5-6km. Be careful not to overstress the airframe if you are making hard maneuvers at higher speeds. This airframe is rated at no more than 4.5Gs.
I recommend lining up with the runway in advance to give you time to set up a smooth glideslope. After you line up with the runway drop your speed to about 120m/s to allow for flaps to deploy safely. You can now deploy the landing gear (G), flaps (AG1) and spoilers (AG4).
The DC-10 will become really sluggish and stall-happy below 60m/s so land at approx 75-80m/s if possible. Be sure to flare and reduce your vertical speed to prevent damage to your landing gear. After touchdown, apply brakes and activate thrust reversers with AG2. Remember to reduce thrust when your speed drops to prevent compressor stalls.
That’s it! Below are the main controls:
AG1: Toggle flaps
AG2: Toggle thrust reversers
AG3: Toggle APU
AG4: Toggle spoilers
U: Toggle landing lights
Enjoy and fly safe!
v1.0 - Initial release