From Exploding Cargo Doors To One Of The Most Reliable Airliners – The DC-10

Throughout history, aviation authorities grounded 8 aircraft. Many of them were true pioneers and brought something new the first time they lifted off the ground.

For example, the Lockheed Constellation was the first pressurized aircraft that saw commercial usage. The de Havilland Comet was the first commercial jet, bringing the world close together with an engine type that initially nobody believed in. But while it proved to everyone that commercial jet travel was the future, it also brought several disasters related to a design issue.

And of course, the one aircraft that changed everything. The jet that shortened the distance between London and New York to 3 hours on a flight – Concorde. While it certainly brought a revolution with it, the type was grounded for a year following a crash in Paris.

Most recently, following two deadly incidents, aviation’s regulators grounded the Boeing 737 MAX in March, sparking the debate whether the type will be canceled. However, with Boeing’s persistence, the aircraft seems to be on track to fly again in 2019.

But the 737 MAX was not the only grounded Boeing aircraft. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was told to stay put in 2013 after several 787’s operated by ANA and Japan Airlines showcased a design flaw with the battery design. The aircraft has also recently shown up in headlines, showcasing Boeing’s negligence when building the 787.

Nevertheless, there was one more aircraft. Sure, it was not revolutionary like the Concorde or the Comet, but it certainly has brought something to the table and reliably serves airlines to this day, even after 48 years after its first test flight.

It's name? The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 or just DC-10 for short.

The history of the DC-10

The now-defunct and operating under Boeing‘s name manufacturer, McDonnell Douglas had built the DC-10.

At the time, in the late 60‘s-early 70s, Boeing did not compete with Airbus. Airbus had just launched it‘s first commercial jetliner in 1972, but it struggled early on to make sales in the United States.

Boeing competed with Douglas, which was later merged with McDonnell and subsequently was renamed to McDonnell Douglas.

For a short period of time, Lockheed also provided some competition with the L-1011, but the aircraft had its fair share of issues, which prevented it from dominating the United States aviation market.

Anyways, Boeing went head-to-head with Douglas. After the Second World War, aircraft named DC captured a huge portion of the civil aviation market.

However, as soon as the jet age began in commercial aviation, Boeing started out very strong with the Boeing 707 in 1958. Slowly, but surely Boeing started to take over the skies above the US and even around the world.

Initially, Douglas was not fascinated by the Comet or jet-powered aircraft, as they thought it was just a fad that would go away. Plus the groundings certainly did not help, as everybody still believed the Comet’s problems were related to its jet engine.

But, as Douglas realized how far ahead Boeing was, the company started playing catch up. Convincing airlines to order a commercial jetliner was difficult enough, Boeing made the job that much more difficult when they successfully showcased the 707 to airline executives.

However, Douglas had just recently released their DC-7, a piston-powered aircraft, and thus it was difficult to come up with a new jetliner quickly.