Re: UA/SFO Reliability?

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works
Date:         04 May 93 01:44:16 PDT
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>I'm just interested, since someone else posted something about DC-10
>problems on UA out of SFO, if this is a frequent problem with UA?

I've flown on United DC-10s more times than I care to remember, often
to or from SFO, and the only problem more spectacular than the usual
weather or ATC delays was a flat tire.  That was at the gate at DEN.
(UA 232 to ORD, less than a year before another DC-10 operating 232
made a far more spectacular unscheduled stop in Sioux City, Iowa.)

Of all United's stations, one might consider SFO marginally safer
since SFO is United's only maintenance base and a number of planes
spend the night at SFO (or longer) for maintenance checks.  (Other
airports, such as ORD, do handle relatively minor work.)

Overall, it seems the United does a fairly clean and conservative job
of maintaining their fleet.  American and Delta, amongst others, have
gotten smacked with some hefty penalties for improper maintenance over
the past few years, but I can't recall United being hit with any major
maintenance penalties.  Looking back a bit, after the 1972 DC-10 cargo
door incident over Windsor, Ontario, United was the first to complete
implementation of the modifications called for by MD's service bulletin
on their entire fleet.  In fact, despite having the largest DC-10 fleet
at the time (15 of the 39 in service), United was nearly done before
anyone else started -- a single National DC-10 was completed just one
week before the last of United's.

>we had an engine failure a couple of minutes after takeoff.  We had to
>turn back to SFO and fire engines were waiting.  We even dumped fuel
>to lighten the load to normal landing weight, and for "safety" reasons.

As long as it wasn't a catastrophic failure of the #2 engine (a la UA
232) this doesn't seem all that, um, extraordinary.  The fire engines
would be a common precaution I would guess, and dumping fuel would be
perfectly normal as a load of fuel sufficient for SFO-JFK would almost
certainly put the aircraft over maximum landing weight.  They'd have
to dump fuel if they went back for any reason.

>I guess if we have bad feelings about DC-10's out of SFO on UA, we
>should change flight plans!

United thoughtfully offers three 747 non-stops from SFO to ORD every
day for those of us who like the comfort of widebodes but despise the
DC-10.  I fly these fairly often.  They also have at least one 747
each to JFK and IAD from SFO, and even listed one to LAX, though it
never actually operated that way that I know of.  (Followups on this
aspect of this thread should probably be directed to rec.travel.air.)

--
Karl Swartz	|INet	kls@ditka.chicago.com		
1-415/854-3409	|UUCP	uunet!decwrl!ditka!kls
		|Snail	2144 Sand Hill Rd., Menlo Park CA 94025, USA
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