Re: Reuters Story On Peru Boeing 757 Crash and DR

Date:         17 Nov 96 20:04:02 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
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In article <airliners.1996.2436@ohare.Chicago.COM>, Andrea Tylczak <atylczak@mindlink.bc.ca> wrote:>>>>McD-D knew about the difficulty with this door design because of an
>>>>earlier loss of such from an American Airlines DC10.

>McDonnell didn't know or care.  The DC-10 was designed and certified by
>Douglas Aircraft;  hence the name DC-10 rather than MD-10. McDonnell
>bought Douglas after the DC-10 development (which was a race with
>Lockheed's L-1011) drained Douglas's financial resources.

Nice guess, but wrong.

The acquisition of Douglas Aircraft by The McDonnell Corporation was
announced on January 13, 1967.  The first order, from American for 25
aircraft, was placed until over a year later, on February 19, 1968.
First flight was three and a half years after the merger, on August
29, 1970, and the FAA issued a type certificate to McDonnell Douglas
on July 29, 1971.

The only work done by Douglas before McDonnell came along was early
design studies.  Frank Kolk of American Airlines sent specifications
to Boeing, Douglas, and Lockheed in April 1966, which led to both the
DC-10 and L-1011.  (The A300 ended up being much closer to Kolk's
original specs.)  The work Douglas did in the nine months between then
and the merger surely didn't include anything as detailed as the cargo
door design

One final note on the effects of the merger on the DC-10, from James
W. Mar, Hunsaker Professor of Aerospace Education at MIT and a member
of a "blue ribbon" committee assembled by the Dept. of Transportation
"to asses the procedures and practices used by the FAA to assure the
safety of commercial passenger aircraft" after the 1979 crash of AA
191 in Chicago:

   "Boeing and Lockheed give the impression of their engineers being
    dominant.  You don't get that impression from Douglas, not since
    the merger."

As for why Douglas was acquired, Douglas was strained financially by
the poor sales of the DC-8 compared to Boeing's 707.  Offering the
DC-8 "Super Sixty" series in three variants instead of one added to
production costs, souring what could have been a very financially
successful improvement to the basic DC-8.  Finally, the success of
the DC-9 overtaxed Douglas' ability to produce them fast enough, and
the costs of scurrying to catch up tied with late delivery penalties
exhausted Douglas.

--
Karl Swartz	|Home	kls@chicago.com
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