Re: Swissair MD11 Crash - additional details

Date:         10 Sep 98 03:04:30 
From:         "David G. Davidson" <>
Organization: EarthLink Network, Inc.
References:   1 2 3 4
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

> A 'string' of incidents? Let's check the facts: there was only one previous
> hull loss, that of FedEx at Newark last year, in which no-one was killed.
> There was only one previous fatal event, on a China Eastern flight which
> encountered severe in-flight turbulence. That's in the eight years since the
> MD-11 entered service (late 1990). The NTSB database at
> shows 10 incidents on the MD-11 since 1
> January 1996, none fatal; that same database shows 20 for the 767, including
> 1 fatal (Ethiopian) in the same time period, 21 for the 757 (3 fatal), 20 for
> the 747 (3 fatal), 8 for the TriStar (1 fatal), and 11 for the DC-10 (none
> fatal). If the MD-11's record since 1996 qualifies it for "a string of
> incidents" then so does that of everyone else, and I hope you enjoy riding
> the trains (which also have their problems...)

I went to the NTSB database back to 1/1/90 and I found 22 MD-11
incidents. 5 tailstrikes, 3 hard landings (5 injuries), 2 runway
excursions (7 injuries), a jammed stab-trim gearbox because MD failed to
lube it at the factory, the China accident due to "inadequate design of
the slat handle" (2 dead); the rest of the incidents being ATC errors,
tail pipe fires and a few mtc errors.

There are 25 DC-10 incidents but there are no repetitve themes like the
MD-11 has.

You mention 1 fatality for the 17 L-1011 accidents. You fail to mention
that it involved a gnd crewmember being run over by a nose tire, hardly
the airplane's fault. Like the DC-10 no common themes.

I didn't look at all of the 35 767 accidents, but did look at the first
19 (one of these is actually a 757). 7 turbulence encounters, 2
uncontained engine failures, 1 tailpipe fire, 1 APU fire, 2 ground
collisions. Apparently the 767 is a turbulence magnet.

What I'm trying to say here is that you have to be careful with the
numbers that you put out, they can be very misleading. But with a total
of 8 landing accidents one can safely say that the MD-11 does have a
problem of some kind with getting back on the ground. Douglas has proven
itself over the years to also have a problem with good design, that's
been proven numerous times with the DC-10 and the MD-11 slat handle
shows it again. Those that maintain the beasts also know about quality
control at Douglas and the seized gearbox bears that fact out too.

IMHO, Dave