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McDonnell Douglas DC-10 (N306FE)

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* * A very sincere Thank You to FA member James Simms for reminding me (in a comment under one of my previous posts) about this most historic DC-10. James, thanks to you, I was able to track this amazing aircraft and get this capture of it just a few days ago. Although it will soon be sent to the graveyard, I have snaps of it thanks to you. Very much appreciated. (High Five and a Thumbs Up) * *
N306FE, Fed Ex's "John" and the DC-10 that holds records that no DC-10 was ever designed to set, is clicked here just at sundown on a cloudy evening over northern Nevada as it completes its s/final approach to RTIA at the end of the first half of a KMEM-KRNO-KMEM roundtrip flight. This DC-10 is scheduled to be WFU within the next months.
To view this shot at best Q, I recommend clicking on FULL.

Comments

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Roy Hunte
Nice!
Gary SchenauerPhoto Uploader
This particular DC-10 is scheduled to be junked soon, but its place in history is assured. No other DC-10 has ever gone thru the experience this one did back in 1994 and stayed airborne. This is the DC-10 that holds records no DC-10 was ever designed to set.

During an attempted hijack (April, 1994), a Fed Ex employee who was hitching a ride to San Jose snuck several claw hammers and a speargun aboard. He had been fired by Fed Ex, but his ID had not been turned in and the three crewmen did not know he had been terminated. His intention was to murder the crew, take over the aircraft, and crash it into the Fed Ex HQ building in Memphis. Shortly after takeoff, he attacked the pilot, copilot, and FE. All three members of the crew were brutally assaulted with hammerblows to their skulls. Bleeding profusely from severe head and brain injuries, two of the critically-injured men struggled with the attacker, who continued attempting to hammer them all to death. One pilot remained at the controls. His brain injuries had rendered one arm useless, and he could barely see. He was the only person still strapped in, and as the attacker fought with the other two critically-injured crewmen, the lone pilot put this DC-10 thru maneuvers that no DC-10 was ever designed to undergo. That amazing pilot (only able to use one arm because the attack to his head had left his other arm immoveable) brought this DC-10 back to Memphis.

During those moments, this DC-10 ...

1) performed a barrel roll while travelling over 400 MPH,

2) then, at around 20,000 feet, flew inverted,

3) then went into a vertical dive that exceeded 500 MPH and which was so severe the instruments "pegged" at their max readings and from that moment on could no longer register the DC-10's actual speed,

4) pulled out of the dive like a fighter jet despite being fully loaded with cargo and with a full fuel load, and then

5) landed back at KMEM with major structural damage and a full load of fuel and cargo that far, far exceeded the maximum landing weight limits of a DC-10.

And this plane stayed together thru all of that.

None of the three crewmen died; however, none were ever able to fly again due to their permanent injuries. The three crewmen thwarted the hijacker's intention to murder them and many people in the Fed Ex building.

This old warrior DC-10 is still flying. No DC-10 will ever come anywhere close to handling the abuse this one endured and still remain in the air. Even Douglas engineers were stunned at the maneuvers this one performed without self-destructing.

Not long ago, FA member James Simms reminded me that it was N306FE that had been the DC-10 involved in that horrific crime. I had to track its schedule for quite a while, but I finally caught this shot of it just the other day. I am pleased to have a pic of the a/c that stayed together and brought back three heroic professional FDX crewmen and also brought a criminal back to face trial and be convicted. TYVM for the reminder, James.
It should be sent to museum somewhere.
Great shot and great story! Thanks, Gary! It does deserve to be in a museum.
Roy Hunte
Awesome story! And I agree with Chris this belongs in a museum.
cliff731
Gentlemen, you are all 100% correct... this one does need preservation and display.
I can't help but imagine Indiana Jones when I read "It belongs in a Museum"
Gary SchenauerPhoto Uploader
Chris, just read your comment. Your museum idea is certainly a valid one. Heck, N106US was hauled out of the Hudson and was deservedly put on display, and this frame is every bit as worthy of preservation at an air park or aviation museum somewhere. The attacker attempted to murder three men and if he had been successful he then intended to commit a mass murder. Although those three crewmen did not know it at the time, they saved an unknown number of lives and part of the reason they were able to do that and survive and to put a criminal behind bars for life is because this aircraft endured what it endured and kept on flying. I suppose that as far as FDX is concerned, putting this one in a boneyard is a sensible business move; it is an old bird. But the Douglas folks who built this tough old tri should be just as proud of it as Airbus is of N106US. Sully's plane went for a swim and stayed together and floated, and everyone came home safely. And this one performed way beyond expectations and stayed together and innocent people on the ground beneath it never even faced any danger because it did. If it had come apart, well, ... But it didn't. And it brought its crew home. So your idea is spot on, Chris. Since this terrible event occurred 22 years ago, this frame won't get a last-minute reprieve and by this time next year it will be gone from the skies and forgotten. But I agree with you. It deserves the same type of preservation and display as US Airways's N106US.
Yup! I think that pretty well sums it up, Gary!
James Simms
I just contacted the National Air & Space Museum in DC requesting an effort be made to save this particular aircraft. It may not work, but it's worth a try. I don't think there's a DC-10 saved in a museum, & this one qualifies.
James Simms
I contacted the National Air & Space Museum in an attempt to save N306FE. It may not work but it's worth a try as I don't believe there's a DC-10 on display anywhere.
Tom Vance
Excellent work Jimmy Olsen err I mean Gman!! I never knew this jet did what you wrote with an injured Pilot in the seat. Was a movie ever made of this terror attack? A+ and thanks Gman!
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