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FedEx Express retires world's last MD-10-10 freighter jet

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE — FedEx Express retired its last, and also the world's last, MD-10-10F on June 4, 2021. The 43.6-year-old aircraft with registration N562FE (MSN 46496) operated in a passenger configuration by American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines before being converted into a freighter for FedEx in 2004. ( More...

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patrick baker 6
useful life of over 43 years is a tribute to the folks who assembled her. The value judgment on not spending so much money to continue service is a sad fact of life. It flew just fine up until they closed the flight logs and said "that's all folks"
21voyageur 3
Would suggest that a tribute to those that designed her is also in order. The history of the "DC-10" and the race with sleeker Lockheed Tri-Star was an interesting one from the marketing and engineering perspectives. Hope she enjoys her time in the sun and that FedEx finds a spot for her in the form of a donation.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

bentwing60 10
AA191 was a completely MX inspired event and was detailed in the NTSB full report. Don't gas light that as a design flaw cause, or even a factor. It ain't in the script.
Randy Marco -2
It DEFINITELY was a design flaw and a cheaped out tri-engine compared to the 1011.
If it was a design flaw, it was the design of the stupid mechanics that weren't following MD maintenance procedures. I've read that report, and it is a condemnation of cheap maintenance procedures. American 'cut corners', and had dome it REPEATEDLY, and knew, or damn well should have known that it was a stupid move. They found other planes with similar damage!!! The only way I could see it was a design flaw was if, in the correct process for a swap, it took a week, and this 'cheat' took days/hours. Then MD should have addressed that somehow, but maybe they had tried to shorten the process, and hadn't found a SAFE way to do it.

That accident was all on the management and maintenance people of American Airlines at the time. They cut corners, and 273 people paid for it...
Mark Henley 0
See my reply to James Simms below. Again, don't confuse the CAUSE of AA 191 event with the underlying root problem that allowed it to become the deadly result that it was.
Mark Henley 0
Yep, I agree.
Rob Kerr 1
Both accidents were not caused by design. Both were caused by human error. Everyone knows that American Airlines AA191 was cause by American mechanics taking short cuts when replacing engines to save on MONEY! United was cause by a faulty fan blade that was defective at production and was never detected " AGAIN " by united mechanics. This 40 year old FED EX DC-10 is a true testament to how good the design is. I flew on many DC-10's after both accidents and always felt more confident and at ease on the DC-10 then flying on any other airplane and i have flown many.
James Simms 0
AA 191 incident was the result of bad maintenance procedures & UA 232 incident was the result of a engine parts flaw,
not the plane itself or plane design.

Please take your biased attitudes elsewhere
Mark Henley 2
Don't confuse the cause of the the AA 191 event with the root problem that allowed it to occur. As a design engineer for aero and space systems for decades, my opinion was formed from dozens of fault analysis trees that helped find stupid designs just like this one that could be fixed before production.

[This poster has been suspended.]

bentwing60 2
very cool old airplanes. The history says they were 'fun' to land.
Tracy Patrick 4
My freshman year of college was at Antelope Valley College (Lancaster,CA next to Plant 42, Lockheed’s L-1011 factory) and I was a 18 year old kid in an aircraft systems class with the professor a Douglas guy and my class mates all Lockheed Aircraft (pre Lockheed Martin) engineers and factory workers on the L-1011. The entire semester was a comparison between the DC10 and the L-1011. The last day of class the professor smiled as he conceded that the L-1011 is a superior aircraft. The entire class erupted in applause! I was blessed to go on and spend 31 years as a FedEx Pilot flying the DC-8, Boeing 727 and Airbus A300 & 310’s. I rode on the MD10 jumpseat commuting to Memphis from my home of Jacksonville, FL and have total respect for both both the MD10 and L-1011. But ... I would have really liked to have flown the L-1011!
Donald Kozak 4
I flew one of the sister aircraft to 562 (N550FE) in late April. A mechanic after I landed told me that 550 was slated to leave the fleet shortly. I had the FO take a photo of me by the aircraft before departing. It turned out that it flew only two more revenue flights before heading to Victorville in CA. A Google search of this aircraft seemed to imply it was the oldest flying DC-10/MD-10 flying. Delivered to AA in August of 1972. Almost 50 years of service, between Fedex and AA. It has paid for itself a couple times over!
Mike Boote 3
Amazing! I'm glad to read the -30 is still flying.
Justthefacs 5
Law of unintended consequences. Stand alone 3rd engine made maintenance easier than a superior plane, in my opinion, the L-1011. Similar design problem as Boeing had with the 737 Max vs Airbus. Front wheel to low to add more modern engine. I flew both and one just seemed better. Just my opinion and an observation.
Mark Henley 5
I share your opinion -- the L-1011 was by far a better aircraft, for sure from a safety design standpoint, and from the relative ease that custom STCs could be added for private customers. If Lockheed had just managed to beat MacDac to the market earlier enough, in my opinion we'd see a WHOLE lot more L-1011s having the long lifetime that the DC-10 has had.
bentwing60 2
"the RB211 and its features, despite the delays in its development, provided the L-1011 with then-unmatched fuel economy and noise levels." WIKI L1011 story.

The delay of delivery of the RB211 by RR was the consummate cause of the orders that went from the L1011 to the DC10 and while I whole heartedly agree, "the L-1011 was by far a better aircraft", as attested to by more than a few ATP's that flew both, MacDaddy beat em' to the punch cause' they had a product they could deliver!

History, not a mystery.
Tom Bruce 1
just an honest question...not to open a debate... why then were so many DC10s flying for decades while the L1011s were scrapped?? There are still DC10s flying...but L1011s?
bentwing60 1
My guess, sheer numbers due to the DC-10 head start in ops., MX. costs for the L-1011 due to parts costs, (less rotables), and adoption by the package freighters of the 10 that kept them in service for many years after their retirement by the major airlines.
skylab72 1
I'm not sure there is any contention here. Douglas was gunning for the L1011 in the wide-body market by being the bargain version and simplifying design trade-offs to insure they delivered planes first. I do not think anyone in the airline industry actually considered the two as peer competitors. Price alone indicated a clear difference.
Used to work for FedEx. The Mechanics HATED the DC10, MD11 and B727. Engine swaps took weeks.
UA mechanic’s must be superior to FedEx because I experienced a number 2 un contained compressor failure on a 727 and the NEXT DAY while preflighting I saw that very same tail umber taxi by for take off.
In 1977, I flew tourist-class on a UTA (Union de Transports Aériens) DC-10-30, non-stop service from LAX to Faa'a International Airport, Papeete, Tahiti. Flawless aircraft, flawless flight, flawless service.
I'm already reaching for my copy of "The L1011 Tristar and The Lockheed Story" (circa 1973) on my bookshelf...
terry g 2
Douglas J Ingells, 256 pages, 300 collector photos, took 15 years to finish!
George Pepe 2
It looks like an md11, but without the extra main gear wheels.
strickerje 4
IIRC it's actually a DC-10 airframe with the MD-11 avionics upgrade. You may notice it doesn't have the extended length of the MD-11, so it didn't need the extra main gear.
Sidney Smith 3
Wonder how many A-300's will make 43 years of service?
tsberry901 1
They already have
According to Airfleets, the oldest parked let is:

80 300B2-203 Iran Air 13/02/1980 EP-IBS Active (parked)

And active is:

107 300B4-203 MyCargo Airlines 31/03/1980 TC-ACY Active

So, close...

FedEx still has a few flying, although I didn't look at the entire list.

477 300-622RF Federal Express 03/10/1988 N721FD Active
479 300-622RF Federal Express 20/09/1988 N722FD Active
Excellent maintenance personnel!
John Prukop -1
Remember the FedEx MD-11F that crashed in Narita, Japan on March 23, 2009 while attempting to land on Runway 34L in gusty winds? Had that airplane not had its tail feathers reduced in size - as a weight saving measure - so FedEx could pack on more cargo, both the airplane and crew would still be with us. Because of the reduced elevator authority, the pilots couldn't overcome the gusty conditions and correct the first bounce.
McDonnell Douglas reduced the size of the horizontal stabilizer of the DC10. This was before the MD11 was even on the drawing board. There have been zero accidents attributed to a bad design of the stabilizer on an MD11. The FO caused the crash by coming in too hot. Tragic but true. RIP.


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