The three-engine McDonnell Douglas DC-10 entered service in 1971 as a smaller rival to the Boeing 747 jumbo jet. But from the beginning, the DC-10 was plagued by problems.
In 1972, American Airlines Flight 96, a nearly brand-new DC-10, had to make an emergency landing in Detroit after losing cabin pressure because the plane’s cargo door blew off mid-flight. A few passengers and crew were injured, but no one was killed.
Two years later, Turkish Airlines Flight 981, another DC-10, also suffered decompression when its cargo door blew off mid-flight. Unfortunately, this time the explosive force of the air rushing out of the plane caused the cabin floor to buckle, damaging the flight controls.
All 346 passengers and crew on board the plane were killed when it nosedived into the French countryside.
The issues that plagued the DC-10 didn’t stop there.
The DC-10 was grounded in 1979 after improper maintenance procedures led an engine to fall off the wing of American Airlines Flight 191 while taking off from Chicago. All 271 people on board the plane were killed, along with two others on the ground.
But the plane went on to become a workhorse for American, United, Continental, and Northwest airlines. It finally exited scheduled passenger service in 2014 and remains popular with cargo carriers such as FedEx.
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