The DC-10 is an American three-engine medium- to long-range widebody airliner, with two engines mounted on underwing pylons and a third engine at the base of the vertical stabilizer. The model was a successor to the company's DC-8 for long-range operations, and competed in the same markets as the A300,747, and L-1011 Tristar, which has a similar layout to the DC-10.
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Production of the DC-10 ended in December 1988 with 386 delivered to airlines and 60 to the U.S. Air Force as air-to-air refueling tankers, designated the KC-10 Extender. The DC-10 was succeeded by the relatedl MD-11 which entered service in 1990.
The design of the DC-10 began in 1967. It becamel's first commercial airliner after the merger betweenl Aircraft Corporation and Aircraft Company in 1967. It was built to a specification from American Airlines for a widebody aircraft smaller than the747 but capable of flying similar long-range routes from airports with shorter runways. Although the747 had commercial advantages due to its size, smaller airports could not accommodate it because of gate restrictions and runway length.l was able to capitalize on this with the DC-10.
The DC-10 first flew on August 29, 1970 and entered commercial service with launch customer American Airlines on August 5, 1971 on a round trip flight between Los Angeles and Chicago, nearly a year before theL-1011 Tristar (which was built to a similar specification). The similarity to the L-1011 in terms of passenger capacity and launch in the same time frame resulted in a head to head sales competition which affected profitability of the aircraft. The launch customers for the DC-10 were American Airlines and United Airlines with orders for 25 and 60 respectively of the Series 10 model. Eventually, the DC-10 was able to distinguish itself from its competitors with a second engine supplier, which has the possible effect of controlling costs due to competition, as well as earlier introduction of longer range variants than the L-1011.