Production of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 started in January 1968 in Long Beach, California. It was first delivered in 1971 to both American Airlines and United Airlines. In total, six commercial models of the DC-10 were developed all of which could accomodate from 250 passengers, in a typical mixed first class and economy arrangement, to 380 in an all-economy seating. Production of the DC-10 ended in 1989 after a total of 386 commercial DC-10s and 60 KC-10 tanker/cargo models were delivered. The DC-10 was launched during the same period Lockheed began assembling their own three-holer, the Lockheed L1011 Tristar. Although both aircraft were build as direct competitors, the Douglas DC-10 was way more succesful than the Tristar.
At that time the DC-10's General Electric and Pratt & Whitney power plants represented significant advances in engine performance and technology compared to earlier jet engines. The high by-pass turbofan engines yield lower specific fuel consumption and noise levels making it an ideal replacement for old generation turbo-jet aircraft. The DC-10 is an early generation tri-jet with two engines mounted beneath each wing and a third above the aft fuselage at the base of the vertical stabilizer.
The flight deck of the DC-10 is operated by three crew members with room for two observers. Larger windshields are characteristic to the roomy flight deck of the DC-10. The simplicity and efficiency of the flight deck provide a low crew load and together with its roomy appearance exeptional general awareness.
Just like the flight deck, DC-10 has a wide cabin interior resulting in roomy spaciousness. Two aisles run from the front to the aft of the cabin. Both the aisles and seats are wider than any other jet from this era and provided a level of passenger comfort which was revolutionary at that time. The aircraft has capability to have galleys installed on the lower deck or in a section of the aft cabin. The cabin incorporates an advanced air conditioning and pressurization system that ensure comfort for all passengers.