The MD-11, the world's only modern large, wide-cabin trijet, offers a highly sophisticated flight deck and advanced automatic system controls that substantially reduce pilot workload. In service with customers in all parts of the world, the MD-11 was produced in Long Beach, California, at the Douglas Products Division of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes until February 2001. A worldwide network of subcontractors and suppliers supported the assembly line.
The MD-11 was available in four models -- passenger, all freighter, convertible freighter and "combi," where passengers and freight are carried on the main deck with additional freight carried below the deck. An extended-range (ER) feature was available on all versions.
Seating capacities on the standard airplane vary from 285 in a three-class arrangement to 410 in an all-economy configuration. Below the main deck, the MD-11 provides more space for containerized or palletized cargo after passenger bags are loaded than any other jetliner, yielding important additional revenue for its operators.
Advances in aerodynamics, propulsion, aircraft systems, cockpit avionics and interior design contribute to the performance and operating economy of all MD-11 models. Aerodynamic improvements include winglets and a redesigned wing trailing edge, a smaller horizontal tail with integral fuel tanks and an extended tail cone. These features reduce drag, save fuel and add range.
The nonstop range of the standard MD-11 operating at a maximum takeoff weight of 602,500 pounds (273,290 kg) is approximately 7,630 statute miles (12,270 km) with 285 passengers and their bags. The extended-range version of the MD-11, equipped with an auxiliary fuel tank and operating at a higher maximum takeoff weight of 630,500 pounds (285,990 kg), has a range of approximately 8,225 statute miles (13,230 km).
Three engines -- General Electric CF6-80C2, Pratt & Whitney 4460, and Pratt & Whitney 4462 -- are offered to power the MD-11, providing maximum efficiency in their thrust class.
The advanced flight deck features six cathode ray tube displays, digital instrumentation, wind-shear detection and guidance devices, a dual flight management system that helps conserve fuel and a dual digital automatic flight control system (autopilot) with fail operational capability. Computerized system controllers perform automated normal, abnormal and emergency checklist duties for major systems, reducing flight crew requirements from three to two persons. Industry-standard interlinked wheel-and-column controls enhance crew communications and situation awareness at all times.
The MD-11 was launched on Dec. 30, 1986. Assembly of the first unit began March 9, 1988. First flight was on Jan. 10, 1990. Certification occurred Nov. 8, 1990, with first delivery on Dec. 7. For comparison, the MD-11 is 200 feet 10 inches (61.2 m) long, or 18.6 feet (5.66 m) longer than the earlier DC-10 trijet, and carries about 50 more passengers.