FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LONG BEACH, Calif., Sept. 16, 1996 -- McDonnell Douglas and Federal Express announced an agreement today to convert the express transport company's DC-10 trijets to an advanced technology freighter configuration designated the MD-10.
The project, which will convert a minimum of 60 DC-10s to MD-10s, will occur in two phases. The first phase will be basic passenger-to-freighter reconfiguration of 36 DC-10s being acquired by Federal Express from United Airlines and will begin in early 1997. The airline already operates 35 DC-10s.
The second phase will include the installation of the new McDonnell Douglas Advanced Common Flightdeck (ACF) in the modified aircraft and other Federal Express DC-10s, converting the three-crew DC-10 cockpit into a two-crew MD-10 glass cockpit. This ACF conversion will be certified and available beginning
mid-1999 when the first MD-10 joins the Federal Express fleet. The ex-passenger DC-10s will remain in service with Federal Express during the period between the freighter and the ACF modifications.
"We're very pleased to have completed this agreement with Federal Express, the largest operator of McDonnell Douglas DC-10 freighters. This will be the largest aircraft modification program McDonnell Douglas has launched since the 1970s," said Mike Sears, president of the Douglas Aircraft division of McDonnell Douglas. "Development of the MD-10 conversion opens the way for the same advanced technology upgrading of other airlines' DC-10s."
The DC-10 passenger-to-freighter reconfiguration involves removing passenger accommodations and installing a main deck cargo door, measuring 140 inches wide by 102 inches high, on the left side of the forward fuselage. McDonnell Douglas has designed specialized tooling for fabricating and installing the door to minimize the time the aircraft is out of service and to improve flexibility in production line rates.
Structural changes will be made to increase the aircraft's maximum takeoff gross weight (MTOGW). The Series 10 DC-10 MTOGW will increase to 446,000 pounds, with a payload of 143,500 pounds for a nonstop range of approximately 2,000 nautical miles. The Series 30 MD-10, with an MTOGW of 580,000 pounds, can carry a 163,000-pound payload 3,700 nautical miles.
A main deck rigid barrier, rather than the standard cargo net, is planned and will allow seating and basic amenities for five passengers in the forward cabin area in the baseline freighter. A powered cargo loading system is planned for the lower cargo deck.
McDonnell Douglas' recently designed ACF is based on Honeywell's Versatile Integrated Avionics design, the VIA 2000. Upon installation of this advanced technology, the upgraded freighters will be redesignated MD-10s.
Honeywell will provide the majority of the new system hardware and software for the ACF. The baseline system, which is derived from the MD-11 flight deck, features six-across,
eight-inch flat panel, liquid crystal displays and improved system control functions.
Behind the flight deck panels, triple VIA computers will integrate the LCD electronics and related software. This design will have significant flight deck commonality with the current Federal Express MD-11 fleet, thereby reducing flight crew training time for MD-11 pilots.
An overall savings of approximately 1,000 pounds in removed equipment is predicted as a result of the ACF modification.
The useful economic life of the DC-10 will be extended an expected 20 years following incorporation of all planned changes.
Other major improvements, such as advanced weather radar with predictive windshear detection, a category IIIb autoflight system, landing gear reliability improvements and aerodynamic drag reductions, will be installed during the ACF conversion to upgrade the overall capability of the MD-10.
In addition, Satellite Communications, Global Positioning System navigation capabilities, Future Air Navigation System compatibility and On-board Maintenance Terminal will further reduce crew workload and enhance the operational reliability of the MD-10.
A similar set of advanced cockpit displays and systems is being designed into the new McDonnell Douglas MD-95 100-passenger twin jet and as an option for MD-90 twin jets. Moreover, it will soon be available for all new McDonnell Douglas commercial aircraft.
This ACF technology will offer airline customers a high degree of cockpit and systems commonality across the entire family of aircraft, which will translate into major savings in crew training and operating costs for airlines with more than one McDonnell type aircraft.
An initial ACF installation in a flight test DC-10 will begin in early 1998, with first flight of the ACF-configured aircraft expected in the third quarter of 1998. Two additional aircraft will be modified and used in a flight test program of approximately 800 flying hours. Federal Aviation Administration certification is planned during 1999.
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