MD-10 Program

The MD-10 program allows operators to retrofit DC-10s with a new, advanced- technology flight deck. Benefits of the retrofit include a two-person flight deck, weight savings, increased reliability, and commonality with the MD-11 fleet.

Boeing is offering the MD-10 program to the owners of all 413 DC-10s currently in service or storage, giving the program the potential to become the largest airplane modification effort in commercial airplane history. The program provides operators with the opportunity to retrofit their airplanes with the advanced common flight deck (ACF).

Converting DC-10s to MD-10s produces significant cost savings associated with changing to a two-person flight crew from a three-person flight crew. The conversion also replaces approximately 50 line replaceable units (LRU) with 19 state-of-the-art LRUs, improving reliability and decreasing inventory costs. The MD-10 conversion achieves a weight savings of approximately 1,000 lb (454 kg). Additional maintenance and labor savings will result from commonality in an MD-10/MD-11 fleet, including same type ratings for pilots who fly either airplane.

The launch customer for the program is Federal Express (FedEx), which will apply the flight-deck retrofit to 70 DC-10 Freighters. Flight test of the first ACF-configured airplane is planned for late 1998. An 800-hr, three-airplane flight test program is planned to lead to certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in late 1999, with first delivery to FedEx in early 2000.

Retrofit of the 70 FedEx DC-10s (plus options for another 50) will be typical of MD-10 program activity, which may include two phases:
1. Passenger-to-freighter conversion.
2. Flight deck retrofit.

1 Passenger-To-Freighter Conversion
In the first phase of the FedEx MD-10 program, Douglas Products Division will convert passenger-configured DC-10s to freighters and redeliver them to FedEx. The conversion program, which began in February 1997, takes about 120 days per airplane. It includes a heavy maintenance check, standardization and reliability upgrades, and removal of passenger accommodations. Other main conversion activities include:

This door, which is common to that used on the MD-11 freighter, is installed on the left side of the forward fuselage. It measures nearly 12 ft (3.7 m) wide and 8.5 ft (2.6 m) high, and it is modular in design for ready installation into the fuselage. A new tool fixture weighing 52 tons (47,216 kg) is used to build the door and surrounding structure.

A main deck rigid cargo barrier (figure 1) replaces the standard cargo net (see below). By eliminating the room needed for net stretch in the event of an accident, the barrier opens space for additional cargo or passengers. It allows seating and basic amenities for five passengers in the forward cabin area in the baseline freighter.

Several structural changes are made during freighter conversion to permit operators to carry more revenue cargo. The MTOGW of airplanes converted through the MD-10 program increases as follows:

2 Flight Deck Retrofit
Phase two of the FedEx MD-10 program is installation of the ACF, a liquid crystal display flight deck based on the integrated glass design in the MD-11. It features six 8- by 8-in displays that show all flight and systems information. Commonality with the MD-11 flight deck allows flight crews to move from one airplane to the other with minimal additional training. The ACF includes the following features:

These new-generation computers integrate the MD-10 flight deck display electronics and related software. The computers integrate such multiple functions as displays, flight management, data aquisition and central aural warning. Three of the computers, coupled with a pair of new aircraft interface units linking them to the aircraft systems, replace 22 separate computers in the existing DC-10 design.

A major benefit of the ACF derives from the airplane system controllers originally designed for the MD-11. These controllers eliminate the need for a flight engineer by managing the functions of all major airplane systems, such as the hydraulic and fuel systems.

Other significant improvements are incorporated within the flight deck upgrade to further reduce flight crew workload and enhance the operational reliability of the MD-10. These improvements include advanced weather radar with predictive windshear detection, the MD-11-derived Category IIIb autoland capability, satellite communications, Global Positioning System navigation capabilities, and future air navigation system compatibility (see "Operator Benefits of Future Air Navigation System").

Taking advantage of the MD-10 program offered by Boeing can provide operators of DC-10s with a number of benefits, including lower operating costs, greater reliability, a reduced spares inventory, and increased payload and range. Operators may choose a passenger-to-freighter configuration, a retrofit of the DC-10 flight deck with the advanced common flight deck, or both for maximum benefit.


Rigid Cargo Barrier
A rigid cargo barrier (RCB) is now being installed as a replacement for existing cargo barrier nets in DC-10 and MD-11 airplanes undergoing passenger-to-freighter modification. Compared with nets, the RCB offers operators more space for cargo and additional crew as well as higher allowable main deck cargo loads.

Douglas Products Division is also considering installing the RCB on production MD-11 Freighters. By replacing the cargo net, the RCB frees the space forward of the net that is otherwise kept clear to allow for stretching during an emergency landing. Operators can use this space for more baggage stowage or additional crew seats.

The RCB is designed to restrain a main deck cargo load of 202,000 lb (91,627 kg). This substantially increases the allowable main deck cargo load for the MD-11 Freighter from its current limit of 156,000 lb (70,761 kg). It also allows maximum live-animal transport on the main deck.

The RCB installation consists of a 10-in (25.4-cm)-thick interlocking bonded aluminum sandwich structure supported at 18 locations on the fuselage shell and 10 locations on the floor. This design results in the most weight-efficient cargo barrier in the world, as measured in pounds of cargo per pound of barrier. The RCB is tightly integrated with the fuselage for two reasons:

The RCB incorporates an access door with a viewing window on the left side of the fuselage, a decompression panel on the right side, and a complete smoke barrier. All primary attachments to the fuselage are forward of the RCB to minimize the possibility of damage from cargo. A restraint system strengthens the forward fuselage, keeps the RCB in place, and provides additional protection for the crew in case of an emergency landing.

Installation of the RCB requires relocation of the electrical equipment, adding 40 ft3 additional stack height. This improves access to the circuit breakers and provides additional main deck cargo space by eliminating intrusion of the drop ceiling.


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