The DC-10-40 is one of the variants of the DC-10 series, a trijet airliner created to transport passengers and cargo. Three Pratt and Whitney JT9D high bypass turbofan engines with 53,000 lbf maximum thrust supply power to the aircraft.

McDonnell Douglas
United States
1973 to: 1983
US$20 million (1972)
3x Pratt & Whitney JT9D-59A
53,000 pound-force
Max Cruise Speed:
530 knots
982 Km/h
Approach Speed (Vref):
149 knots
Travel range:
5,100 Nautical Miles
9,445 Kilometers
Fuel Economy:
Service Ceiling:
42,000 feet
Rate of Climb:
2000 feet / minute
10.16metre / second
Take Off Distance:
3000 metre - 9,842.40 feet
Landing Distance:
1800 metre - 5,905.44 feet
Max Take Off Weight:
251,744 Kg
554,995 lbs
Max Landing Weight:
182,798 Kg
402,996 lbs
Max Payload:
44,356 Kg
97,787 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity:
36,652 gallon
138,742 litre
Baggage Volume:
130.7 m3 / 4,616 ft3
Seats - Economy / General:
399 seats
Seats - Business Class:
Seats - First Class:
Cabin Height:
2.41 metre - 7.91 feet
Cabin Width:
5.7 metre - 18.70 feet
Cabin Length:
36.7 metre - 120.41 feet
Exterior Length:
55.5 metre - 182.08 feet
Tail height:
17.7 metre - 58.07 feet
Fuselage Diameter:
6.0 metre - 19.68 feet
Wing Span / Rotor Diameter:
50.4 metre - 165.35 feet
Wing Tips:
No Winglets

DC-10-40 Production and Development

The DC-10 series was built with four major variants namely the DC-10-10, the DC-10-15, the DC-10-30 and the DC-10-40.

Initially named as DC-10-20, the DC-10-40 was relabeled because of a particular demand from Northwest Orient Airlines, a United States airline from 1926 to 2010. The said airline requested for an enhanced version with a greater maximum take off weight and more efficient engines.

Northwest Orient Airlines ordered twenty-two DC-10-40 while Japan Airlines ordered 20 aircraft.

Forty-two aircraft were produced from 1973 to 1983.

DC-10-40 Design

The semi-monocoque fuselage of the DC-10-40 has a length of 55.5 meters and a diameter of 6 meters. The cantilevered wing has a wingspan of 50.4 meters and a wing area of 338.8 square meters. It composed of a primary box structure with a leading edge and trailing edge secondary structure.

Its fuel tanks were designed as rupture-resistant in the event of landing gear or flap separation. The aircraft’s tail with a height of 17.7 meters is constructed with metals and has a flexible horizontal stabilizer, right and left elevators, a stable vertical stabilizer, and a two section rudder. The horizontal stabilizer is rotated at the trailing edge and is equipped with power motors to adjust the angle of incidence.

The DC-10-40 has a cabin length of 36.7 meters, height of 2.41 meters and width of 5.7 meters. It is designed with conventional landing gear, brakes, nose wheel steering and anti-skid systems that are powered hydraulically. It has a wheelbase of 22.1 meters.

DC-10-40 Flight Deck

The aircraft is equipped with navigation equipment such as the Automatic Direction Finding (ADF) to classify the relative bearing from a radio beacon transmitting in a medium frequency or low frequency bandwidth, a Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range (VOR) with a receiving DME unit to be aware of its position and stay on track by collecting radio signals, Instrument Landing System (ILS) that gives the pilot horizontal and vertical guidance  while on an approach to landing, and an Inertial Navigation System (INS) that calculates the current position, orientation, and velocity.

DC-10-40 Engine and Performance

The DC-10-40 is powered by JT9D high bypass turbofan engines supplied by Pratt and Whitney. These engines were built by making use of titanium alloys and aluminum alloys. It has a single stage fan, a low pressure 3-stage compressor, and a high pressure 11-stage compressor connected to a high pressure 2-stage turbine and low pressure 4-stage turbine. The engine has a maximum thrust of 53,000 lbf.

The aircraft has a take off distance of 3,000 meters and a landing distance of 1,800 meters. It has a service ceiling of 42,000 feet, rate of climb of 2,000 feet per minute, travel range of 5,100 nautical miles, and a maximum cruise speed of 530 knots.

The DC-10-40’s maximum take off and landing weight are 251,744 kg and 182,798 kg respectively. It has a maximum payload of 44,356 kg and a fuel tank capacity of 36,652 US Gal.

DC-10-40 Notable Incident

On January 31 2001, a Japan Airlines flight 958 (DC-10-40) experienced a mid-air incident as it almost crashed with Japan Airlines flight 907 (Boeing 747-400) due to inaccurate and inconsistent directions from the air traffic control. The incident resulted to 100 injured occupants of the Boeing 747 while no injuries reported on the DC-10-40. The flight 958 went onward and landed successfully to Narita International Airport in Japan.


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