DC-10 and L-1011 Scrapbook

Delta Airlines L-1011 Tristar in front of a Northwest Airlines DC-10 at Boston Massachusetts.

Photos and story by Ken Kula

The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar prototypes both took their first flights in 1970. Both were heavy tri-jets, capable of crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, which were important routes between the Americas and Asia and Europe.

The easiest way to tell the difference between the two jets is to look at the middle tail-mounted engine, the DC-10’s is routed through the vertical tail while the L-1011’s is fitted into an “S” curve structure into the fuselage.

Royal Air Force Tristar K.1

USAF KC-10A Extender

Both the DC-10 and the L-1011 have been converted into military transport/refueling aircraft. The McDonnell Douglas KC-10 was conceived as a true tanker/transport with both the flying boom and trailing hose refueling equipment, for the US Air Force. The L-1011 was modified from civilian airliners for the Royal Air Force, but without the flying boom.

Eastern Airlines L-1011 Tristar at Boston

Nowadays, almost all of the airframes of these 20th century – produced jets (250 Tristars and 386 DC-10s plus 60 KC-10s) are retired due to airframe hours that have reached the end of their fatigue life, or due to the operating expenses of their older technology fuel-thirsty engines.

Northwest Airlines at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport

Here are 26 old photos of these two jet transport types in service, enjoy!

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