Pima Air and Space Museum Aircraft
The Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine wide-body airliner. Design work began as Douglas’ entry for a U.S. Air Force contract that eventually resulted in the C-5 Galaxy. With the Air Force contract lost to Lockheed, Douglas redesigned the aircraft as a medium to long range airliner capable of seating over three hundred passengers. Several versions of the DC-10 were built. The shorter ranged “Domestic” version flew first in 1970 and entered commercial service with American and United Airlines in 1971. The longer range “International” version entered service the following year. Early in its service the DC-10 developed a bad reputation for safety after several accidents related to design defects, particularly in the aircraft’s cargo doors. As problems were identified and fixed the plane’s safety record improved and by the end of its passenger service the DC-10’s record was similar to other aircraft of its generation. The last passenger carrying DC-10 was retired in 2014 however many DC-10s and the similar MD-11 aircraft continue to fly as cargo carriers. The United States Air Force uses an aerial tanker version of the DC-10 designated as the KC-10 Extender. This particular DC-10, DC-10-10, is the second McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 to be produced. First serving as a test aircraft, the airplane would later go on to be used by several airlines. In 1992, Orbis purchased it and registered it as N220AU. After 2 years of outfitting the Orbis DC-10 took over as the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital and completed its inaugural mission to Beijing, China. Over the next 22 years, the Orbis DC-10 completed 299 missions, and visited 78 countries. The Orbis DC-10 flew its final Flying Eye Hospital mission to Trujillo, Peru in September 2015.