P_7878

The airliner that no one wanted and loved (?)...

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Posted (edited)

The last commercial flight for MD-11 was on Oct. 26, 2014, when KLM’s last MD-11 touched down at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. KLM had operated ten MD-11s and was the last passenger airline to fly one. Since then, the MD-11 would fly only for cargo carriers. My only flight in a real MD-11 was for a trans-Atlantic travel with KLM. I had alluded to it once before in my post for a flight-report with the PMDG MD-11. To recall, over the mid-Atlantic, the flight ran into one of the most severe turbulence, as I've ever experienced. The KLM pilots changed altitudes several times duly informing the strapped-in passengers, each time, of their actions. But, the persistent turbulence just did not let up, and frankly, for the first-time (calling myself a veteran of long flights), I was really afraid. The MD-11, however, finally and admirably, pulled through, after what seemed, to me, to be an interminable time.

Now, a bit of explanation about the title of the post...MD-11 (a stretched derivative of DC-10) was sadly never truly loved by the operators! First of all, its introduction was unfortunately rather ill-timed. By the time of its first flight (in 1990), the 3- or 4-engine era was already coming to an end, and the 2-engine ETOPS aircraft (such as B777 and A330) were just around the corner. And, ironically, when McDonnell Douglas was later acquired by Boeing, MD-11 being viewed as a competitor of B777, its fate was pretty-much sealed - although McDonnell Douglas and later Boeing did perform studies on the feasibility of removing the tail engine to make it a twin-engine jet, but nothing came of it! The MD-11 was also prone to problems with its flight control systems and other safety concerns. It was involved in several notable fatal accidents (see e.g. FedEx Express Flights (14 and 80), and Swissair Flight 111). Although the Swissair crash was attributed to faulty wiring of the passenger entertainment systems, it essentially certified the doom for MD-11. By the end of 2004, most of the airlines who'd ordered the MD-11 for their long-haul passenger flights, had replaced it with A330, A340, and B777, or converted them to freighters.

Here, I'm flying the PMDG MD-11 only for the 2nd time after nearly 7 months (checked the date of my previous MD-11 post). In our SIMs, this PMDG MD-11 (though legacy) remains one of the premier ground-breaking simulations (after the Queen, of course). It's one of those ever-green SIMs, that, given the study and flight time it deserves (myself being guilty in this regard on both counts), indeed yields great rewards (fun and learning).

And, on appearance, the MD-11 aircraft, itself, looks rather "solid" and "sturdy" (and "aesthetic" too though not in the sense of a L-1011; if you wish, please see my most recent previous post). Its flight controls and autopilot systems are rather unique, making flying this PMDG simulation truly an enjoyable experience (very different from those of the A- and B- aircraft) .

And, personally speaking, the MD-11 looks even more impressive in its Cargo livery. Anyway, here, I've picked the Freighter version PMDG MD-11F, in the color of Aeroflot Cargo, for a flight from St. Petersburg (ULLI) to Moscow Sheremetyevo (UUEE), which was Aeroflot Cargo's Hub Airport. I've followed cold & dark start-up procedure, and uploaded a SimBrief flightplan (output shown) into its FMC. BTW, Aeroflot Cargo ceased operations (was declared bankrupt) as an independent subsidiary of Aeroflot back in 2010, and was merged with Aeroflot. Hope you enjoy these images of this classic aircraft flown in this classic SIM. [PMDG(MD-11F)Drzewiecki(UUEE)/REX]

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Edited by P_7878
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Thank you for sharing. I do like the MD-11 (not sure why, but hey..) yet was too late to the party to get PMDG's offering for FSX:SE. I do enjoy the Sky Sim MD-11 V2.0 though despite it being a "lite" aeroplane rather than a study sim.

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Posted (edited)

Appreciated the comments and also good to note another MD-11 fan here...🙂.... I used to fly SkySim's DC-9 quite a bit, many years ago (lost the installer).... I've heard good things about their products, and they seem to be constantly trying to improve their products too. Enjoy your MD-11, which you seem to be doing already...

Edited by P_7878

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The PMDG MD-11 was my first payware aircraft. Like you I loved the cargo model and did more than a hundred trans-Atlantic and other long-haul flights in the UPS, FedEx and Lufthansa liveries. I also did an eight segment round the world trip. Even though I've totally enjoyed the NGX and 777, the MD-11 is still my favorite. I can't even fully explain why. There's just something magical about the look of that bird taking flight and the more hands-on job in the cockpit. And, given the state of software development tools and the capabilities of personal computers 10 years ago compared with the present, the MD-11 was incredibly well-done and a massive achievement by PMDG.

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first class pics,i use the good old md11 in fsx have the fedex livery and world global,,although i have ngx ect still go back and spend many hours flying cargo i md11 ,i even got the manuals from pmdg at the time and there i some good sites full of iteresting stuff ,like watching the luffthansa you tube vids,

thanks again for the pics, must go and try that route now .

Richard Druce.

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I wish I had bought the Md-11 when I ran FSX,  but I never got around to it. I always felt that I had to wait about 8 years to run PMDG a/c with any acceptable level of performance on a new computer (I sim exclusively on laptop), so that kind of made it a no-go when I moved over to the P3D system. But I love the look of the MD-11, and I agree, the cargo liveries look great on her. She is a very pretty bird, and I enjoyed your post, especially all those great VC shots. PMDG DO make a pretty front office. 

Thanks for sharing!

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Posted (edited)

Folks: Thanks for the evocative comments!

It's great to receive your feedback! I may need to consult with some of you regarding a few tidbits about this amazing SIM when I fly it next time. I think I've barely scratched the surface of it, especially because of my 4-5 year break...

The best thing is that this PMDG plane does not cause me any issues even with my (moderate) FSX-SE system (cannot say the same about PMDG JS-41, which I really loved too) - especially for the type of (short/medium-range) flights (I have time to do these days). However, depending on the range of flight, from cold & dark to full shut-down with this one, partly because of the novelty and complexity of its automation (unless one is a real pilot...which I'm not...), could be nearly a full day's effort, so usually either "call-for-dinner" or "mid-flight-MD11" has to take a pause...(and I guess you can imagine which one does...🙂...)

But, starting with the use of the term/callout "AUTOFLIGHT" (rather than more usual "AUTOPILOT"), and with such a wonderfully simulated vertical guidance scheme (magical flashing "PROF" Alert etc.. at the TOD) makes it a joy to fly. Let me say, it always performs perfectly. I think, PMDG, with this offering, truly honed their skills for their later products.

And, I feel sad that MD-11 was the final curtain for the legendary (and innovative) Douglas lineage that had given aviation DC-3, when DC-3 was exactly what was needed. Unfortunately, that cannot be said for their end-of-line aircraft...they lacked "something" (such as, "range", performance" or/and a "new approach") to compete with the other/upcoming giants of manufacturing..., still as many of you say here, MD word will always conjure up genuine fascination and respect whenever it's mentioned! If you have this SIM enjoy still while you can, and those who never flew it (but wish to), I hope you can get it one day to experience it...Good day (or rest of day) to you all!

Edited by P_7878
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There is also a newer MD-11 rendition due for X-Plane in (likely) a few years, but until then PMDG will proudly carry the baton -- they did a truly commendable job!

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Beautiful!!! Love seeing these Fed/Ex and UPS Freight Dogs flying into Chicago's O'Hare in the early Morning Hours. 

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