I was never enthusiast about aircraft. I mean, I flew when I was a kid. I don’t have any memory of that time. And until October, I didn’t know what it felt like to fly an airplane. Last October, I was invited to Mozilla Summit 2013 in Santa Clara, California, as part of which I flew from Dhaka to San Francisco with an eight hour layover in Dubai.
During the whole two-week trip to the United States, I boarded a total of six planes. While they varied in size and function, I couldn’t find anything that could make me love or hate a particular aircraft.
But that’s not the case to frequent flyers. For us, a flight means going out of country. That rarely happens unless you’re a businessman or a traveler or a journalist going abroad to cover events. However, in the United States alone, it’s almost the only way to get from one state to another at a reasonable time. Also, travelers, business persons as well as journalists who fly around the world therefore grow an enthusiasm about the aircraft they fly on. I did know people have craze over cars. But it wasn’t until recently that I found out people have taste on aircraft as well.
With that said, McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is apparently one hell of a plane with a nasty rap sheet. According to an article on CNN, this aircraft started its journey with American Airlines on 1971. Apparently what’s great about DC-10 was that it filled a need for an aircraft that’s significantly smaller than a Boeing-747 and could serve airports with short runways.
However, despite its popularity, it became a concern for people after it had crashed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in 1989 shortly after take-off. The FAA grounded all DC-10s in the US for more than a month while an investigation into what caused the tragic accident was launched. It was found that a maintenance error was largely responsible for the incident.
It’s not just the Chicago incident, the DC-10 aircraft became infamous for numerous other accidents. Later, a number of design errors were fixed to improve the security of DC-10 from time to time. But as you can guess, it never carried a passenger without a little bit of fear on his mind regarding the nasty history of the aircraft.
Given the public distrusts and probably the continuing threats, the DC-10 made its last flight in 2007 carrying passengers from one place to another. Since then, the aircraft has only been used by cargo services such as FedEx.
But the DC-10 was still active in regular passenger routes. And you probably already know which airline it is. It’s Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
When I read the story up on CNN, I had this expression. When I told my sister about it, she had the same expression. Bangladesh is a place where security and human life is the least of worries. Perhaps that’s why the aircraft going out of passenger service six years ago didn’t make Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ authority to think that they should get a safer and newer plane. But wait, it’s Bangladesh, right?
Anyway, the aircraft finally made its last flight yesterday making it the last commercial passenger flight in the world by McDonnell Douglas DC-10. However, for true aircraft enthusiasts, authorities have lined up a bonus flight set for February. The date and time for the flight hasn’t yet been revealed, but it was confirmed that the DC-10, before retiring from Bangladesh Airlines as well, will make a final run with passengers sometime in February.
According to CNN, the flight will take passengers from Dhaka to Birmingham, England. Tickets for this special flight will go on sale early in January. And looking at the public response to this story on a few news websites, I can see that there’s a high demand from people who are probably nostalgic with this huge three-engine airplane. CNN noted a spokesperson for Air Line Pilots Association saying that it was a fun experience to fly that roomy and quiet plane. Perhaps the pilots of this aircraft will be missing it, too?
If it were me, I wouldn’t have taken the risk to go out flying in a plane with that rap sheet. But if you are, you are in luck. You have one final chance to board the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 in February as it leaves Dhaka for Birmingham. If you’ve planned to get a ticket, make sure to follow this blog (or me on Twitter @aisajib) so that you can be one of the first folks to know when the ticketing opens.
Optionally, you might also hang out with me when you’re in Dhaka. 😉 I’d very much love to know what makes you be a part of DC-10’s last flight: pure enthusiasm, nostalgia or just to be a part of the history?
News source and image: CNN