Farewell to the DC-10

Northwest Airlines is retiring the venerable DC-10 on January 8. NWA is the last U.S. operator to use the thirty-five-year-old, three-engined, McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing) DC-10. (The last came off the line in 1989.)

While the public generally remembers the plane mainly for a series of terrific crashes in the 1970s (it’s crashed 15 times, killing 1430 people), it has been an industry workhorse. In fact, in an odd way, the horrific and dramatic Souix City crash of United 232 in 1989 illustrated how sturdy the plane was.

Officials expect the DC-10 to continue being used for years, primarily hauling freight. But for passengers in the U.S., it’s flying off into the sunset.