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#4586354 - 11/27/17 08:28 AM Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies
CincyDavid Offline


Registered: 03/03/16
Posts: 707
Loc: Cincinnati, OH USA
An issue raised in a different thread...
"Got my fill of DC-9s and MD-80s on Midwest too, some of the safest airliners in existence. Donald Douglas knew how to build a plane. Not saying Boeing doesn't either, but it was a different design philosophy."

My sense is that Douglas Commercial planes are/were tough, stout, arguably overbuilt. How does/did that compare to Boeing & Airbus as far as design philosophy?
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#4586395 - 11/27/17 09:07 AM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: CincyDavid]
Langanobob Offline


Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 208
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Not sure how or if it applies to your question; there used to be a saying that the best planes were designed by Lockheed, built by Boeing and sold by Douglas.

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#4586406 - 11/27/17 09:18 AM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: CincyDavid]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Don Douglas, Boeing and Lockheed have all built amazing airplanes, built like older Dodge trucks (heavier than they need to be)

The DC-9 "series" is some of the best EVER. Still flying 50 years later.

Airbus are built cheap and light. They are "throwawy" aircraft
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#4586580 - 11/27/17 12:57 PM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: CincyDavid]
Danh Offline


Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1750
Loc: .
I suppose one could argue that Douglas built very durable aircraft and that some may have been overbuilt. But I think this ended with the DC-9. I don't recall any modern aircraft that was involved in more passenger fatalities/mile from mechanical failure than the DC-10 (O'Hare, Turkish Airlines/Paris, United/Sioux City, etc.). And for those few remaining operators of the MD-11, believe the model still has the "Death Star" nickname. Maybe the "Donald Douglas" philosophy eventually wore off.

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#4587107 - 11/27/17 10:41 PM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: CincyDavid]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Now..... all the Cruddy CRJ's and ERJ's are disposable like Kleenex.
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#4587859 - 11/28/17 05:44 PM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: CincyDavid]
MolaKule Offline


Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 19042
Loc: Iowegia - USA
Originally Posted By: CincyDavid
An issue raised in a different thread...
"Got my fill of DC-9s and MD-80s on Midwest too, some of the safest airliners in existence. Donald Douglas knew how to build a plane. Not saying Boeing doesn't either, but it was a different design philosophy."

My sense is that Douglas Commercial planes are/were tough, stout, arguably overbuilt. How does/did that compare to Boeing & Airbus as far as design philosophy?


It doesn't matter because no matter who you are, you have to build to the FAA requirements for Stresses and G-forces.

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#4587907 - 11/28/17 06:34 PM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: MolaKule]
oil_film_movies Offline


Registered: 06/13/16
Posts: 2566
Loc: MN
Originally Posted By: MolaKule
It doesn't matter because no matter who you are, you have to build to the FAA requirements for Stresses and G-forces.

True for minimum structural design. Engineers actually have a margin in mind, and fatigue life and corrosion is factored in as well.
I've heard the structural margins have been higher on the DC (Douglas heritage) planes vs. Boeing & Airbus.

On an airliner forum a while back:
"The minimum skin thickness on the DC-8 and DC-9 is 0.050". The belly skin on the DC-8 just aft of the wheel wells is thick but the thickness tapers down as you go aft. 0.050" is the standard thickness over most of the fuselage skin.
Minimum skin thickness on the 727 is 0.038" and the 737 is 0.036"."
(727 and 737 are Boeing, and they generally have thinner skins.)

Another poster on the forum said he saw a minimum aluminum skin thickness of 0.090 on Lockheed C-130J models.

Important to note that skin thickness can vary from one section to another, yet the overall practice has been to use thinner skins on Boeing aircraft.
Longeron cross section, placement, and how many are placed also factor in.

What may really tell us which are stouter, Douglas vs. Boeing, would be in longitudinal bending stiffness (rigidity in fuselage bending).
With thicker skins, my money is on Douglas, and the tough as nails C-130J for Lockheed.


Edited by oil_film_movies (11/28/17 06:34 PM)

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#4587929 - 11/28/17 06:49 PM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: Danh]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 15699
Loc: OH
Not really.
The DC-10 was a very robust design and actually had a longer fatigue life than the sainted B747.
Northwest retried their DC-10s after about 140K hours. Don't know of any 747s that were flown that many hours.
The MD-11 is a very demanding aircraft on approach since it's basically a stretch DC-10 with a much smaller horizontal stab and elevators. An unstable approach that a pilot might save in a DC-10 is one that should prompt a go-around in the MD-11. Some pilots haven't gone around when they should have with tragic results.
OTOH, Finnair operated pax MD-11s trans Atlantic for twenty years with never a problem and Biman also operated the type in pax service for many years with no problems and KLM did the same. That a certain cargo carrier's pilots have had sometimes fatal difficulties with the type may be more a reflection of their operating standards than any shortcomings of the airframe.
If the crews are properly trained and are held to proper operating standards, the MD11 was a long life airframe that could be flown anywhere without issue.
The early builds had performance issues related to fuel burn and range that MD addressed and corrected and were it not for the 777 (the real death star for both the MD11 and A340 programs), the skies over all of the oceans would have been full of MD11s and A340s.
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#4587944 - 11/28/17 06:57 PM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: fdcg27]
4WD Offline


Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 6377
Loc: Texas
Years ago I was on a BA DC10 sitting across from James Baker in FC the engineer seat was empty until one of the British pilots invited Mr Baker to come up for a visit he stayed there a long time ~ even for the landing
All pre 9/11 of course

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#4588600 - 11/29/17 10:10 AM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: CincyDavid]
andrewg Offline


Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 5466
Loc: Buckley, Wa.
As for jumbos, in my opinion no aircraft can match the durability, safety, beauty, and design of the Boeing 747.

STILL in production after 49 years! It's been in commercial service for 48 years. It's a veritable icon of aviation.

As for hours/cycles vs. the DC-10? Not sure but certainly the info is available online. I know a lot of DC-10/MD-11 have been in freighter service for many years. As for 747's I did a quick look and see that many operated to well over 100k hours. I believe Southern Air and KLM have/had some in service over 120k. I wonder how many hours those old Iranian 747's have?
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#4588702 - 11/29/17 11:21 AM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: CincyDavid]
CincyDavid Offline


Registered: 03/03/16
Posts: 707
Loc: Cincinnati, OH USA
I've never flown in a 747 or DC10/MD11, but had at least one flight on an L1011. Running out of chances for a 747 flight...
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#4590234 - 11/30/17 06:38 PM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: andrewg]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 15699
Loc: OH
The B747 has a hard time limit of 127K hours. This can be extended at great expense.
This also equals more than fourteen years of actual flight time which is pretty impressive.
The DC-10 could do more hours and cycles.
The FAA site provides hour and cycle limits for every commercial aircraft.
The old Doug/MD designs always exceeded the limits for the Boeings which typically exceed those for comparable Airbus aircraft.
Douglas did know how to build aircraft although Boeing and Airbus do as well.
Most of us have probably flown on plenty of each and they really aren't significantly different in fatal accident rates.
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#4593106 - 12/03/17 02:27 PM Re: Boeing vs. Douglas design philosophies [Re: CincyDavid]
BusyLittleShop Offline


Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 850
Loc: Ca USA
Originally Posted By: MolaKule

It doesn't matter because no matter who you are, you have to build to the FAA requirements for Stresses and G-forces.


True fact but the geese in the seats opinions have power...


Boeing design philosophy...
1933 247


1936 XB15


1967 737


Douglas design philosophy...
1933 DC-1

1941 XB19


1965 Douglas DC9


Edited by BusyLittleShop (12/03/17 02:34 PM)
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