Trijet Time!

Trijet Time!

41-year-old McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 now at Aviationtag!

In 1980 the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 sporting manufacturer serial number (MSN) 47813 and line number 312 took to the skies for the first time.

The most successful version of the McDonnell Douglas trijet was built for the British airline Laker Airways and delivered to the United Kingdom on 24 March 1980 with registration G-BGXG.

Sir Frederick Alfred Laker, better known as Sir Freddie Laker, was the airline’s founder. The Briton was an aviation pioneer, flying Royal Airforce transport planes during the Second World War, buying old military planes after the war and establishing a successful airline by the name of Aviation Traders. He later went on to transport cars and passengers with his newly founded company Channel Air Bridge. His big break through came when he founded Laker Airways in 1966, a new – but very different – airline. Laker offered the first no-frills flights under the name Skytrain, which could take you from London to New York for just 59 pounds, whilst British Airways or Pan Am charged around three times as much. So Sir Freddie Laker is credited with inventing the low-cost carrier and enjoyed some extremely successful years with the airline.


But when an American Airlines DC-10 crashed in Chicago in May 1979, killing 273 people, all aircraft of this type had to be grounded temporarily. This cost the airline millions, which had no other models. Laker was also waging a price war with the established airlines, which were also attempting to lure passengers with low prices.

As the government failed to bail the airline out, Laker Airways had no choice but to announce the end of the company on 5 February 1982.

Our aircraft had been in service for Laker Airways for just two years before being impounded in the wake of the insolvency in 1982 and returned to the United States in 1984.

There it was registered as N1854U, joining United Airlines as a passenger aircraft on 21 September 1984. In September 1997, our aircraft was remodelled to become a freighter with a main deck cargo door and transferred to United Airlines Cargo. During its 17 years of service as a pax aircraft, the DC-10 could be spotted in Chicago, Denver, Tokyo and Taiwan, to name but a few locations.

United Airlines DC10 right after take off
N326FE up in the air

On 23 March 2001, our McDonnell Douglas - now sporting registration N326FE – became part of the Federal Express fleet. FedEx is the world’s largest operator of McDonnell Douglas MD-10/DC-10s. By 2021, the DC10-10s are scheduled to be completely retired, but the other DC10-30s will remain in service initially.

In 2006, the lease ended and the DC10-30 returned to United Airlines, which parked it at Phoenix Goodyear Airport. In 2008, the leasing company Logistic Air took ownership of the N326FE, transferring it to Roswell. This is where we discovered the aircraft and were able to secure some parts for upcycling into our Aviationtag edition.

DC-10 in the desert

Get your piece from a DC-10 now!

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