United was the joint launch customer for McDonnell Douglas’s new trijet widebody in 1968 along with American Airlines. The arrival of a large fleet of 747s helped United to lose $46 million in 1970 however that didn’t stop them ordering an impressive fleet of DC-10s. They ordered 30 with 30 options and the type entered service on 16th August 1971 seating 222 passengers. Forty six were delivered up to 1981 including five which were initially leased to Delta while they awaited their Tristars.
Despite some high profile incidents throughout its career with United they kept the faith for nearly three decades, even expanding the fleet when it became a global airline in the 80s. They formed the basis of the widebody fleet until the arrival of large numbers of 767-300s. I'm out of space for further United models in my collection but despite this technicality I have managed to find room for 3 of the recent Aeroclassics releases showing off three of the five schemes worn by the type in its career. For the record the liveries available are:
N1808U (aboce in the delivery Mainliner) became N369FE ‘Jessie’ in 1997 but it was another decade before she was converted to MD-10 status. She was stored at Victorville in January 2010.
N1833U (below in the Saul Bass) : Five of United's early aircraft actually began service with Delta who leased them until 1975. This aircraft thus initially became N601DA on 10th October 1972 before finally taking up her United registration as N1833U in 1975. She became N377FE ‘Shelby’. She was then converted to a freighter in 1998 and received the MD10 upgrade in 2001.
N1808U (below in the battleship Grey) became N369FE ‘Jessie’ in 1997 but it was another decade before she was converted to MD-10 status. She was stored at Victorville in January 2010.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: