The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 was initially proposed as a twin engine medium range transport aircraft to carry 250 passengers, this was after a request from American Airlines and the aircraft was called the Douglas D-966-1. However with the foresight of the McDonnell Douglas engineers this idea was put to the wayside and they developed something totally different an intercontinental tri-jet capable of carrying 380 passengers. With the development of more powerful engines from Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and Rolls Royce the once thought US domestic aircraft became an intercontinental passenger airliner.
The combination of competition from the Lockheed L1011 TriStar, Boeing 747 and the new Airbus A300 aircraft and two very unfortunate accidents hampered the sales of the DC-10. Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) absolved the design but the economic downturn of the worlds economy affected all four of the aircraft manufacturers which resulted in a big downturn in sales.
The replacement of the DC-10 by the MD-11 and the new larger twin engine aircraft has seen the DC-10 disappear from the passenger gateways and moved to the cargo ramps of many airports, following in the footsteps of the DC-8.