This is pretty much to scale, believe it* or not.
Click to expand
And actually, the real wing of this KC-10 jet, which would be considered the size of a medium-big jetliner these days, is smaller than what you’ll find on Craaaaaazy Larry Ellison’s AC72 America’s Cup yachts.
And actually, Craaaaaazy Larry Ellison’s AC72 America’s Cup yachts have wings bigger those found on monstrous Boeing 747′s, your prototypical jumbo jets.
Hey Larry! Why don’t we use smaller wings on days when the wind is blowing a lot? Oh, you said no, Larry? OK fine.
But hey Larry! Why don’t we allow control devices like, IDK, spoilers, you know, the way other similar-sized wings have? Oh, you said no, Larry? OK fine.
But hey Larry! Why don’t we have a spoiler system for use in emergency situations, like NASCAR has, you know, since your people felt the need to promote this under-regulated “sport” as “NASCAR ON THE WATER?”
Oh, you said no, Larry? OK fine.
But you WILL take eight figures from the taxpayers of San Francisco in order to fund your ego-gratification race?
Well then, On With The Show.
*Your DC-10, MD-10, KC10 type aircraft were famous for having big, big tailplanes, back in the day, the likes of which you can see in this photo, the horizontal stabilizer you can see at the back. Which was fine, but it wasn’t efficient because tailplanes don’t really lift anything. So, McDonnell-Douglas engineers made the updated model, the MD-11, with a smaller tailplane. And they also strengthened the landing gear to deal with the lengthened body. All these things led to a more efficient but harder-to-handle aircraft. So in tough landing situations things head south in a hurry and, instead of the landing gear collapsing, you’ll break a wing off and roll over. (See below.) These days, this is mostly a problem for FedEx pilots and it will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Godspeed, FedEx pilots.
Oh, and this wasn’t the only safety issue with this unsuccessful and relatively rare a/c.
- On July 31, 1997 FedEx Flight 14, MD-11 N611FE, crashed during a landing at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey. The aircraft flipped onto its back and subsequently burned, following a landing attempt from an unstabilized flare.
- On August 22, 1999 China Airlines Flight 642, an MD-11 operated by subsidiary Mandarin Airlines, crashed while landing at Hong Kong airport during a typhoon that exceeded the plane’s crosswind specifications, also flipping onto its back and burning. Three passengers were killed.
- On March 23, 2009 FedEx Express Flight 80, N526FE, crashed at Narita International Airport, Japan while landing in windy conditions. Airport surveillance video showed the aircraft becoming airborne again after the first touch-down, then impacting nose-first the second time and turning onto its left side, erupting into flames; the impact flipped the aircraft upside down. The aircraft finally came to rest some distance left of the runway. The two flight crew members were killed.“