X-Planes Missing Outlier: The DC-10

August 20, 2021

As they always have in life, friendly rivalries emerge between fan bases of competition.  In our flight sim community, this can be seen between camps of Airbus and Boeing fans.  However, in the middle somewhere is a camp of what some may consider oddballs, of which I count myself a member of, that are fans of McDonnell-Douglas.  MDD fans have something of a dilemma in X-Plane however.  While yes, the MD-11 from Rotate is due to arrive on the market soon, there is a void in the add-on market.  The DC-10 has received little to no love for the platform.

Long-time flyers in the world of sim aviation may recall the DC-10 with a wide selection of options available for FS2004 and FSX in both premium and freeware form.  For FSX, Commercial Level’s premium add-on was a great pick for fans of the DC-10, as well as Thomas Ruth’s freeware alternative just to name two.  Both of which are still very serviceable if you have no problem flying in FSX’s older engine.  The same can be said for CLS’s offering for P3D.

Some might say that there is a DC-10 for X-Plane, and they are right.  There are two that I know of.  A premium option for a small fee that was available and has since disappeared from the market, and a freeware add-on from Aerobridge.  The offering from Aerobridge however was created for X-Plane 10, not 11, and requires a small bit of modification to have a workable 3D cockpit.  The add-on is flyable in X-plane 11 if you can look past the aging model of the older platform and the stability issues that can arise with it.  Many will also point out that there is indeed a variant of the DC-10 in X-Plane by default with the KC-10 Extender.  The KC-10 however served solely as a tanker and again was developed for X-Plane 10, not 11.

As I mentioned before, there are a good number of MDD fans and flight sim fans in general looking forward to the MD-11 from Rotate, myself included.  But I must confess, as a fan of older planes, I am not a fan of glass cockpits.  And yes, while later DC-10s (MD-10s) were retrofitted with glass cockpits as well, I think that an early DC-10 would complement our fleets with an option for old fashioned gauges and dials.  It would also provide another freight option outside of the saturated Boeing and Airbus markets since many DC-10s were converted for that configuration.

Could it be down to a legacy of infamy, since the DC-10 suffered from several reliability issues and design flaws throughout its service?  Or could it just purely be because of the sheer demand in Boeing and Airbus add-ons?  It was certainly a plane with its own quirks.  I would also argue further that without any doubt in my mind, that it certainly has a character of its own; as do any in the MDD family.  It begs the question that in a community where we can readily find available, sometimes multiples of, any of the A320 family or any flavour of the 737, how and why has the DC-10 been overlooked for so long; lacking a high definition add-on of its own in X-Plane 11?  As anticipated as the MD-11 is, there will still be a void lingering without a DC-10 to fill it.  The development of the 747-200 Classic by Felis is a step in the right direction to shed light on this often-forgotten generation. But I can only hope that someone in the near future rectifies this and gives the DC-10 its much deserved place in the add-on market, if only for how much it has helped to shape commercial aviation today.

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