Part-out & scrap of a Queen
Nothing is timeless
By Cees de Regt
With the production program launched in 1986, KLM decided to buy the MD-11the early 90’s. The MD-11 is a three-engine medium- to long-range wide-body jet airliner, manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. This was, as we know, the last ever built aircraft under the name of McDonnell Douglas. With this aircraft being bought by KLM, KLM became the only airline in the World, which had flown all commercial aircraft being produced by this aircraft manufacturer.
In December ’93, the first MD-11 was delivered to KLM. The aircraft with registration PH-KCA had the name of a famous World known lady. Like all KLM MD-11 aircraft are named after ladies. The aircraft is, in the KLM versions, powered by General Electric CF6-80C2 engines.
The Martinair version of the MD-11 is powered by Pratt and Whitney 4462-3 engines. Each of the engines produces approximately 62,500 pounds of thrust. The aircraft were built in three versions. The passenger aircraft (as operated by KLM), the freighter versions (as operated by -for example- Lufthansa), and the convertible version (as operated by Martinair). The aircraft have a range of almost 13,000 km and a cruise speed of 875 km/hr. The empty aircraft weight is approximately 120 tons. The maximum fuel weight on board is 120 tons. And with a maximum takeoff weight of approximately 290 tons, the aircraft could carry maximal 80 tons of cargo.
Today, when all expenses are being reviewed in the airline industry over and over, KLM has decided to phase-out this beautiful aircraft from their fleet. Of the maximum 10 aircraft in the fleet, presently only 5 are in operation. Five of the aircraft are being parked in Victorville, California where they are being torn-down into pieces. The average “time since new” and “cycles since new” of the phased out aircraft is 90,000 hrs and 15,000 cls.
The engines are being removed right after arrival in Victorville and they are being transported on an air-ride flat bed truck to the tear down facility of KLM in Miami, Florida. Here, at Bonus Tech Inc. the engines are professionally torn down into pieces. Each piece will have a new destination. The line replaceable units (starter / hydro mechanical units that control the fuel flow / IDG / hydraulic pumps and oil pumps) are being removed and shipped for inspection and repair. The engine cases and frames are being shipped to General Electric for repair and re-use. The same is applicable for the rotating “life limited” parts, which will find their way back into repaired engines after cleaning and inspection.
The aircraft itself will be torn down in Victorville and the removed parts from the aircraft (flaps / slats / pylons / reversers / stabilizers / cockpit equipment / cabin equipment / flight guidance computers / system computers / etc.) are being cleaned, inspected, repaired and declared serviceable and will than appear on the parts available lists of the various brokers that have bought those parts.
Below you will find some pictures taken in Victorville, California of the already parked KLM MD-11 aircraft. The first two parked aircraft (PH-KCH and PH-KCI) don’t really look like aircraft anymore. The third aircraft (PH-KCF) is in the dessert, awaiting its turn to be torn down. The last two aircraft (PH-KCG and PH-KCK) are still untouched awaiting their destiny.
From the buyer of the aircraft, we understood that most of the really re-useable parts of the first two aircraft have been removed now. At total of approximately 8,000 parts per aircraft were removed. Of course there are “fast movers” (those are the brakes and cockpit computers) and “slow movers” (like pylon and floor panels), but until all parts that may have a market are removed, the aircraft will remain as seen in the pictures. As soon as all parts are removed, the last and irreversible step will be taken and that is the demolishing of the aircraft. Big cutters / scissors will than do their work, so nothing will remind of those “work horses” any longer.
KLM operated this aircraft mainly (not only though) to South America, the Caribbean, Canada and Africa. Hope that this does give you some (sad…) idea of the end of KLM’s MD-11 aircraft. An aircraft that maybe many of you not really saw much, but that has a special place in the hearts of many others.
For good orders sake, not all the pictures are taken on the same day. Some were taken when the aircraft departed Amsterdam and some somewhat later when the aircraft was already further in the disassembly process.
The PH-KCI en-route for its last flight from AMS to VCV.
Header photo by : Maarten sr.