In the middle of the Sixties a widebody jet with 250 seats for domestic US service was requested by American Airliners. Nearly simultaneously with the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar Douglas began with working on its DC-10, which has -like the TriStar- three engines. The construction of a prototype began in January 1969, in August 1970 there was the first flight. One year later American Airlines took its first DC-10 into service.
The first version was the DC-10-10. It was constructed especially for the domestic US routes. According to the -10 the DC-10-15 for "Hot-and-high" use was produced. In 1972 the most popular version, the DC-10-30, was released. This version is concepted for long-distance routes and was bought by many airlines as a B707 or DC-8 successor. The DC-10-30 was successful especially in Europe. Simultaneously with the DC-10-30 the DC-10-40 was launched, driven by Pratt&Whitney engines. Both versions got an increased span. According to the passenger version the DC-10 was also produced as a cargo version. Biggest customer was FedEx.
386 DC-10 were built at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach before the production was stopped in 1989 for advantage of the successor, the MD-11. Many airlines have replaced the DC-10 in the last years or are doing this at the moment, a popular successor is the Boeing 777. But some DC-10 are made a cargo aircraft and get a new glass flight deck. These versions are named MD-10.