ALL-NEW RANGE ROVER SPORT…THE SKY WASN’T THE LIMIT
Jaguar Land Rover South Africa echoed the theme of the global launch of the all-new Range Rover Sport, on which international media had the opportunity to drive through a Boeing 747, by using a similar idea locally – but with a McDonnell Douglas DC10-10 instead.
The aircraft belongs to Global Airlines and is one of three DC10s purchased by the company. The second is no longer airworthy and the third is currently stranded in Tripoli, Libya. With the all-new Range Rover Sport, you won’t get stranded anywhere.
Previously used by My Travel, a UK-based package holiday company and was popular on the Hajj route to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, this plane was configured to carry 368 passengers in Economy class. The all-new Range Rover Sport will undoubtedly be popular on any route and everybody travels First Class.
With a series of openings cut in the fuselage, media were able to drive the all-new Range Rover Sport along the main passenger compartment and then out through the belly, touching down just behind the nose landing gear, and then also at 90 degrees straight through the plane aft of the cockpit.
The four ramps were, in driving sequence, set at angles of 29, 34, 26 and 35 degrees. The openings into the aircraft’s fuselage are approximately 5 metres above ground with the longest ramp being 10 metres in length. None of these posed even the slightest problem for the all-new Range Rover Sport.
The ramps were of welded construction with a trio of skilled ‘coded’ welders – plus other staff – working for two weeks on the project. Thanks to its revolutionary bonded and riveted all-aluminium construction, the all-new Range Rover Sport is virtually free of welds.
The ramps were designed by a structural engineer and each one could’ve coped with a mass in excess of three tonnes. Fortunately, the all-new Range Rover Sport is especially light and weighs in at just 2 115 kilograms in the case of the V6 diesel.
All the hydraulics were removed from the aircraft’s landing gear to prevent any vertical movement between the ramps and the aircraft. Two supports – one under the tail and another below the wings – added further rigidity to the reinforced floor. The all-new Range Rover Sport is also exceptionally rigid, but still has exceptional suspension travel.
This DC10 was built in May 1978 and last flew in 2005. The first Range Rover Sport came off the line in 2005, total sales reaching almost 400 000 units before the change-over to second-generation version.
The DC10’s trio of General Electric CF6-6 engines would’ve provided enough thrust for a cruising speed of 965 km/h. A choice of three engines in the all-new Range Rover Sport provide varying levels of thrust, and cruising speeds that – while well short of the DC10’s – will certainly get you into trouble with the boys in blue.
After the launch of the all-new Range Rover Sport (which ends on November 15) the aircraft will be broken up for scrap metal, though most of the mechanical hardware will be refurbished. The launch vehicles will head straight to dealers to be used to demonstration units.