McDonnell Douglas MD-80
McDonnell Douglas MD-80
The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series comprises a number of stretched and much improved versions of the earlier Douglas DC-9. The MD-80 seats up to 172 passengers and is intended for short and medium-range flights.
Douglas, since 1967 McDonnell Douglas and in 1997 taken over by Boeing, started developing the DC-9 in 1963 as a short-range jet airliner. The first version, the DC-9-10, seated up to 90 passengers and first flew on 25 February 1965. It entered into service in December of the same year with Delta Air Lines. Douglas soon developed several stretched versions, including the DC-9-30 (107 passengers), DC-9-40 (125 passengers) and DC-9-50 (139 seats). Of all DC-9 models together Douglas sold 976 aircraft.
In 1975 McDonnell Douglas tested a DC-9 with higher bypass ratio JT8D-200 turbofans and announced plans to develop a stretched aircraft fitted with these engines, designated 'DC-9-55'. The DC-9-55 wasn't built, however, but in 1977 McDonnell Douglas launched the even further stretched DC-9 Super 80 (DC-9-80), which first flew on 18 October 1979. Apart from the longer fuselage the new airliner incorporated increased wingspan, an improved cockpit and more range. The first aircraft was delivered to Swissair in September 1980.
McDonnell Douglas initially offered three versions: the basic DC-9-81 (DC-9 Super 81), the DC-9-82 and DC-9-83. The DC-9-82 has more powerful engines for operations at hot and high airports, and the DC-9-83 offers more range. In 1983, McDonnell Douglas rebranded the aircraft family with the generic designation 'MD-80', and the existing models were renamed 'MD-81','MD-82' and 'MD-83'.
A next version was the MD-87. This is a short-body aircraft, intended for 'long thin routes' (= with a small passenger market) and it was first flown on 4 December 1986. It has a digital cockpit, a redesigned tail cone and a bigger tail. Another long version, the MD-88, is essentially a MD-83 with a digital cockpit.
McDonnell Douglas sold 1,191 MD-80s, including 75 MD-87s. In 2008, American Airlines alone operated 336 MD-80s.
The MD-80 competed with the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320, which have about the same seating capacity. Compared with its competitors, the MD-80 has a smaller fuselage diameter, allowing five-abreast seating in economy class. The 737 and A320 have passenger cabins with six-abreast seating. Another main difference is the MD-80's rear-mounting of the engines and a T-tail, while the 737 and A320 have the engines under the wing and a conventional horizontal tailplane attached at the rear of the fuselage.
The MD-90 is an even further stretched aircraft, fitted with high bypass IAE V2500 engines. The first flight was on 22 February 1993. The basic version is the MD-90-30. The intention was to start series production under license in China, but only two aircraft were built there as MD-90-30T ('Trunkliner'). The MD-90-50 is a heavier variant with more fuel capacity and extra range and the MD-90-55 offers extra seating up to 187 passengers in a single class layout and is equipped with two extra doors to meet emergency evacuation rules. Production of the MD-90 ended in 2000, three years after the takeover of McDonnell Douglas by Boeing. 116 MD-90s have been delivered.
The final production model of the MD-90 was the Boeing 717, which was earlier designated as 'MD-95'. This is a short-body 100-seat version of the MD-90, intended for high-frequency regional airline operations. The first flight took place on 2 September 1998 and the US airline AirTran Airways became the first user a year later. The aircraft is fitted with two Rolls-Royce BR715 engines. Boeing studied the chances of stretched and shortened versions, but these were never built. The production of the 717 ended in 2006 after the delivery of 155 aircraft.
During the late 1980s McDonnell Douglas considered the development of the MD-91X, MD92X and the all-new MD-94X with propfans (unducted fan engines), but these projects didn't come to fruition. One MD-81 was used as a testbed for propfans like the General Electric GE 36 and the Pratt & Whitney/Allison 578-DX.
In 2018 around 300 MD-80s are still in airline service, plus around 50 MD-90s and 150 Boeing 717s.
Wingspan: 32.8 m (107ft 8in). Length: 45.1 m (147ft 8in). Height: 9.02 m (29ft 6in).
Empty weight: 37,925 kg (83,610 lb). Max. take-off weight:
67,813 kg (149,500 lb).
Accommodation: 144-172 passengers. Range: 3,800 km (2,050 nm). Operating speed: Mach 0.76 (811 km/h - 504 mph).
Engines: two P&W JT8D-209 (88.96 kN - 20,000 lb).
Wingspan: 32.8 m (107ft 8in). Length: 39.75 m (130ft 4in). Height: 9.3 m (30ft 5in.)
Empty weight: 33,237 kg (73,274 lb). Max. take-off weight: 63,503 kg (140,000 lb).
Accommodation: 114-139 passengers. Range: 4,395 km (2,374 nm). Operating speed: Mach 0.76 (811 km/h - 504 mph).
Engines: two P&W JT8D-217C (9,072 kg - 20,000 lb).
Wingspan: 32.8 m (107ft 8in). Length: 46.51 m (152ft 6in). Height: 9.40 m (30ft 6in).
Empty weight: 39,915 kg (88,000 lb). Max. take-off weight: 70,760 kg (156,000 lb).
Accommodation: 152-172 passengers. Range: 3,862 km (2,085 nm). Operating speed: Mach 0.76 (811 km/h - 504 mph).
Engines: IAE V2525-D5 (111.2 kN -25,000 lb).
Boeing 717-200 Specifications
Wingspan: 28.45 m (93 ft 3 in). Length: 37.81 m (124 ft). Height: 8.92 m (29 ft 1 in).
Empty weight: 31,674 kg (69,830 lb). Max. take-off weight: 49,845 kg (110,000 lb).
Accommodation: 106 passengers. Range: 2,645 km (1,430 nm). Operating speed: 811 km/h (504 mph).
Engines: two Rolls-Royce BR715-A1 (82.3 kN - 18,500 lb).