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How Has The DC-9 Lasted This Long?  
User currently offlineC5LOAD From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 917 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 15639 times:

The DC-9 for NW/DL has outlasted most of the jets of it's age, and yet it is still flying! My question is how as it lasted this long? There are no more DC-10s still in pax service (for US carriers, I'm not fluent with int'l carriers), no more 747-200s in pax service, and no more 737-200s in pax service. All of these airplanes were about the same age as the -9s. It seems also that the DC-9 is going to continue to serve into the 2010-2015s (hopefully 2020s). Is it hours? Cycles? Or that fact that they are paid for?


"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
65 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently onlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25356 posts, RR: 22
Reply 1, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 15639 times:

Douglas aircraft were also very well built, some would say overbuilt, resulting in fewer structural issues as the aircraft aged, compared to some of their competitors. I don't think DC-8s and DC-9s had as many problems with corrosion and similar things that often affect ageing aircraft and sometimes require expensive structural repairs. I've never noticed as many skin-strengthening "patches" to repair cracks etc.. on DC-9s (or DC-8s and DC-10s) as on comparable Boeing types of the same age.

User currently offlineAlwaysontherun From Netherlands Antilles, joined Jan 2010, 464 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 15556 times:

Bear in mind that the 737-200 is frequently used worldwide, still.
Not in the so-called "1st world" countries in aviation perhaps, but still............

737-200 got replacements that were much more economical and DC-9 didn´t as such.........after the Boeing 717 it was basically over.
But if they are still reliable and relatively easy / cheap to maintain..........off you go!
I believe you can get ´m relatively cheap so if you stock up on ´m.......then maintenance and spare parts become easy.

### "I am always on the Run"###



"Failure is not an option, it comes standard in any Windows product" - an anonymous MAC owner.
User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5831 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 15358 times:

There are several issues affecting this situation, as you might expect.
First, Northwest was in no position to order enough aircraft to replace the entire fleet of DC-9-15/30/40/50.
Second, the DC-9 still maintains an incredible dispatch reliability- in recent memory, the DC-9 was posting better dispatch than the A320 family at NW, and my source is a NW mechanic who posted on this board a few years ago.
Third, they're paid for.
Fourth, JT-8s may smoke and scream, but as the most popular jet engine in the world (until the more recent success of the CFM), spare parts are EVERYWHERE.

Now, the most interesting thing, in my opinion, is that Delta has elected to keep the -50's around. I think that's a consequence of there being no viable replacement aircraft. The -50 is bigger than the RJ families, and more capable in some situations. Also, money is an issue- to replace the -50s, which are relatively cheap to fly anyway, with new fleets of ERJ-190s ain't cheap.

So, all that to say, the birds are built like tanks, and proper maintenance has paid dividends. Coupled with a global recession, and I think they'll ply the skies for a few more years, leaving smoke and migraines in their trails!


User currently offlineMaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1098 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 15098 times:

As Viscount724 said, Douglas airplanes are very well built. On the civil side, the DC-3,4,6 on the piston side (the DC-7 had a short service life with the majors due to the engines) went many years past their original operators. The same goes for the many Douglas military aircraft, like the A-26, A-4, A-1 ect. The A-4 flew for the Navy from 1956 until the early 1990s!

User currently offlineM404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2226 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 14916 times:
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Do you think Delta's increase in the -90 fleet would be to replace the older -50s which are the smallest subfleet at that carrier?


Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently offlineAcabgd From Serbia, joined Jul 2005, 664 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 14665 times:



Quoting Alwaysontherun (Reply 2):
Bear in mind that the 737-200 is frequently used worldwide, still.
Not in the so-called "1st world" countries in aviation perhaps, but still............

And also that some of the 737-200 are not that old at all, such as the Aviogenex YU-ANP which first flew on 05/06/1987. You can't really say it's an "ancient" plane.


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User currently offlineColumba From Germany, joined Dec 2004, 7064 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 14599 times:

Because they are not Airbus or Boeing build but Douglas  Wink


It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 14566 times:

1. Still economical to operate. That's taking into consideration ALL cost, not just fuel.

2. Built like a tank. Like many others have said, I agree the 8 and 9 were over engineered. At least, by today's standards.



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlineNorCal From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2459 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 14539 times:

3. NW.....wait DL will need something to ferry crews back from the desert when the last MD-80/MD-90/737/A320/747/757/767/777/A330 is retired.  Big grin

User currently offlineTAN FLYR From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1909 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 13950 times:

A number of posters above say it all..over built, paid for, etc..

I sure would hope that maybe somewhere there are some A.netters that are retired Douglas men and women that designed the DC-9's, the Stretch-8's and the frames of the DC-10's..

I believe I can safely say that many of us "tip our hats / raise our glasses " and salute you for the work you did! The very existence of threads discusssing how many more years for Dc-9-50's, Md-80's, Stretch-8's, et al are a testament to your hard work! Saludos!


User currently offline0NEWAIR0 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 939 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 13920 times:



Quoting NorCal (Reply 9):
3. NW.....wait DL will need something to ferry crews back from the desert when the last MD-80/MD-90/737/A320/747/757/767/777/A330 is retired.  

That was/is the on going joke.... that when NWA (now DAL) retires the last A320 the crew will be flown back to Minni on a DC-9.

...Could you imagine the A.net thread if that day ever came? haha



"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
User currently offlineBEG2IAH From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 968 posts, RR: 18
Reply 12, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 13410 times:
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Guys,

Check this document - page 19936 of the document or 345 of the pdf file. It clearly shows how many cycles each type can make and DC-9 is a champion.

http://www.faa.gov/regulations_polic...ttees/arac/media/tae/TAE_AA_T6.pdf

Enjoy...

BEG2IAH

[Edited 2010-01-16 09:36:12]


FAA killed the purpose of my old signature: Use of approved electronic devices is now permitted.
User currently offlineULMFlyer From Brazil, joined Sep 2006, 475 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 13322 times:

I wonder if somebody could clarify in technical terms what this "overbuilt" meme really stands for and how it doesn't detract from the aircraft (economic and flight-wise) performance. One would expect more weight to be detrimental, unless it's somewhere compensated by lower maintenance costs in the long-run.

Whenever I step on a NW DC-9, I remember this oldie Avweb Short Final:

The winter winds were howling out of the west as flights got in line for the approach to Detroit's Runway 21R. Approach control asked the Northwest flight ahead of a 757 if they had a readout on the winds at 3,000 feet. The NWA pilot came right back and said, "Hey, we're a DC-9 -- we're lucky to know what state we're flying over!"



Let's go Pens!
User currently offlineBeechnut From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 726 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 13137 times:

It really just boils down to: it's just a d-mned good airplane!

Maybe the best jetliner ever built, reliable, tough. And 44 years after first entry into service, still in mainline airline service in the US. If you count the MD80/MD90//717 variants, I wouldn't be surprised to see the basic design still working 60 years after first flight.

Truly the DC-3 of the Jet Age.

Beech


User currently offlineDuckredbeard From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 12798 times:

I've heard that when the last A380 retires, the crew will deadhead home in a DC-9.

As much as I dislike the AMMs for Douglas jets, they are easy to work on. And boy do they love CABLES! (They even use cables to reset remote circuit breakers.)


User currently offlineAlwaysontherun From Netherlands Antilles, joined Jan 2010, 464 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 12703 times:



Quoting Duckredbeard (Reply 15):
I've heard that when the last A380 retires, the crew will deadhead home in a DC-9.

Brilliant.........let´s hope that their houses are not a long haul distance away though.........crossing the Atlantic and stuff.

### "I am always on the Run"###



"Failure is not an option, it comes standard in any Windows product" - an anonymous MAC owner.
User currently offlineIsitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 23
Reply 17, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 12147 times:

Ahhh, the DC-9........the perfect airliner!
safe



If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlineStackhouse007 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 420 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 11776 times:
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I get to fly on a DC9 later this month! So excited, never been on one before! Any tips what seats are good to get nice pictures?

Kyle



Nikon D60: 18-55mm - 55-200mm / Canon 50D: 100-400mm
User currently offlineKingFriday013 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1300 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 11243 times:



Quoting Stackhouse007 (Reply 18):
I get to fly on a DC9 later this month! So excited, never been on one before! Any tips what seats are good to get nice pictures?

Kyle

I had 15A on a -50 last month; that's the second exit window. There's a ridiculous amount of legroom (remember the dedicated Delta Shuttle MD-88s? This is comparable), though if you want an armrest then don't take the window as the window-side armrest is cut in half. Don't sit too far back, but not too far forward either... try for the middle.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
the birds are built like tanks



Quoting Joe Patroni:
Who do ya think you're talking to, some kid that fixes bicycles? I know every inch of the 707! Take the wings off this and you could use it as a TANK! This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.

Perhaps Mr. Patroni meant to refer to the DC-9...  Smile

-J.



Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you, By the livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
User currently offlineKhenleyDIA From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 426 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 11154 times:

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't part of the reason they are so efficient is because they also fly mostly short hops? If they flew long haul (yes, I know they can't) they wouldn't be worth while. However, since they fly such short routes, the difference in the actuals costs of a flight aren't that different then even the newest planes.

Add on top of that, as everyone has said, they are built like tanks and are paid for. Kind of like the B-52. It is possible for those types of planes to have generations of families piloting them.

KhenleyDIA



Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
User currently offlineFlyABR From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 660 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 10922 times:

While I don't doubt that the DC9 is one of the "best" airliners ever built when it comes to longevity, in the case of NW you have to realize that they basically overhauled those planes from stem to stearn back in the 90s...which gave them a new lease on life. I still love flying on them...or being in the plane behind one when it takes off. The rumble of a pair of JT8Ds is just simply awesome!

User currently offlineNcelhr From Vatican City, joined Jul 2006, 358 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 10862 times:



Quoting BEG2IAH (Reply 12):
Check this document - page 19936 of the document or 345 of the pdf file. It clearly shows how many cycles each type can make and DC-9 is a champion.

...and that's basically it.

A319/A320/A321 - 48,000 cycles
B727 - 60,000 cycles
B737 - 75,000 cycles
DC9 - 100,000 cycles
MD80 - 50,000 cycles

Now in fact those figures are not absolutely static.
Indeed, the estimated service goal (total No. of estimated flight cycles) may be extended with time. This is done by a regular review of engineering reports re: structural repairs in each aircraft type, and if in some conditions, the estimated service goal is extended.

I have read a report a couple of years ago, about the DC9 service life being extended to more than 100K. Can't remember if it was 110K or 120K, but it was a number which really got me to raise my eyebrow and openly say "well done, Douglas engineers!"


User currently offlineC5LOAD From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 917 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 10606 times:



Quoting FlyABR (Reply 21):
or being in the plane behind one when it takes off.

Ever sit at DTW when they are using the 22 L/R? It sounds like F-16s taking off right over your head.



"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
User currently online747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3624 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 10570 times:



Quoting Maxpower1954 (Reply 4):
The same goes for the many Douglas military aircraft, like the A-26, A-4, A-1 ect. The A-4 flew for the Navy from 1956 until the early 1990s!

I wish the USN still had Douglas A-3s, those thing was huge, for carriers jets of course. I believe the USN, still had A-4s base in PR in 2000.


Also look at Fed Ex DC10s, they still flying.


25 Post contains links Isitsafenow : STACKHOUSE 007...take it from the self claimed DC9 KING with over 550 rides on a nine... Do not sit in the last two rows. Sitting over the wing and yo
26 Post contains links and images Viscount724 : DC-9 rollout ceremony LGB January 12, 1965, 45 years ago last Tuesday. First flight February 25, 1965. When the DC-9 was rolled out the 737 hadn't ev
27 RayChuang : The only thing that will finally retire the DC-9 from the NW/DL fleet is the increasingly stringent noise and exhaust emission regulations coming into
28 Peanuts : Thanks for posting that! I love T-tails! I thought it was interesting to note from the PDF file that the BAC 1-11 and Fokker T-tails are all up there
29 747luvr : Last night while I was awaiting takeoff at FLL, Bahamasair which was 2 jets in front of our flight took off, from a "first world country" in their 732
30 Stackhouse007 : I wish but my itinerary says I will be on a 50 model.
31 Aloha717200 : Over 100,000 cycles....unbelievable. When I saw the stats for Boeing/Airbus i was shocked at the difference, and only 20,000 for the 707!
32 XFSUgimpLB41X : Boeing and Airbus build airplanes.... Douglas builds character!
33 MrSkyGuy : The DC-9 is a very robust aircraft, that much is certain. Comically, however, I can't help but wonder what a.net would have been like in 1982.. [Post:
34 E38 : Quoting Stackhouse007 (Reply 18) "Any tips what seats are good to get nice pictures?" Kyle, if you want a seat that will provide you a good view of th
35 Atpcliff : Hi! USA Jet, a Part 121 carrier, is operating two -9-1x PAX planes. I'm pretty sure some other charter outfits (Part 121) are still flying 737-200s. N
36 Falstaff : I like those seats and I usually sit in them. I spent my life flying on Ozark, TWA, and NW and now DL DC-9s. I have flown on DC-9s more than any othe
37 SEPilot : " target=_blank>http://www.faa.gov/regulations_polic...6.pdf Very interesting document-one thing it shows is that the MD-80/90 and DC-9 are NOT the s
38 Stackhouse007 : Thanks! I will see what I can do. I will be on a DL/NW DC9-50.. I don't know anything about them but I am very excited. DTW-->GRR will be the route.
39 SEPilot : The 707 was the first jetliner (excluding the Comet), and was designed for long range (i.e low cycle) service. On top of that, up to that point airli
40 Lightsaber : Thank you. I recommend page 345 for anyone looking at that document. I've heard numbers of 115,000 cycles. So right in the middle of what you quote.
41 C5LOAD : I think you mean hours, not cycles.
42 Acabgd : No, I think he was right - cycles! The Aloha B737 which landed as a convertible in Hawaii had almost 90,000 cycles!
43 LVZXV : I have a special admiration of aircraft that can live forever and it seems that no aircraft company has churned-out quite as many *immortal* aircraft
44 Viscount724 : It had 89,680 cycles but only 35,496 hours. The NTSB report stated that the number of equivalent full pressurization cycles was significantly less th
45 Acabgd : Yup, I'm familiar with the Aloha case and the why and how it had so many cycles, although you couldn't count them as "full" cycles. My response was t
46 Ncelhr : It really refers to cycles, yes. Apart from the fact that DC9s are very tough aircraft, one factor for them being certified for so many cycles is the
47 Falstaff : Try DTW-STL or DTW-PIT. I fly DTW-STL all the time on DC-9s. I know they fly the DC-9 STL-MSP too.
48 Lightsaber : acabgd, you are correct. There have been studies to extend the DC-9 to 115,000 cycles. I do not know if they have gone anywhere... but that is the ne
49 Post contains links Coronado : Just take a look at the following just to see what DC9-30 are operating right now. yes they go to bed at about 23:00 eastern but every day you can see
50 SeaBosDca : They sound unlike anything else that takes off from DCA. Where the MD-80s have a crackly rumble, the DC-9s make a shriek that you can hear all the way
51 Acabgd : Great, thanks for this piece of info. I'm more into riding them again myself than thinking about my grandkids Haven't flown on one in... oh, 7-8 year
52 Lightsaber : I have a picture of a little kid going: "They're all mine!" Oh, it is happily flying with DL. Lightsaber
53 HermansCVR580 : LOL that is a classic Just like FedEx is going to convert their 727's to two crew like the MD-10's . Heck why not make the Delta DC-9-50's fly by wir
54 Bennett123 : So the DC9 was the strongest, but the B737/A320 keep rolling off the production lines and the DC9 does not. There must be a lesson there.
55 Dtw9 : Actually Delta has been looking at a possible cockpit upgrade of the series 50's, whether it happens or not will be dependent on costs
56 HermansCVR580 : Wow I think I just squirted!!!! The Diesel 9 could fly forever. My kids, kids could ride on one. And to think I rushed out and booked my daughter and
57 Clemsonaj : Was on a DL(NW) DC-9-50 just before Thanksgiving MSY-MEM. Every seat was full as there were multiple conventions in MSY along with lots of locals hea
58 Post contains links and images Dtw9 : Heres one possibility being looked at. It is the upgraded C-9B cockpit of the USN
59 Dab1778q : There are good comments about the DC-9 in this forum. A few additional items: The airframe is very light for '60's standards but very strong, probably
60 Tommy767 : The MD-80 was a spin off of the DC-9 and many carriers still operate these birds (AA for one) because they truly are short haul "tanks." Some of the
61 Dab1778q : [quQuoting Alwaysontherun (Reply 2): DC-9 didn´t as such.........after the Boeing 717 it was basically over. The MD-80 was a spin off of the DC-9 and
62 PSU.DTW.SCE : I fly on the DC-9's at least once a week and it is my favorite narrowbody a/c to fly. As an aviation enthusist I want to enjoy these classic jets befo
63 Post contains images Hugoandres1984 : I flight a DC9 is one of the best airplane out there. it has control tabs in the alerons and elevators so you really feel the airplane in your hand. I
64 Peanuts : You are one lucky dude! Awesome!
65 Jpiddink : Indeed, the fact that all Fokker models are treated the same, with a generic 90.000 cycles, can only be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the ma
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