C5LOAD From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 917 posts, RR: 0 Posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 16169 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"
Viscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 26382 posts, RR: 22
Reply 1, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 16169 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.
Alwaysontherun From Netherlands Antilles, joined Jan 2010, 464 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 16086 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.
AA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6015 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 15888 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!
Maxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1254 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 15628 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!
TAN FLYR From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14480 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!
ULMFlyer From Brazil, joined Sep 2006, 475 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 6 days ago) and read 13852 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!"
Beechnut From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 739 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 6 days ago) and read 13667 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.
KingFriday013 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1304 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 11773 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?
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 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...
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!
KhenleyDIA From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 427 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 11684 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.
Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
FlyABR From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 698 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 11452 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!
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!"