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Are MD-80's Really That Safe?  
User currently offlineBoeingflying31 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 165 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 16294 times:

Hey fellow airman. I posted something earlier about my experience on the AA MD-80 from DFW-SAN. I've also come across some articles talking about a lot of other engine failures that have occurred on MD-80's. Don't get me wrong, they are still very cool planes to fly. I'm just wondering, are mechanical problems common on MD-80's? Are they the best choice of planes to fly?
-Boeingflying31

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 1, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 16302 times:

All variants of the Pratt and Whitney JT8D (in the case of MD-80's, -217 and -219) are among the most reliable jet engines flying in the sky today. Unimaginable numbers have been built and serve operators reliably every single day.

Every aircraft type out there has engine failures. I don't think the MD-80 has any more than others.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 16288 times:

Every aircraft type out there has engine failures. I don't think the MD-80 has any more than others.

Indeed they do... http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1212402/

717 BR715 had Hot Start... Obviously a very Hot Start.


User currently offlineFutureualpilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2608 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 16245 times:

Of course they are safe. Look at how many are flying/have flown with respect to the # of crashes or incidents. If you judged a/c by their accident/incident rate, 152s and 172s and Bonanza's would be death traps.  Laugh out loud Anyway, they still are very reliable, but its like in Top Gun, he says "when you fly jets long enough, something like this is bound to happen..."
...its all a part of flying.



Life is better when you surf.
User currently offlineWilcharl From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1168 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 16239 times:

any 121 carrier opperating in the US is opperating safe aircraft.... there is no such thing as an unsafe aircraft... airworthyness directives correct flaws... The only recently certified aircraft that i question the safety of is the legendary Traumahawk which has plenty written on its flaws.. even it opperated properly is a safe bird

User currently offlineAvioniker From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1109 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16175 times:

MD-80's are safe.
Tailpipe fires and smoky starts aren't uncommon.
What is uncommon is having mechanics on the gates any more.
BR715-A1-30's comment brings to mind the reason that DL banned APU startups with PAX aboard. One had a hot start and an F/A got a broken leg trying to get out of the aircraft because she didn't know what the flames were and there wasn't anyone in the area who did.
Unfortunately there's at least one incident a year that could be prevented with a little well placed training and knowledge in the right place.



One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
User currently offlineCorsair2 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 248 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 16074 times:

JT8D engines have had many in-service failures in comparison to other powerplants (i.e. CFM 56, CF6-80, PW4000). This engine has been built in very high quantities over the years. Despite the number of engine failures, unscheduled landings are usually the only result. The MD-80 series airplanes have one of the best safety records in the business.

[Edited 2003-10-03 21:26:46]


"We have clearance Clarence. Roger, Roger. What's our vector Victor?"
User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 16021 times:

As an AMT with a fair amount of experience working on the MD-80 I can tell you it is a very safe aircraft. Not only that but it's quite reliable at the gate. Most nights when I go to work it's not uncommon to see all the MD-80's in service with no write ups. Compare that to our F100 which always seem to be in the hanger needing work.

P.S. Before anyone asks, no the F100 is not an unsafe airplane. It just needs more attention maintenance wise.


User currently offlineCO2BGR From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 558 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 15976 times:

The only DC9 or M80 that I remember crashing with a mechanical issue was the AS plane with the jack screw, and NTSB and everyone else blamed it on ASs maintenance. That one should not have happedend if the mechanics were doing theur job properly. With that said I would not have any issues flying on any DC9, M80 or 717.

In order for a plane to become certified it must meet certain safety standards, so I would say any part 121 carrier opperates a safe enough plane for me to fly on.

CO2BGR



There are too many self indulgent weiners in this town with too much bloody money" Randal Raines- Gone in 60 Seconds
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29832 posts, RR: 58
Reply 9, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 15950 times:

The mechanics where doing their job correctly. Boeing gave bad info in their service manuals. Fallout from the Douglas/Boeing Merger and trying to get two service departments to link up.

Alaska only admitied responsiblity to keep the internatial liablility limits intact.

That aircraft should have been controlable and was up until the bonehead pilot decided to change the configuration of the aircraft by lowering the flaps, when he did that he lost it.

It was a classic pilot error foul up, and nobody wants to admit that.



Don't worry about the MD-80 family, they are fine.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineAvioniker From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1109 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (11 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 15786 times:

Before everyone goes jumping L-188 consider this:

When was it ever made acceptable for a pilot to troubleshoot a flight control problem with passengers aboard?
The Handbook simply has the crew cut off the trim, pull the breaker(s) and get on the ground as soon as practicable.
It doesn't give anyone instructions to try a bunch of things at the behest of a maintenance "expert" on the radio.
Blame maintenance for the grease, blame the pilots for trying to make schedule, blame the FAA for not having the technical expertise to know when something like this is getting ready to happen, blame whoever you want.
But when it comes down to it, if you are an A&P and you let something go that isn't absolutely, unquestionably safe; You are to blame!
If you are the pilot of an aircraft and the same situation applies; You are equally to blame!

It's tragic, now let's let those souls rest in peace and take the lesson to heart!



One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5944 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (11 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 15544 times:

I can't make heads or tails of what either of you two are saying.


The MD-80 is a very safe aircraft. I am having trouble remembering any mechanical crashes... yeah, Delta suffered an uncontained engine failure once... but I don't remember any others.

R


User currently offlineDash8tech From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 732 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (11 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 15447 times:

The MD-80 is a very safe aircraft. I am having trouble remembering any mechanical crashes... yeah, Delta suffered an uncontained engine failure once... but I don't remember any others.

Errrm....okay....just what kind of a/c was AS261 then?

That aircraft should have been controlable and was up until the bonehead pilot decided to change the configuration of the aircraft by lowering the flaps, when he did that he lost it.

And how as he supposed to get the aircraft on the ground without changing some sort of configuration? He was headed away from an airport. Should he perhaps have flown straight out to sea until he ran out of gas? There again, plane slows down, loses lift, in essence a configuration change. Plane noses over anyway...instead farther out to sea where it'd be even harder to get to potential survivors. The bloody stab fell off (part of it), what could the "bonehead" pilot have done?

Some things are destined by God to happen, that unfortunately was one of them.



User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8286 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (11 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 15424 times:

That wasn't destined by God. God didn't decide that proper maintenance wasn't to be performed on N963AS.


If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (11 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 15417 times:

The MD-80 has the best safety record of any jet airliner, when rated according to number of fatal incidents per flight cycles.

http://www.airdisaster.com/statistics/

Note that the A340/A330 and 777 classes are not represented - No fatal accidents yet, but they have also been in service far less time than the others on the list, and in relatively small numbers, so it is not as statistically valid - similarly speaking about the Concorde's lopsided stats.

Charles

[Edited 2003-10-13 21:25:40]

User currently offlineMeister808 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 973 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (11 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15279 times:

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1220229/

Well, now that the debate is going on whether or not the pilots of flight 261 screwed up, maybe we should all look back at this thread, which has the full-text of Peter Garrison's (Flying Magazine) column about the 261 crash. I read it as, yes, the a/c was flyable and landable before they started playing with settings, which ended up in a complete loss of pitch control. At the same time, I really cannot blame the pilots, persay, because they thought that they had the problem diagnosed as something much more minor, and would be fixing the problem by playing with the trim. The bottom line is that, if your plane breaks, and is still flyable, don't do anything to fix it until you are firmly on the ground.

-Meister



Twin Cessna 812 Victor, Minneapolis Center, we observe your operation in the immediate vicinity of extreme precipitation
User currently offlineCdfmxtech From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1341 posts, RR: 26
Reply 16, posted (11 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 15273 times:

Hindsight is always 20/20.


User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8286 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (11 years 2 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 15188 times:

My intent with posting Garrison's article was indeed to provoke just such a discussion.


If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5944 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (11 years 2 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 15116 times:

I was referring to not being able to remembering any mechanical crashes that weren't preventable or whatever... Alaska Air has admitted negligence in mixing two types of oil on the jackscrew (read the NTSB report) which is against the book.

R


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 46
Reply 19, posted (11 years 2 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 15064 times:

It was a classic pilot error foul up, and nobody wants to admit that.

Sorry, but who is not admitting pilot error as a cause factor? The "cause" of a mishap is seldom a single factor. This mishap had at least three major causal factors: maintenance actions, maintenance management actions and pilot actions. All parties (pilot associations on behalf of the dead pilots) have openly admitted their mistakes and taken corrective action. It appears nobody has failed to admit anything.

AAR90
former test pilot
8+ yr. aircraft mishap investigator



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineStartvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (11 years 2 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 15044 times:

Find a type that never had an accident pilot error or mechanical, or act of god to cover all the bases then only fly that type.. Puhleasssse they all have wrecks and I think I am safe in taking a shot in the dark at saying the MD-80 is probably ONE OFthe safest types flying. If you are scared of the plane you are on just try driving. Compare the chances of dying flying on the oldest, furthest from maintence MD-80 out there and then compare it to driving.. you pick what method of travel.

User currently offlineFrequentFlyKid From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1206 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 15007 times:

Nope, it's a terribly unsafe, but the FAA doesn't care, so they still let it fly around with tens of thousands of people a day.

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