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Topic: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: YXD172
Posted 2011-09-24 22:29:10 and read 5966 times.

Over my years lurking on Anet I've seen more iterations of the "When will NW/DL retire the DC9? threads than I can count, but never had the chance to fly on one. Just a bit too young I guess, AC's last DC9 having been retired a few years before I really got into aviation. So, I decided to take a little detour on the way to visit family in Alberta last month and get a ride with DL before the DC9s are gone. A little detour turned into a 5-hop adventure, taking advantage of WN's 40th anniversary sale to try them out and see a couple of airports that I've wanted to see for a while.

My trip started out with a nice Greyhound ride to Toronto (really nice new leather seats, perfect for a couple hours' nap) and a cheap trip from there on Megabus to Pittsburgh. The bus was nearly empty until Erie, taking a full 5 minutes through customs and giving me a few hours rest on the back bench of seats... much better than my last experience with them!

I got in to Pittsburgh around 06:00, giving me a couple hours to explore town before heading to the airport.


First Light hitting downtown.



One of the historical funiculars.



Sunrise working through the trusses of the bridge.



One more bridge for good measure  The Southwest Experience (PIT-MDW-MCI)


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Photo © Jaysen F. Snow - Midwest Tail Chasers



Leftover from a busier time



It was very interesting walking through the remains of US's former hub, the airport feels very quiet, though not deserted. The street prices airside are a real bonus, it's too bad more airports don't follow this!



WN's gate area wasn't too busy, but it was still nearly impossible (here and elsewhere) to get a seat in WN's business area (big leather seats with AC and USB power). WN's boarding seemed to be the quickest I've been through... until you get to the plane. Everyone who boards first wants to sit at the front... well, you get the idea.



Push-back was a few minutes ahead of schedule, followed by a few jokes thrown in with the safety demo - and it managed to get people's attention, so I guess it works!



Great roasted peanuts! And nice that they take your order for drinks and bring them around on a tray. Though I'm guessing it's just to save weight by eliminating carts?



Approach under gradually lowering ceilings to a rainy MDW (we were within 1000 ft of the clouds for the last 10 minutes, but never flew into them.)

We arrived in MDW a dozen minutes ahead of schedule and I set off to take a look around (and maybe find a free lounge chair?)



There's an interesting aviation history corner between the concourses.



After a quick walk around the terminal (really wishing for PIT's Airmall prices right now!) I settled in to a quiet seat in the A concourse to charge my camera for the next flight - have to remember to do that at home in the future!


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Photo © Carlos E. Santa Maria
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Photo © JetPix



Boarding wasn't as quick this time, as the flight was full and a lady had to repack her bag because it was too large to fit in the overhead bins... there's one on every flight!



A F9 flight pushing back (really like the tail design)...



And if you look closely - the same aircraft still waiting while we take off! Gotta love WN.

The bins, lights, and vents on this classic are noticeably, well, older than on the -700. I prefer the flap fairings on the -300 as well.

The lead FA led us through a WN exercise in happiness: turn to your seatmate and say "I look... better... than you!" Got most people to crack up, a good start for the flight.



After an uneventful flight we arrived in sunny MCI, passing by the ex-TWA hangars. The FAs on this flight had a contest - PAX were asked to cross their seatbelts if they enjoyed the service. The FA with the fewest belts at the end of the day buys dinner!


And now for something completely different (DL from MCI-MEM-MSP)


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Photo © Shawn Early - Flight Deck Photography



Architecture and design are a bit of a hobby of mine, so it was interesting to see the "drive-to-the-gate" terminals in MCI. With each airline having it's own 'lounge' of connected gates, connections on one airline seem to be quite easy. However anything else is not.



I nearly made it to the exit row on the hop to MEM - but my bag was too thick to fit in the overhead bin (camera and padding) so I had to move back a couple rows. Plenty of empty seats though.

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A couple minor delays on the flight as we were overfueled and had to burn some off before departure to avoid landing overweight. And on arrival there was no marshaller to be seen for a few minutes.

I found the pitch-down attitude really noticeable on approach - or maybe I was just imagining it after watching a few land while spotting.



It's a bit of a walk from one concourse to the other in MEM, but the gate areas themselves are very pleasant with plenty of brick. I had some cheap (and terrible) Cheez-its for a snack - I'd recommend never touching the things!


The DC9!!!


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Photo © Stefan Sonnenberg



There it was, the aircraft I'd been waiting for! Okay, I couldn't tell if it was a DC9 or MD80 until I saw the safety card...



I'd taken seat 24F to be as close to the JT8Ds as possible and still be able to see outside... and it was worth it! The engines were loud enough that I couldn't understand any announcements in flight.



The physicist inside me also enjoyed listening to / feeling the phase shift between the engines (usually only about 0.5Hz), with the vibrations alternating between my body and the floor. Anyone have any idea what causes that? I'm guessing some matter of harmonics, but it's beyond me. Just fun to be there. It's like the engine was part of the IFE   



Anyone know what the 'socket' on the wingtip is?



The flight was very comfortable, I had the whole row to myself. Service was the best I'd gotten on the trip so far, with cookies, peanuts, and a whole can of coke (and I didn't even have to ask!)



Finally, it was time to make my way across MSP by foot (no golf cart for me! It seems that DL uses them as a semi-permanent inter-concourse transit system) with a quick dinner at Burger King as it was closing. It's a very nice and open terminal, with a very decent mall/food court.


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Photo © Frank Robitaille



My last flight of the night would be on a Meseba CRJ900. Not the most comfortable aircraft, but still better than a CRJ200. There were some cupboards above the left side of business class, I've never seen these before but they looked interesting.



The seats were a little short, barely any seat above the tray, and the headrest wouldn't stay up. The windows seemed unusually far apart as well. Not a problem tonight though, as I was out for most of the flight.

We got into YEG with the late bank of flights, customs taking a few minutes as usual. It was nice not to have to wait for any bags though! The International area is still under construction, but I imagine that it will look very nice once completed.

And that's that. A long day, but well worth it for me. My thoughts?
Southwest is definitely a different kind of airline, and personally I enjoyed it. Especially the odd bits of humour throughout the flight. Maybe with the acquisition of FL they'll make their way up to Canada eventually.
On the DC9: DL, why must you retire such a beautiful aircraft! The experience was amazing, but I'd understand how it could get to be annoying for anyone other than an aviation nut. I'm glad I caught it before it was gone!  

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2011-09-25 01:23:40 and read 5763 times.

Nice report, good to see you took the chance to fly on the DC-9.

Quoting YXD172 (Thread starter):
Great roasted peanuts!

Still sweet 'n' salty?

Quoting YXD172 (Thread starter):
I'd taken seat 24F to be as close to the JT8Ds as possible and still be able to see outside... and it was worth it! The engines were loud enough that I couldn't understand any announcements in flight.

Excellent seat - I had a similar one on a DC-9-40 some years ago. Fantastic sound!

Quoting YXD172 (Thread starter):
On the DC9: DL, why must you retire such a beautiful aircraft!

Well, it's about time, they're getting old and they are thirsty. We can be glad that they weren't retired much earlier.


PH

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: Burj
Posted 2011-09-25 03:44:50 and read 5683 times.

Nice report!

Glad you got to try out the DC-9!

Cool that you got to see some of the city before flying out of PIT...I've flown out of PIT a few times but have yet to visit the city proper!

So how did you like the Biscoff cookies they have on DL?

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: united319
Posted 2011-09-25 08:37:10 and read 5508 times.

Quoting YXD172 (Thread starter):
Anyone know what the 'socket' on the wingtip is?

There is usually a light bulb there. It's the logo light that shines directly to the tail to light up the logo at night.

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: Tigerguy
Posted 2011-09-25 08:43:24 and read 5498 times.

I echo the above posters' sentiments about your report. I am also obligated to mention that I just completed my own DC-9 excursion yesterday and am putting together my report. Also, the picture you took of the DC-9 at the gate (it appears to be N787NC) caught my eye--that's the plane I was on yesterday. I assume from the database photo that you were on N782NC, but I'm still amazed at how travel by plane makes our world that much smaller!

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: YXD172
Posted 2011-09-25 08:43:58 and read 5498 times.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):

Still sweet 'n' salty?
Quoting Burj (Reply 2):


So how did you like the Biscoff cookies they have on DL?

Yep, at least I think they were. They had a nice crunchy sweet coating anyways, much better than DL's plain peanuts. But the Biscoff cookies were deliscious, and filling enough too.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):

Well, it's about time, they're getting old and they are thirsty. We can be glad that they weren't retired much earlier.

Sadly I'd have to agree with you that we're lucky to be able to fly them this many years after everyone else has sent them to the desert. And from the airline's perspective (and that of a regular PAX) I'd probably be happy to see them go. It just makes me wonder what other aircraft I missed because they were far before my time...

Quoting Burj (Reply 2):

Cool that you got to see some of the city before flying out of PIT...I've flown out of PIT a few times but have yet to visit the city proper!

I'd definitely recommend taking a quick walk around downtown / the rivers, I only had a couple hours but it seemed to be pretty nice, beautiful at sunrise. It didn't hurt that I got a free bus ride to the airport because the bus's fare machine wasn't accepting any bills - thanks PIT!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):

Excellent seat - I had a similar one on a DC-9-40 some years ago. Fantastic sound!

Sure is, and I've got Anet to thank for sitting that far back. I was originally up around mid-cabin, until I read another TR on here about the experience by the engines  

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: YXD172
Posted 2011-09-25 10:03:51 and read 5416 times.

Quoting united319 (Reply 3):

There is usually a light bulb there. It's the logo light that shines directly to the tail to light up the logo at night.

Thanks, I was wondering about it for the whole flight. Do you know if DL has them permanently removed or if they still use them? You hardly see any tails lit up these days.

Quoting Tigerguy (Reply 4):
I am also obligated to mention that I just completed my own DC-9 excursion yesterday and am putting together my report. Also, the picture you took of the DC-9 at the gate (it appears to be N787NC) caught my eye--that's the plane I was on yesterday. I assume from the database photo that you were on N782NC, but I'm still amazed at how travel by plane makes our world that much smaller!

It really is amazing how close everything gets in the world of aviation - yes, that was N787NC. I'm looking forward to reading your TR

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: MSS658
Posted 2011-09-25 22:57:57 and read 5202 times.

Hi

Nice report, glad you have added the DC9 in your log. Have flewn the D95 aswell once between Atlanta and Detroit (NW)



Greetings
Marc

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: united319
Posted 2011-09-26 15:46:19 and read 5073 times.

Quoting YXD172 (Reply 6):
Thanks, I was wondering about it for the whole flight. Do you know if DL has them permanently removed or if they still use them? You hardly see any tails lit up these days.

No problem! My guess would be that DL uses them if they work and if they're broken, they probably just MEL them. Especially since a lot of the NW birds are either on their way to the desert or have plans to be in the next few years. That's only an educated guess though since I don't work for DL.

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: YXD172
Posted 2011-09-26 20:46:39 and read 4916 times.

Quoting united319 (Reply 8):
My guess would be that DL uses them if they work and if they're broken, they probably just MEL them.

Makes sense, no need to replace the part if you don't have to, anything for a few dollars - or maybe more than a few, I have no idea how much a light like that would cost.

Topic: RE: On The Hunt For The DC-9 (hopping From PIT-YEG)
Username: Yukon880
Posted 2011-10-05 17:38:21 and read 4226 times.

Nice report Jon, and congratulations on adding the Douglas DC-9 to your logbook.
Rather apropos that your first ride would be on the airline that flew the DC-9 first.
Props to the professionals at Northwest for taking such good care of them,
so DL could fly them once again!

Cheers,

Yukon

p.s. I agree with you about round engines and oil too!


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