Topic Author
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 1999 9:37 am

DELTA's MD88's

Sun Dec 26, 1999 12:30 pm

I fly a lot to Atlanta and I have always loved the MD 88 Delta has on my route. I lust to sit near the rear of the plane and listen to those lovely sounding 217's wistling along. And man, can those babies climb. Whenever I take off from hot and humid Atlanta, it just shoots straight up to cruising altitude. And it seems super fast in the way it skirts around thunder clouds. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal back in the early 80's when Delta was debating between the new MD 88 and Boing 737-300. The article stated that Delta chose the MD 88 because of its superior speed and flying characteristics to the 737. This plane has such nice lines all around the outside, and it is a joy to just look at it sitting at the gate. My dream came true on a flight from Atlanta to Washington DC when upon arrival, I got to stand in the cockpit while waiting for the ground attendants to wheel my grandmother off the plane. Wow, what a set up. Now here is my question. I understand the MD 88 is different from all the other MD 80 series (81,82,83,87, and90). Is it true that McDonnell only built this model plane for Delta (142 or so total) or do other airlines also have the MD 88. Every other airline I have read about has all the other models but the 88. Also, If the MD 88 is the far superior plane of the MD 80 family, then why would TWA be ordering all new 83's instead of 88's. And one last question: I read in an airline periodical that Delta was ordering all new 737's to replace the MD 88's. If that is true, it would be a loss of a great aircraft. It is even more unfortunate to see the production of this plane come to and end.
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 1999 10:20 am

RE: DELTA's MD88's

Sun Dec 26, 1999 1:19 pm

Hi Rick,

The MD-88's are very similar to the other MD-80 series ariplanes except for they have EFIS (Electronic Flight Insturment System, i.e. Glass Cockpit) and were fitted with Pratty and Whitney JT8D-219's. The MD-88's were not specifically made for Delta. Midwest Express has 2 as well as Aeromexico 4 in there fleet. Hope this helps.
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Joined: Sat May 22, 1999 9:47 am

RE: DELTA's MD88's

Sun Dec 26, 1999 1:38 pm

The major difference between the -88 and the rest of the MD-80 series is its range and their maximum takeoff weights. As SCXmechanic pointed out they do have EFIS cockpits but so do all other -80s (at least for airlines that specified it) after the -87 and -88s introduction in about 87 (if I am correct), the same time that the beaver tails were introduced. The -88s also have JT8D-219 engines as opposed to the -217(c) series engines on the -80, -81, and -82s, the -83s also have the -219 engines, as they are designated the "long-range" variant of the MD-80 series. I hope this helps. Happy Holidays!

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Joined: Wed Nov 24, 1999 3:26 am

RE: DELTA's MD88's

Sun Dec 26, 1999 1:40 pm

Lets face it. A T-tail with rear engines beats everything in the looks stakes. The current generation airliners with their underslung wing-mounted engines and low-set tailplanes show no design flare whatsoever. Same with cars. The only ones that have any appeal are the ones with rear engines!

Since the MD82's disappeared from our skies in August the only aircraft worth rushing outside to watch are the 727's and BAC 1-11's

Behind every "no" is a "yes"
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Joined: Tue Nov 23, 1999 3:51 am

RE: DELTA's MD88's

Mon Dec 27, 1999 9:11 am

Originally I didn't care too much for the "Mad Dog". But the more I flew on it (TWA) the more I liked it. Those wings WAY back on the fuse just make it look different than anything else. On a flight from PHX to STL in July, the captain let me sit in his seat for about 15 minutes after we landed. It was quite a thrill! Also, this particular A/C was only a month old and full glass. I'm really sad that the production of this plane is at an end.

RE: DELTA's MD88's

Mon Dec 27, 1999 9:20 am

Sadly, the old girl just doesn't have the range and cabin space of the 737NG which simply doesn't compare with its conformist design.

If MD had done its homework with the MD90 maybe the "mad dog" would still be alive today....alas we still have the 717.

RE: DELTA's MD88's

Mon Dec 27, 1999 9:38 am

PLEASE LET US HAVE A MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR THE GREAT MD-80 series which is now out of production!!!!
When the last plane was delivered I had quite a few tears in my eyes, she is sexier than anything in the air, and she is safe too, safer than all other aircraft to all statistics worldwide!!!
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 1999 4:15 pm

RE: DELTA's MD88's

Mon Dec 27, 1999 9:42 am

The MD-80 series, especially the MD-88 is a very fine
airplane. As I have responded to other questions
through the forum, I feel the MD-80 /MD-88 is the most
aerodynamic airplane out there, it is a true flying
machine. When you watch it float into the sky, it
really seems breathtaking.
By the way, in response to the first reply, The MD-88
was completly designed by Delta AirLines, they were
the ones who went to McDonnal Dougas and requested the aircraft, the plane was made for Delta, with specific
design requests, from the engines, glass cockpit
(hi-tech stuff) to the cabin interior & the seating layout, overhead compartments, the 4 luggage bins
(2 forward, 1 with that special machine that extends
luggage room towards the nose, and 2 bins aft.
So the MD-88 was Delta's creation, other airlines were
more than welcome to purchase the model, not sure if
many did, mostly Delta did. And the airplane has served
Delta well in the short to medium range market for over
12 years. And I doubt seriously that Delta is going to
replace the MD-88 with the 737-800, rather the plane
will replace the 727...MD-88's are too new, heck Dc-9s
came out 30 years ago and are still going strong, the 88 have a good 12- 15 years of life ahead of them.

Topic Author
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 1999 9:37 am

RE: DELTA's MD88's

Tue Dec 28, 1999 8:50 am

Wow, so the plane really was designed for DELTA. Does any one know if there are any other model airliners out there custom built for a particular airline?
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Tue Dec 28, 1999 9:55 am

DC-1/2: TWA
DC-10: American

Planes Built For Airlines Not Always Great

Tue Dec 28, 1999 1:01 pm

Airlines designing planes doesn't always work. Think of the British aircraft industry in the 1960s.
The HS Trident was built to BEA requirements, wow, what a lemon that turned out to be. Our answer to the 727, I don't think so! The trident's field performance was so bad crews named it the "gripper" due to it's reluctance to leave the ground. This is also the reason the Trident 3B had three and a half engines.

And the VC-10. That was a good aircraft, but because it specifically met BOAC requirements it sold very poorly. As one commentator put it, when you discuss the cancelled orders for the VC-10 you are essentially looking at it's export record.

Any manufacturer that builds a plane for a specific airline does so at it's own risk. The MD-88 may have been an improvement over the MD-83, the airlines didn't exactly rush out and buy it.

Just a thought
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Joined: Wed Aug 11, 1999 3:47 am

RE: Planes Built For Airlines Not Always Great

Wed Dec 29, 1999 2:44 am

Lest we not forget the MD-90, also built to Delta's requirements. They quickly converted their remaining orders to 737NG's
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RE: DELTA's MD88's

Wed Dec 29, 1999 3:04 am

Delta asked McDonnell Douglas for all these things in the MD-90. McDonnell Douglas didn't put it in though. That's why Delta is dumping these planes.