LAXintl
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FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:53 pm

FAA has granted a STC certification for the first passenger to freighter conversion of the MD-80.

Converted MD-80s can carry either 12 smaller 88x108 inch pallets or 8 industry standard 88/96 x 125 inch pallets on its main deck with payload of up to 46,600lbs.

Miami based Aeronautical Engineers Inc (AEI) holds orders for 20 conversions and will deliver its first converted aircraft (ex AA c/n 49470) to Everts Air Cargo of Alaska later this month.


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As with many I remain skeptical as to the potential for the MD-80 as a freighter due to its narrow fuselage and contour limitations which forces use of the smaller ULDs and also the models lower efficiency compared models such as the Boeing 737.

Story:
http://cargofacts.net/profiles/blogs...new-freighter-type-joins-the-fleet

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Goldenshield
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:59 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
As with many I remain skeptical as to the potential for the MD-80 as a freighter due to its narrow fuselage and contour limitations which forces use of the smaller ULDs and also the models lower efficiency

Why? UPS, and many other cargo carriers seemed to have no problem using the DC-8.
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:11 pm

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 1):
Why? UPS, and many other cargo carriers seemed to have no problem using the DC-8.

Isn't the DC-8 6-abreast seating?
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SpaceshipDC10
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:13 pm

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 1):
Why? UPS, and many other cargo carriers seemed to have no problem using the DC-8.

The DC-9 fuselage is narrower than DC-8
 
LAXintl
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:14 pm

The MD-80 and DC-8 don't share the same fuselage cross section.

DC-8 is significantly larger, and can take the industry standard 125 inch pallet.

The only way to fit the 125 incher on the MD-80 is to loose 4 entire pallet positions (33% of aircraft capacity) and also reduce the pallets cubic volume by about 24%. Its a lose - lose situation.
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Goldenshield
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:24 pm

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 3):
The DC-9 fuselage is narrower than DC-8

Well, I stand corrected. Having never flown on one, I figured it was the same deal as with the 707/27/37/57.
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:28 pm

Per wiki, the width of the fuselage on the MD80 is 11ft.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_MD-80

The Dc-9 is 10ft 11.6in per wiki.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_DC-9

I have always though the MD-80 would make a good replacement for aging DC-9 freighters. Also, with such a low aquisition price, it would be a good competitor to the 737 classic freighters. I'm guessing with the right set-up you could carry more cargo in a MD-80F versus a 733F.

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codc10
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:33 pm

Everts does a lot of non-standard and oversize hauling, so perhaps the Mad Dog is well-suited for their operation. Acquisition costs are dirt-cheap and, once converted, the -80s will have a capacity and operating cost advantage over the DC-9 freight conversion, which Everts already has in service.

I agree, however, that the MD-80 won't ever become a mainstream freighter, especially now that ABX no longer operates DC-9s with their specialized containers.
 
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:45 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
As with many I remain skeptical as to the potential for the MD-80 as a freighter due to its narrow fuselage and contour limitations which forces use of the smaller ULDs and also the models lower efficiency compared models such as the Boeing 737.

I agree. AEI may only need a small number to break even though.

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
Miami based Aeronautical Engineers Inc (AEI) holds orders for 20 conversions and will deliver its first converted aircraft (ex AA c/n 49470) to Everts Air Cargo of Alaska later this month.

I wonder who the 20 are destined for (other than Everts).
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LAXintl
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:18 pm

Sure certainly the MD-80F feed stock acquisition cost is going to be lower then a 737-300/400, but in general cargo carrying capability the 737 can run circles around the MD-80.

For example using the standard pallets the MD-80 carries only 8 (with contour restrictions) while the 737-300F can do 9 and 737-400F 11.

For some niche operators the MD-80 might indeed be fine if they can use the smaller ULDs, but for the bulk of the industry the model is not very attractive, similar to how the DC-9 took a back seat to models like the 727 for freight operators.

Quoting yyz717 (Reply 8):
I wonder who the 20 are destined for (other than Everts).

Couple news stories I have seen say "undisclosed customers". Not sure why its hush hush.
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ssteve
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:39 pm

Would it be possible to use these on gravel runways? Is it easier to certify for that with the engines on the tail?
 
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:08 pm

Just goes to prove how well engineered Mad Dog aircraft were that they are worth converting.
 
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lightsaber
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:28 pm

I'm happily surprised at these conversions. I didn't think the maddogs had the economics. I'm glad to be proven wrong.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 11):

Just goes to prove how well engineered Mad Dog aircraft were that they are worth converting.

   But I'm assuming someone figured out a low cost conversion as the payload limits will reduce the value of the airframes. I expect the 734 and later the 738 to be very popular freight conversions.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 9):
in general cargo carrying capability the 737 can run circles around the MD-80.

   Hence why I'm surprised. But I'm a happy surprised.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 9):
the MD-80 carries only 8 (with contour restrictions) while the 737-300F can do 9 and 737-400F 11.

IMHO it will be the larger 737s (-4, and sometime in the future the -8) that make up the bulk of the converted fleet.

Quoting yyz717 (Reply 8):
AEI may only need a small number to break even though.

I expect 20 would be enough. Kudos to them for finding the niche.

As the OP link notes:
wondering if the MD-80’s lower acquisition and conversion costs, and reputation for ruggedness, would balance the somewhat narrower fuselage and lower fuel efficiency when compared to the 737 Classic family with which it would compete.

I think we've found a freighter for seasonal service. Which begs the question, is the acquisition/conversion cost low enough for FedEx for seasonal use?

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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:51 pm

Quoting SSTeve (Reply 10):
Would it be possible to use these on gravel runways? Is it easier to certify for that with the engines on the tail?

I think you bring up a good point SSTeve. For operating in Alaska, northern Canada, or anywhere else where gravel runways might be used the rear mounted engines must be an advantage.
 
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:03 pm

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 11):
Just goes to prove how well engineered Mad Dog aircraft were that they are worth converting.

Agreed. I also think the low acquisition cost plus the ability to cheaply maintain the aircraft (much in the same manner as Allegiant) by using retired / continued time parts making the economics even more attractive.
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LAXintl
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:28 pm

Actually the MD-80 is quite susceptible to FOD with its tires kicking material up, or materials on the wing get ingested in the engines.

Remember SAS had the MD-80 crash due snow/ice ingested by the engines.

Here is a visual of what the rear engine aircraft can experience.




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PHX787
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:43 am

Surprised this took this long to get off the ground but I'm hoping to see some of the cargo players at CVG order some of these. The MD-80s roar like a tiger on takeoff and are an impressive sight..... but I wonder how far they can go on fuel...
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dtw9
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:08 am

Apparently AEI sees more demand for the MD-80SF than the 737-400SF

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...for-md-80sf-than-737-400sf-377746/

Quoting yyz717 (Reply 8):
I wonder who the 20 are destined for (other than Everts).

Well here's a list of the the Countries the airlines that have purchased the MD-80SF are from,USA,Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador, Kenya, South Africa, Spain and Indonesia

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-ne...8/first-md-80-freighter-set-fly-us

Love the statement where they describe the MD-80 as a pick-up truck with wings.

[Edited 2013-02-18 19:12:37]
 
Newark727
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:20 am

It makes sense since there are so many MD-80 series aircraft kicking around, but a lot of them are getting on a bit in age, I wonder about how many are still in the "sweet spot" in terms of usage.
 
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:30 am

Quoting Newark727 (Reply 18):
It makes sense since there are so many MD-80 series aircraft kicking around, but a lot of them are getting on a bit in age, I wonder about how many are still in the "sweet spot" in terms of usage

Well the first one is 26 years old, so I would say there's plenty of frames around that would be good candidates for conversion.
 
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:39 am

Quoting dtw9 (Reply 17):
Apparently AEI sees more demand for the MD-80SF than the 737-400SF

Thats AEI - a single vendor.

The Global market for 737 conversions has been quite strong especially recently and offered by multiple vendors (PEMCO, IAI, etc)


Demand Surges For Boeing 737 Classic Cargo Conversions
http://www.aviationweek.com/Article....e-xml/awx_10_30_2012_p0-511334.xml

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lightsaber
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:16 am

Quoting dtw9 (Reply 17):
http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-ne...8/first-md-80-freighter-set-fly-us

Interesting quote from your link:
A 737-400 typically costs between $3.25 million and $4 million, while MD-80s sell for $750,000 to $800,000. A 737-400 conversion, which AEI also offers, itself costs $2.7 million to $2.8 million, compared with $2.35 million for the MD-82 it just finished.

So a 734SF is $6M+ while the MD-80 is a mere $3.1M+ or about half the cost. I really do wonder if that is low enough to be purchased for seasonal use by FedEx or UPS...?


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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:27 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 21):
So a 734SF is $6M+ while the MD-80 is a mere $3.1M+ or about half the cost. I really do wonder if that is low enough to be purchased for seasonal use by FedEx or UPS...?

I don't understand. UPS and Fedex don't purchase airframes for seasonal use now. During Christmas rush they just add extra segments and hire in contractors. Why would they change?
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MCOflyer
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:50 am

I would imagine that an existing DC-9F operator might be attracted to these. It boils down, which a/c will make the most profit: The 733/4F or the MD80F as far as decision time. USA Jet has a MD83 F on order per wikipedia. While I said in my earlier post the MD80 is a good competitor, I still believe the best option in the market is the 733F/ 734F. Maybe more expensive, but I believe those extra pallets it takes will offset the extra cost.

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727forever
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:11 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 16):
Surprised this took this long to get off the ground but I'm hoping to see some of the cargo players at CVG order some of these. The MD-80s roar like a tiger on takeoff and are an impressive sight..... but I wonder how far they can go on fuel...

The range really depends on how heavy of a payload she is required to carry. A fully loaded -83 or -88 can fly for 3.5 hours plus :30 minute alternate and reserve. Mid weights, say 25-30k payload, will see about 5 hours, and light weight, say 10-15k payload could see 6 hours. This assumes being able to climb straight to optimum altitude and stepping to maintain optimum. It is a pretty similar profile to what the 727's are currently flying. The big difference is any operator wishing to cut their fuel burn in half with and MD-80SF will have to accept the addition of the smaller LD containers in their system.

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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:26 am

Quoting B757forever (Reply 14):
Agreed. I also think the low acquisition cost plus the ability to cheaply maintain the aircraft (much in the same manner as Allegiant) by using retired / continued time parts making the economics even more attractive.

Also believe the JT8D has some of the lowest OH cost of any engine out there. Also real good time between OH
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LAXintl
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:45 am

Quoting Deltal1011man (Reply 25):
Also believe the JT8D has some of the lowest OH cost of any engine out there. Also real good time between OH

According to G4 its cheaper to simply scrap a timed out JT8D-200's and replace it with another used one versus spending money on overhauls.
So besides buying old MD-80 frames, G4 has been eyeing engine opportunities also.
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:01 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 15):

Here is a visual of what the rear engine aircraft can experience.

Actually, that photo is demonstrating the usage and effectiveness of tire chines in deflecting water away from the engines. This is harder to see given the angle, but it looks like they're doing what they should be doing.

I do agree that wing ice is a problem. But aren't most S80s back-fitted with anti-ice blankets on the inboard wings now? Every S80 I've ever worked on has had these, though I honestly can't recall whether that mod was ever an AD or just a Service Bulletin. In any case, for someone like Everts, I would be hugely surprised if they didn't have this, given that they are very effective preventing wing ice from forming.

Are there other concerns for tail mounted engines WRT FOD issues? I can't recall specifically, but I thought there were a few more out there...

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 21):
So a 734SF is $6M+ while the MD-80 is a mere $3.1M+ or about half the cost. I really do wonder if that is low enough to be purchased for seasonal use by FedEx or UPS...?


Not sure about that one. Used S80s are actually great when picked up in small quantities for operators who don't plan on using them a great deal. G4 does a good job leveraging a mid-sized fleet around the idea that it's good to have spares around and really stretch those MX intervals accordingly.

For FX & 5X, I'm not so sure. Both carriers are historically very good at utilizing older airframes, but I think a lot of that effectivity comes from basing their costs around a larger fleet with a bit higher usage than what we would see at G4. While I think the S80 would fare at least as well, if not better there than a 733/734F, especially given the huge difference in price, they would really have to want something like that, and pretty soon to do it. Do they? I think a lot of the freight traffic that was once taken care of by 721s & 722s is now being handled by 752Fs. If they're happy enough with that, they may not see the need for converted S80s or 737s.

Which would be too bad. I really like those Maddogs & think they should live forever.
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:38 am

Everts likely wont be operating the MD80Fs into gravel runways, all of the major airports they serve in Alaska such as Barrow, Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue, Nome, Illiamna, King Salmon, McGrath, Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay are all paved. Chances are that the DC-9-30F and MD-80Fs will serve those markets while the DC-6s and C-46 will continue to do the heavy lifting into the gravel strips like Pt Hope, Nuiqsut, Anaktuvuk Pass, and other smaller Arctic and NW Alaska destinations. CODC10 is right, Everts doesnt haul ULDs, they bundle their freight on pallets and wrap 'em up. When I worked there back in the 90s (way before the DC-9s!) everything was done by hand, forklift and pallet jack!

With over 45,000lbs of capacity, Everts will be able to fly to any of their Alaska destinations from FAI or ANC fully loaded since flight times would never be more than 1hr 30 minutes, 2 hours at the most to the furthest destinations out in the Aleutians. The DC-6 can fly anywhere in the system with 30,000lbs, pretty amazing.
 
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:49 am

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-ne...8/first-md-80-freighter-set-fly-us

Quote: "Everts plans to use its MD-80 in the lower 48 states of the U.S."
 
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:11 am

Quoting dtw9 (Reply 19):
Well the first one is 26 years old,

Yes, but the important thing to know is how many cycles, and while we are at it, how many hours in the air ?
 
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:30 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 15):
Actually the MD-80 is quite susceptible to FOD with its tires kicking material up, or materials on the wing get ingested in the engines.

I thought that there was some sort of bar on the back of the nose tire to prevent that sort of thing from happening.
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:12 am

Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 31):
I thought that there was some sort of bar on the back of the nose tire to prevent that sort of thing from happening.

It's more of a custom mudflap-cage device, and there are similar (but less obvious) device on the main gear as well. I assume for use on unimproved/gravel runways these can be expanded or improved upon to prevent FOD ingestion.
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727forever
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:54 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 15):
Actually the MD-80 is quite susceptible to FOD with its tires kicking material up, or materials on the wing get ingested in the engines.

Remember SAS had the MD-80 crash due snow/ice ingested by the engines.

Here is a visual of what the rear engine aircraft can experience.

The MD-80 does have very robust spray deflectors that are a combination of metal and rubber. The deflectors are strong enough to deflect both liquid and solid debris for the sake of this argument. However, that would not be my concern on unimproved surface operations. My concern would be the very high surface weight of the MD-80. Notice how skinny the tires are, especially the nose wheel tires. This places a much higher weight concentration on each individual tire, much like the pressure of a woman wearing high heels. MD-80's will sink on asphalt surfaces not to mention gravel.

Nose
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Delta...d=6c4ad305999ffe4d7239dd9b81da641b

Main
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Alita...d=6c4ad305999ffe4d7239dd9b81da641b

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 30):

Yes, but the important thing to know is how many cycles, and while we are at it, how many hours in the air ?

As part of the new FAA Widespread Fatigue Damage rule, the MD-80 has a life limit of 110,000 cycles and 150,000 hours. That is extremely high, high enough that I'd be surprised to see many MD-80's approaching that point. Even if an airplane flew 8 legs a day, every day of the year for the last 30 years, it would still only have 87,600 cycles giving it 22,400 cycles remaining or 7.6 years if it maintained that very demanding usage. If the airplane flew 12 hours a day everyday for the last 30 years, it would have 131,400 hours on the airframe giving it 18,600 hours remaining or 4 years at that rate. The point is, a 30 year old MD-80 has plenty of life left in it and this could be a viable option, particularly for the majority of the fleet which is in the 20 year old range.

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/articles/2012_q4/2/

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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:23 pm

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 30):
Yes, but the important thing to know is how many cycles, and while we are at it, how many hours in the air ?

Wouldn't take more than a day to find 100 good candidates. Plenty of mid-cycle /mid-hour MD-80 airframes out there. As an example, most of the MD-80's coming out of the AA fleet (1985/86 build) average 60000 hrs and 35000 cycles. Saw some Avianca MD-80's for sale or lease with as little as 28000 hrs and 15000 cycles.
 
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:36 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
So besides buying old MD-80 frames, G4 has been eyeing engine opportunities also.

G4 is no longer buying old MD-80s for new service - all future in-service aircraft for G4 will be A319/A320s with CFM56 engines and 757s with Rolls RB211s.

G4 is still buying MD-80s, but only for scrapping for parts and used engines (IIRC, G4 is also buying the used JT8D-200s separately). Although few existing G4 MD-80s will be scrapped for parts, expect the number to slowly increase as more used Airbuses and 757s come online.
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SpaceshipDC10
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:48 pm

Quoting dtw9 (Reply 34):
Wouldn't take more than a day to find 100 good candidates. Plenty of mid-cycle /mid-hour MD-80 airframes out there. As an example, most of the MD-80's coming out of the AA fleet (1985/86 build) average 60000 hrs and 35000 cycles. Saw some Avianca MD-80's for sale or lease with as little as 28000 hrs and 15000 cycles.

I believe you, My remark was more intended as an answer to the notion people have very often regarding the number of years since the airframe was built.
 
ssteve
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RE: FAA Certifies First MD-80 Freighter

Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:54 pm

There are some interior photos here:
http://tinyurl.com/byz5wm2

I find myself wondering what determines whether the sidewalls are bare aluminum girders or not?