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Joined: Sat May 22, 1999 2:19 am

Any MD-80 Series Drivers Here?

Sat Nov 02, 2002 10:17 am

I was just curious as to what you guys think about the MD-80 series aircraft. A good friend of mine was a 757/767 FO with TWA and recently went down to FO on the MD-80 aircraft. The reason for this switch is a result of the AA/TWA merger I would presume. Anyway, after talking to him for a while he doesnt have anything good to say about the aircraft. He said they are slower, usually have to fly around storms instead of above most of them as he did in the 75/76. He also stated that it is an unstable aircraft on approach and at cruise altitudes, and he mentioned something about yaw damper. About the only thing I heard him speak highly of was the more comfortable seats up in the front office. If any of you guys have any input about the aircraft I would like to hear it. Do you agree with the above mentioned statements? What are your opinions?
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Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 11:51 am

RE: Any MD-80 Series Drivers Here?

Sat Nov 02, 2002 2:08 pm

ex-MD90 driver (MD80's in late 1980's) here.

I think your friend's biggest problem is he's moved from a very pilot friendly aircraft to a not-so-friendly aircraft. i.e. a 1980's vintage B757/767 to a 1960's vintage DC-9-82/83. Yes, the MD80 is slower (.76-.78 normal cruise vs .80-.82) and flies lower (FL370 max vs FL420/430 max). The MD80 is not an "unstable aircraft" but it is considerably lighter and therefore much more easily affected by smaller wind gusts, etc.). Not sure what his Yaw Damper issue is about though. Never had a problem with it. OTOH, there are some peculiar flying qualities that are related to rear mounted engines & T-tail design (F-100 has similar issues) that one does not have with wing-pod mounted engined airliners. I found the seats to be the same comfort level as any other airliner.... once you figured out how to get into one that is. Still, the left seat of an MD was always so much nicer than the right seat of anything else..... at least my wife thinks so!  Nuts
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:53 am

RE: Any MD-80 Series Drivers Here?

Sun Nov 03, 2002 6:36 pm

I fly MD series planes for SAS.I also flew DC-9's,FK-28's,767's earlier.
I find the MD-80 and -90 very nice planes to fly in all regimes.It is a bit slower than many other jetliners,we use M0.76 as normal cruise,M0.78 for high-speed cruise,however,this reduces flight-time on a normal sector like CPH-OSL by some 2-3 minutes only.
The aft-mounted engines give a very pleasant noise-level on the flightdeck,we don't wear headsets at any time as the ceiling-mounted loudspeakers are sufficient.
The planes have a tendency to become slightly nose-heavy with a full load,in fact trim changes are more pronounced on an A/C with aft-mounted engines.
The yaw damper functions very nicely indeed.It has a much more rapid response than most other jetliners,in particular Boeing jets.This means that the turbulence ride in an MD-80/90 is far superior to the 737 which wallows "all over the place",especially the 736.The DC-9,MD-80 and -90 continues to point the nose in the direction of flight with a slight rocking motion from side to side occasionally.
Seats are standard IPECO seats and are quite comfortable provided old worn-down cushions are replaced when needed.The seats can travel back far enought so as to allow a standard mealtray to be placed in your lap,something that was not possible in the other planes I've flown for SAS,not even the 767!
Instrumentation shows it's age,though,the EFIS screens being rather small,with the NAV Display being partially obscured by the control column.
I,ve ridden on the flightdecks of 737's an A321's on jumpseats,and in my view,the A321 can match or surpass the MD-80/90 flightdeck on most accounts except noise levels.The only advantage the 73NG has on the MD series flightdeck are the large screens for attitude,nav and systems display.Everything else is regarded as substandard compared to the MD.In fact,many SAS pilots who have been transferred from the MD to the 73NG regard the 73NG flightdeck as an "ergonomic slum"!
"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2000 5:09 am

RE: Any MD-80 Series Drivers Here?

Tue Nov 05, 2002 5:48 pm


Hi, i work at EKCH for a ground handling agent.

We get to see all sorts of aircraft here in CPH, we don't handle SASS but my favorite airline which we handle is Finnair. They operate the,DC9-51,MD80 Series and Airbus Series to Copenhagen on EHFK flights. I usually spend time with the crew and show a interest in the flightdeck.

I don't fly but i understand a hell of allot more than your average Gate Co. Wish I could fly but with the pilot costs and the pilot market nowadays I feel its not a viable option. I have many friends in the UK and DK who have lots of hours but cant find a job, sickening when you got all that debt behind you. Back to the MD! I like it but sitting in the FO's seat i noticed some of the main instruments were obscured by the control column. Lots of room for the flightdeck but it will never come close to the Airbus series for space. As for loading, seems weird but most people see engines on the back and think its tail heavy. They are surprised we load all the rear hold first. Easy and quick to load, forget ULD's just get the ramp snake out and in minutes its finished. The DC9 is the classic, that green, blue flightdeck with the distinctive smell. Its not uncommon to meet pilots who tell me back in 70's my dad flew this exact aircraft. Keep it in the family.

My favorite?
Well MD80 for looks and Airbus for comfort and space.


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