AM
Topic Author
Posts: 598
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 1999 8:49 am

MD-80 Navigation

Fri Apr 23, 2004 10:23 am

Hi,

Besides VOR radial navigation in older MD-80 aircraft, what are the most common navigation systems on this type of plane? Are they mostly GPS or are INS and IRS used as well? Is the navigation system always linked to the autopilot NAV function, whatever the nav system is?

I suppose this can vary a lot from airline to airline and from series to series. I'm particularly interested in what airlines with large MD-80 fleets use, for example American, SAS and Delta, but it would be great to know about any operator.

Also, what does a PMS do compared to an FMS? I've noticed that some MD-80s have a PERF function on the autopilot panel (the DFGCP, right?), where other MD-80s have a VNAV button, and I think this has to do with the airplane having a PMS or a FMS. Older MD-80 flight decks don't even have this function at all.

Thanks a lot in advance for your replies. I'll just finish by posting 3 different MD-80 flight decks, but all of them belong to an MD-82 (my favorite airline first Big grin):


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Photo © Mark Abbott

"... for there you have been and there you will long to return."
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: MD-80 Navigation

Fri Apr 23, 2004 11:05 am

I think we did a little bit of a rundown on this before, but I won't tell you to go find the old thread...people here are usually happy to help. For starters, may I suggest looking at another thread in here, Autopilot & A/T Use During Approach?...had some good info and questions.

I've noticed that some MD-80s have a PERF function on the autopilot panel (the DFGCP, right?), where other MD-80s have a VNAV button, and I think this has to do with the airplane having a PMS or a FMS

You did a little homework I see  Smile/happy/getting dizzy. I'm speaking from Delta's fleet perspective (as I've never flown AA or SAS) Their fleet all have FMS, LNAV and VNAV capable, with a VNAV button, not a PERF button...not like AA's cockpit (like the one you posted) where you have two different boxes for the modes. (also, like your namesake, AM has the same config on some of it's MD-83's) The MD-88 was pretty well equipped for it's day, FMS is on all of the ones I've ever seen. With the MD-81/82/83, it's hit or miss....

As for IRS or GPS, depends once again on the airline. There is one other unit, AHARS, Attitude Heading Reference System, not as advanced as an IRS, and provides heading and attitude reference only. Delta's fleet is mostly IRS, with AHARS in a few airframes...last I heard, they were all due to be updated to IRS.

When I jumpseated on an AM MD-83 a few weeks ago, they had basically exactly what that AA MD had...an FMS CDU and a PMS...had AHARS aboard too I believe. Had to use the PERF button to use it, but the Captain really didn't like it, too old of a system, he showed me around it, looked like it belonged in a 727! He just used MACH mode the whole time.

There's three current/former Mad Dog drivers in here, MD88Captain, AA717Driver, and AAR90...I'm sure they can tell you even more if they happen to come across this thread.

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
AAR90
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RE: MD-80 Navigation

Fri Apr 23, 2004 12:58 pm

Besides VOR radial navigation in older MD-80 aircraft, what are the most common navigation systems on this type of plane? Are they mostly GPS or are INS and IRS used as well? Is the navigation system always linked to the autopilot NAV function, whatever the nav system is?

Gosh, so many questions with so many possible answers. I guess it depends upon the airline and the time frame involved. Way back when... when I flew the AA MD80s on a daily basis, we operated using VOR, ILS and ADF only. PERF was a fairly new installation and while management kept pushing its use, it was so slow and non-pilot oriented that its use was kept primarily to long-range planning only. Many, many software upgrades later (about 4 times/year) it became decent for climb and cruise, but horrible for descent planning (overshot every single time).

About the time I left the MD80 fleet AA was just starting to introduce the OMEGA navigation system to that fleet. OMEGA was good for enroute only and didn't last very long so AA never fully configured their fleet before moving to a minimalist INS system. That was so short lived I'm not sure more than a handful of planes were ever converted. Eventually AA's MD80 fleet began the changeover to a GPS/FMS navigation system which is still being converted to at this time. Not sure of any system details though... sorry. Heck, when last I flew it only 1/2 the AA fleet had EFIS!  Nuts

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AM
Topic Author
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Joined: Sat Oct 02, 1999 8:49 am

RE: MD-80 Navigation

Sun Apr 25, 2004 12:46 pm

DeltaGuy, AAR90, thank you so much. There are so many questions I have about the MD-80 (it just wouldn't be right to post them all here), and your replies sure answered a lot of them.
"... for there you have been and there you will long to return."
 
DeltaGuy
Posts: 3965
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2001 5:25 am

RE: MD-80 Navigation

Sun Apr 25, 2004 1:46 pm

AM,

Certainly glad to help, there's enough people loitering around here that you could get help on anything....got anything else we can help you with?

DeltaGuy  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
AM
Topic Author
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Joined: Sat Oct 02, 1999 8:49 am

RE: MD-80 Navigation

Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:06 pm

DeltaGuy,

Well, I'd just like to ask, how was your flight with AM, how did you get to jumpseat? I've been able to do the same on some MX flights (mostly A320s), very friendly crews most of the time, but I almost never fly on AM. MD-80 flying is so different from A320s.
"... for there you have been and there you will long to return."

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