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Picture of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 aircraft

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Aircraft Taken at
More: Northwest Airlines
More: McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32
More: Detroit - Metropolitan Wayne County (DTW / KDTW)
More: USA - Michigan, December 4, 2005
Remark Photographer
N605NW (cn 47223/300) At DTW, Northwest DC9's often pushback with reverse thrust ("powerback"). This is what happens when the airport crew leaves some of the ice and snow on the ramp. Very showy, but perfectly safe - for planes with tail-mounted engines.
More: Damon Marcus Lewis
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Distinct views: 171,054
Photo added: December 14, 2005
Average views per day: 45

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Visitor comments (59)   [Hide]Post your own comments by rating the photo above!
A visitor from United States posted Thu December 8, 2011:
This is an astounding photo. Not only does it provide beautiful clarity of the plane and its features, but it's the bygone NWA livery. Not to mention it's a powerback! Always fun to see, absolute joy to hear!

A visitor from United States posted Thu May 19, 2011:
Ah how i miss this, to everyone confused about this or thinking it was dangerous, yes, slightly dangerous but this was common practice for dc-9s of northwest (not sure if many other airlines did this as well) to conduct a powerback rather then tug out because it was just that much easier by erasing a step. Also physics would tell us that the ice is being blown away from the plane and not towards it. five stars for the memories of being a child watching and hearing these from the gates.

A visitor from United States posted Wed October 6, 2010:
I believe this photo shows how dangerous it is to execute this operation. That pilot had to of got written up for that, I hope! Clearly, with the reversers in operation, it increases the danger zone in front of the engine ahead of the wing, and within gate area, that is obviously extremely dangerous! Tugs were designed for a reason. Then again, pilots could care less about the safety of anyone else but the plane and all on board.

A visitor from United States posted Mon December 14, 2009:
I'd agree. it's not a good idea. we all remember Air Florida disaster. I don't think this poses the same amount of risk and danger though, as the engines on DC-9 are mounted much higher than in 737.

A visitor from - posted Fri February 6, 2009:
It maybe faster, but not safe.
Think of Air Florida flight 90.

A visitor from Netherlands Antilles posted Thu October 2, 2008:
To explain the assymmetry on the elevators: on this type of aircraft (also the MD 80 series) the elevators are controlled via a control tab. so with the airflow over the elevator- the controls column in the cockpit will adjust a little tab on the elevator, and this tab then moves the whole elevator to the desired position. and once the tab is activly controlling one side of the elev. it will handle both of them

A visitor from United States posted Mon December 3, 2007:
Some Larger aircraft elevator will move independently to assist the aileron, you'll also find this with spoilers (757). Not sure if this is the case here but you can see also the ailerons are deflected so the yoke is prolly just not in a neutral position, or maybe its a MX flight?

adious putos!

A visitor from United States posted Wed October 24, 2007:
Is the plane going to crash? is it landing or what? i like it but i just wanted to know!! yay!!

A visitor from United States posted Sat April 14, 2007:
Very nice, I had no idea tail mounts could do tht....

A visitor from Turkey posted Tue March 6, 2007:
Very good picture

A visitor from United States posted Tue January 30, 2007:
Everytime I hit this site, i have to see this picture! Nothing beats an old DC-9 in that old NW livery!! Marvelous shot!!

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 8, 2006:
Absolutly amazing!

A visitor from United States posted Fri October 6, 2006:
You know, engines have very high operating temperatures, I doubt any snow or ice would have even made it past the outlet or inlet. It's debri that is a problem.

A visitor from United States posted Sat July 8, 2006:
Fantastic shot Damon! Superb action!

A visitor from Philippines posted Sat June 17, 2006:
I love thrust reversers great shot

A visitor from United States posted Fri June 2, 2006:
Excellent. I had the pleasure of being on board a DC-9-30 and powerbacking... it is very fun!
Great photo.

A visitor from United States posted Wed March 1, 2006:
Perfect shot showing the DC-9's power pushback. Love the ice blowing from the reversers.

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Thu February 23, 2006:
Yeah, great shot! But I feel a little uneasy with such old DC-9's still flying after (for some) over 20 years of constant daily service :O, hope they keep good maintenance.

A visitor from United States posted Thu February 9, 2006:
I LOVE it, the power, the sound, the sight!!!
I need to get over to DTW, to go SPOTTING!!!
The "airmanship" is just FINE!!!

A visitor from South Africa posted Thu February 2, 2006:
Good photo but this is absolutely disgusting airmanship. I have never seen such lack of professionalism from a flight crew in my entire life. America needs a strict review of their procedures to bring their levels of safety and professionalism up to standard.

A visitor from United States posted Wed December 21, 2005:
Wonderful capture at just the right moment. I love seeing shots like this from my home airport. Backing out like that is truly a unique and very loud procedure. I have a video up on FL350.com of one powering back, albeit no snow or anything. I look foreword to seeing more of your pictures.

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Anyone else notice the port elevator is but not the starboard?

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
So rare, and great angle

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Amazing shot! (Just don't get hit with that stuff!) ;)

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Definitely odd to see the the left side of the elevator up with the right side down...very nice pic!

A visitor from United Kingdom posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Yea very nice, that 737 was dangerous to powerback as it has wing mouted engines and there for snow could be sucked into the engine causing problems i think...lol

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Wow. I've never seen that before since I live in LA.

A visitor from Finland posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Good job Damon!

A visitor from Greece posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Very original photo!

A visitor from Australia posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Cool! But is that even legal?

A visitor from India posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Look at all that snow........and did the plane fly ?

A visitor from India posted Fri December 16, 2005:

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Can anyone explain how come only the left elevator is deflected and not the right?

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
That is one cool picture!!!!!!!!!!!

A visitor from China posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Very nice picture, but I'm amazed that self push-back using reverse trust is allowed when there is ice around. I would have thought the risk of ingestion into the engines, or other damage to the aircraft would have been too high.

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Great photo, I love the DC-9, keep up the good work.

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
I think is a good way to heat-up the engine for the flight... =P.. not bad

A visitor from Brazil posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Wow!!! Spectacular!!! Is there some noise???

A visitor from United States posted Fri December 16, 2005:
Very cool

A visitor from United States posted Thu December 15, 2005:
DTW McNamera terminal is really cool!!!!
As you get out of your vehicle and look over the parking balcony, you see things just like this....
The airport has a long line of DC-9's to view....
Cool Pic!!!!

A visitor from United States posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Hey, is this how Northwest cleans their gates these days? Nice money-saver strategy. Did the BK judge recommend this? :)

A visitor from Trinidad And Tobago posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Excellent and well captured. Something we don't see everyday. Also an answer to something I did not know. Can planes reverse with reverse thrust? Thank you for the answer!

A visitor from Canada posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Rare occasion to see that kind of action

A visitor from United States posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Blow-backs are always fun to watch. The tug driver must have been inside drinking his hot cocoa! Nice shot Damon.

A visitor from Poland posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Fast and furies

A visitor from Iceland posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Nice photo Damon!!

I'm SOOOO glad to see that this photo made it into the database.

I remember that it was rejected before, but it made it, and I'm happy!

And also your first shot in the DB.

VERY good for a first shot!

Reykjavik Spotters - David

A visitor from United States posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Nice action shot! WRT to the poster before, DC-9 can get away with it due to the positioning of the engines - which are no where as near to the ground as on a 737.

A visitor from Canada posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Why is one elevator up and the other down?

A visitor from Brazil posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Interesting photo if we don't read the description... It looks like she landed straight to the gate and is applying full reverse to stop right on the spot. Notice that left elevator is up while right elevator didn't move. (???)

A visitor from Mexico posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Need to take out the snow from streets? Here is an idea. ;) T.B.

A visitor from United States posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Hey, how else do we clean up the ramp in the winter?

A visitor from Hong Kong posted Thu December 15, 2005:
It's look so cool, It's never see it in Hong Kong.

A visitor from United States posted Thu December 15, 2005:
I've read dozens of posts about this procedure. But this if the *first* actual photo I've seen of a DC-9 doing it.

Chet Pryor

A visitor from Hong Kong posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Beautiful timing and light you dont get pictures like this everyday

A visitor from United States posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Good picture.......and the correct terminology for this "pushback with reverse thrust" is powerback!

A visitor from Italy posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Very very interesting picture! ...this is definitely a procedure rare to see! Congratulations!

A visitor from Netherlands posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Very nice powerback action shots.


A visitor from United States posted Thu December 15, 2005:
Very nice picture, didn't know they could do that!

A visitor from United States posted Wed December 14, 2005:
Congrats on your first photo! Glad to see it after the rework!!

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