Aspen71
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MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:41 am

Myself, and a couple other admittedly amateur aviation buffs were talking the other day when this question came up:

In light of all the human, and financial costs that Boeing is enduring due to their flawed process of stretching the B737 too far, why didn't they just continue to make the MD90 to fill that size? The MD90 was similarly sized to the B737 Max, and the A320.

Didn't Boeing inherit the MD90 production line? Airlines certainly seem to like the MD90. No development costs, no lawsuits, no delivery delay penalties.

Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose, but couldn't a gradually updated MD90 still be competitive?
 
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DocLightning
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:31 am

1) The airplane is longer for the same number of passengers because of the 2+3 seating arrangement.

2) It is both structurally and aerodynamically more favorable to have the engines mounted on the wings. This both softens the sudden increase in overall cross-section at the wing root by starting it with the engine nacelles and also reduces the overall bending load on the wing roots in flight by moving the two heaviest components other than the fuselage outboard. In addition, the cabin structure requires additional reinforcement if the engines are mounted aft. This gets even more problematic when talking about mounting something as large as a LEAP-1B or PW1000 back there.

3) The wing of the MD-90 and 717 was not significantly changed from the DC-9 wing. A competitive MD-2020 would need a complete wing reloft.

4) The entire cockpit would need to be redone so as to conform to the Boeing cockpit design philosophy.

5) The MD-90/717/MD-80 production line is gone. The last 717 was delivered in 2006.
-Doc Lightning-

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ikolkyo
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:35 am

So you’re just gonna skip the fact that the 737NG was brand new at the time Boeing inherited the MD-90 and was also by and large the better aircraft?
 
DeltaMD95
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:54 am

I agree it would have been interesting to see an MD-90NEO, with modern engines, a new wing, and updated version of the 717 flight deck. Give it a 737/A320 sized fuel tank and range would never be an issue again. But the unfortunate reality is that it’s never going to happen.
Did you know that a Boeing 717-200 is really a McDonnell Douglas MD95-30? ;-)
 
AA737-823
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:07 am

You’re using a lot of flawed logic.
And ignoring the fact that the DC-9 family is the same age as the 737 family; yet you’re telling us that Boeing took the 737 too far, and that would be cure by.........using the DC-9 frame instead???
Besides which, the MD-90 was rather uncompetitive even in its heyday. It needed new wings, which MD couldn’t afford to design. So it got heavier engines, and a longer heavier fuselage, with more passengers....using the MD-80 wing, which also isn’t modern enough.

Nice try though.
 
VSMUT
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:07 am

DocLightning wrote:
2) It is both structurally and aerodynamically more favorable to have the engines mounted on the wings.


Clean wings, uncluttered by engines, are always going to be more aerodynamically favorable. But the rest of your points are valid, and detract sufficiently for nobody to design aircraft with tail mounted engines any more.
 
Antarius
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:12 am

VSMUT wrote:
DocLightning wrote:
2) It is both structurally and aerodynamically more favorable to have the engines mounted on the wings.


Clean wings, uncluttered by engines, are always going to be more aerodynamically favorable. But the rest of your points are valid, and detract sufficiently for nobody to design aircraft with tail mounted engines any more.


Not disagreeing with your point, but will point out the ground clearance advantage of tail mounted engines - something that is still relevant for smaller aircraft.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:14 am

True, better aerodynamics for best field performance, but without the engines to counter wing bending, the structure’s is heavier than optimum which imposes fuel burn penalty. The MD-90 needed ballast forward to account for the heavier V2500, plus a bunch a aerodynamic “fixes” aft to meet stall characteristics.

GF
 
VSMUT
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:31 am

Antarius wrote:
Not disagreeing with your point, but will point out the ground clearance advantage of tail mounted engines - something that is still relevant for smaller aircraft.


Even small aircraft have no problems fitting GTFs under the wings these days. See the E2, A220 and MRJ.

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
True, better aerodynamics for best field performance, but without the engines to counter wing bending, the structure’s is heavier than optimum which imposes fuel burn penalty. The MD-90 needed ballast forward to account for the heavier V2500, plus a bunch a aerodynamic “fixes” aft to meet stall characteristics.

GF


Wouldn't a stretch of the rear fuselage have solved that? I guess that would have been too expensive for cash-strapped McD at the time.

Isn't it the MD-90 that also had "elevators" on the engine pylons?
 
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smithbs
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:35 am

The tooling is probably all lost to history now....wait, call China - I think they have some of it left.

It would be nice to have a third major narrow-body line still running, but the market apparently decided that two is fine. However, if production slots still reach out several years, maybe something will come in to take the near-term demand.

Also, if the discussion started over 737 issues due to the perception of an airframe that has been grandfathered and band-aided over the decades, then MD-90 is no better. The DC-9 pre-dated the 737, did it not? And I know people who lost loved ones on MD-80s, so who is to say any airframe is free of risk?

Don't get me wrong - I'd fly a DC-9 tomorrow if I could, just for the nostalgia. I'd even get on a DC-10 if I could - and that's an airframe that had a reputation!
 
PhilMcCrackin
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:44 am

Boeing pretty much killed the MD80, MD90, and MD11 right off the bat because it completed with existing Boeing models. They ran out the order books but that was it for sales. They only continued to build the MD95 because of the demand for it and it was more efficient than the 736.

Keep in mind, Boeing didn't buy McD for their commercial line. The defense business was the real prize.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:51 am

Airlines liked the MD-90 so much that DL cancelled all but 37 of their 175 airplane order. AS cancelled their MD-90 order. AA got rid of their ex-QQ MD-90s as fast as they could and never ordered any, despite their huge MD-80 fleet. DL is the only airline that still flies the MD-90 AFAIK.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the 717 was a better airplane than the 737, but your statements seem completely incorrect.
Last edited by BoeingGuy on Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:55 am, edited 4 times in total.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:52 am

PhilMcCrackin wrote:
Boeing pretty much killed the MD80, MD90, and MD11 right off the bat because it completed with existing Boeing models. They ran out the order books but that was it for sales. They only continued to build the MD95 because of the demand for it and it was more efficient than the 736.

Keep in mind, Boeing didn't buy McD for their commercial line. The defense business was the real prize.



Boeing phased out those models because no-one would buy them anymore. That’s why.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:54 am

DocLightning wrote:
A competitive MD-2020


Oh god, not since freshman year in college. Just say no to Dr. Goodvision.

As appealing as an ultra DC-9 might be, a narrow body can’t be competitive at that size (739/7310) at 5 abreast. Even at smaller sizes 5 abreast works on the c-series only because of a clean slate composite design with bleeding edge engines.
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VSMUT
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:03 am

PhilMcCrackin wrote:
Keep in mind, Boeing didn't buy McD for their commercial line. The defense business was the real prize.


Boeing didn't buy McD for anything. It was the government who forced it to save McDonnell Douglas' military business. The McDonnell Douglas board pretty much took over Boeings. As Richard Aboulafiya said: “McDonnell Douglas in effect acquired Boeing with Boeing’s money.”
 
prebennorholm
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:22 am

Problem:
737, 50+ years old design not really suitable to update to modern standard.

Solution:
DC-9...….MD-90, de-dusting blueprints of another 50+ year old design.

Is that what innovation in aviation has come to in 21st century?
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
vahancrazy
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:29 am

smithbs wrote:
[...]

It would be nice to have a third major narrow-body line still running, but the market apparently decided that two is fine. However, if production slots still reach out several years, maybe something will come in to take the near-term demand.
[..] !


Hei,

I disagree with you on this. It seems to me the global market is big enough for a 3rd (or even 4th player). However, the barriers to entry are huge. It means, to play this game you need an initial investment that will pay back only after many years... which result in a dramatic advantage for A and B. This is visible with Cseries: the aircraft is great and there are enough aircraft in the same range but Bombardier had not invested enough to produce at market requirement speed and the same goes for after sale service.



Back on main topic: in the 90s MD commercial had two products, MD90 and MD11. Both were losing competitiveness because the market requested more efficient design. For MD it means a different long term planning would have been needed (and related investment)... here I do not know if there haf been any missed opportunity or MD was doomed.
 
Max Q
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:50 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
True, better aerodynamics for best field performance, but without the engines to counter wing bending, the structure’s is heavier than optimum which imposes fuel burn penalty. The MD-90 needed ballast forward to account for the heavier V2500, plus a bunch a aerodynamic “fixes” aft to meet stall characteristics.

GF



Including elevators on the engine nacelles,don’t think I’ve seen that
on any other aircraft !
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society
 
aussieben
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:15 am

If the 2+3 seating makes the MD90 longer than the 737 for same number of pax, they could introduce an XWB version with 3+3 seating and make the body the same length. If rear mounted engines are an issue, they could just re position the engines under the wing.

Come to think of it, if they did all that - they could just add some winglets and you'd have the the equivalent aircraft to the 737 anyway :D

Having said all that - if they're going to relaunch a design - I've always wondered why they don't do a passenger version of the C17. They could make it a fair bit smaller to make it the same number of pax as a MAX. It would look like a BAe 146. Except slightly larger and with two engines.

They could then retain the basic C17 four engine design and up size it to act as a 747-8 and/or A380 replacement.

At least if they had the wings mounted at the top of the fuselage, there wouldn't be any issues with engine ground clearance.
 
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eeightning
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:20 am

Problem:
737, 50+ years old design not really suitable to update to modern standard.

Solution:
DC-9...….MD-90, de-dusting blueprints of another 50+ year old design.


Except that the DC-9 was a great design and the 73 was the troubled bastard lowest common denominator of the 707 progeny that somehow kept getting band-aided into being the most ubiquitous Boeing on the planet. With the exception of the MD-90, every iteration of the DC-9 was a winner.
 
oldannyboy
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:23 am

Boy, I for one love the MD-90, I think it looks great, and is a delight to fly one -AND, I truly miss the days of a third/fourth main competitor in the market- but I have to concede that it was already a much too warmed-up MD-80, and indeed besides the modern V2500 engine (which required significant change, thus negating fleet commonality facilitations for A320/MD-90 mixed ops), the technology was just not there. Efficiency was only marginally improved. Indeed fuel consumption (alone) did go down, but most other metrics remained in the same ballpark of the MD-80. Not enough to stay alive and sell.
Sadly MDD didn't have access to better funding in order to finance new designs - this is the tragic part. By the time the MD-90 came to the market, MDD no longer had a credible line-up, since both their offerings (MD-90/95 and MD-11) were simply upgrades of older models that had to compete against much better clean sheet designs like the 777, the A320,A330, etc..
 
BrianDromey
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:30 am

VSMUT wrote:
PhilMcCrackin wrote:
Keep in mind, Boeing didn't buy McD for their commercial line. The defense business was the real prize.


Boeing didn't buy McD for anything. It was the government who forced it to save McDonnell Douglas' military business. The McDonnell Douglas board pretty much took over Boeings. As Richard Aboulafiya said: “McDonnell Douglas in effect acquired Boeing with Boeing’s money.”


I think there is some evidence to support that. Boeing is making some of the same investment decisions that McDonnell-Douglas did, continual improvements to older airframes, out-sourcing development and responsibility, risk-sharing with partners. Its a kind of imitation of the original Airbus vision, but the difference is that the risk-sharing was between the national governments, at the time, and the work and responsibility were spread I proportion to the airframe content. I don't think a legacy company can retrofit the kind of structure that Airbus was built with from scratch.
The results of the MDD philosophy at Boeing are eerily similar. They have taken a frame byond what was ever imagined in terms of engines, range and capacity. There have been come compromises in efficiency to achieve this. There may be compromises elsewhere.
 
Dalmd88
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:30 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
Airlines liked the MD-90 so much that DL cancelled all but 37 of their 175 airplane order. AS cancelled their MD-90 order. AA got rid of their ex-QQ MD-90s as fast as they could and never ordered any, despite their huge MD-80 fleet. DL is the only airline that still flies the MD-90 AFAIK.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the 717 was a better airplane than the 737, but your statements seem completely incorrect.

Almost right. DL only took 16 of the order. Most of the current DL fleet is second hand from various operators.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:32 pm

Dalmd88 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
Airlines liked the MD-90 so much that DL cancelled all but 37 of their 175 airplane order. AS cancelled their MD-90 order. AA got rid of their ex-QQ MD-90s as fast as they could and never ordered any, despite their huge MD-80 fleet. DL is the only airline that still flies the MD-90 AFAIK.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the 717 was a better airplane than the 737, but your statements seem completely incorrect.

Almost right. DL only took 16 of the order. Most of the current DL fleet is second hand from various operators.


Somehow the number 37 stuck in my mind. Come to think of it, that was the number of 767-400s built.

I remember back about 2003, someone from DL then told me they wanted to phase them out of their fleet.

Neither the MD-11 or MD-90 were very well engineered. I’m a big fan of the DC-9 air frame but the -90 wasn’t their best product.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:41 pm

BrianDromey wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
PhilMcCrackin wrote:
Keep in mind, Boeing didn't buy McD for their commercial line. The defense business was the real prize.


Boeing didn't buy McD for anything. It was the government who forced it to save McDonnell Douglas' military business. The McDonnell Douglas board pretty much took over Boeings. As Richard Aboulafiya said: “McDonnell Douglas in effect acquired Boeing with Boeing’s money.”


I think there is some evidence to support that. Boeing is making some of the same investment decisions that McDonnell-Douglas did, continual improvements to older airframes, out-sourcing development and responsibility, risk-sharing with partners. Its a kind of imitation of the original Airbus vision, but the difference is that the risk-sharing was between the national governments, at the time, and the work and responsibility were spread I proportion to the airframe content. I don't think a legacy company can retrofit the kind of structure that Airbus was built with from scratch.
The results of the MDD philosophy at Boeing are eerily similar. They have taken a frame byond what was ever imagined in terms of engines, range and capacity. There have been come compromises in efficiency to achieve this. There may be compromises elsewhere.


In general I agree with your comments and have been very angry over how past leadership mismanaged the company

However, things are getting back on track. The NMA is under development. Quite a few formerly outsourced systems are being brought back into Boeing.

I can tell you there is now a HUGE emphasis on Safety within Engineering leadership. No-one wants another MCAS fiasco. Past assumption on safety hazards and expected crew performance are being challenged.

While Harry and Diamond Jim are off counting their money, they did irreversible damage to Boeing. Dennis is left holding the bag. I like Dennis. Sure he could have handled the initial MCAS response better, but I think he’s getting the company back on the correct path.
 
Gulfstream500
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:56 pm

Well, if someone’s got a few billion dollars that they can give me I’ll gladly revive the DC-9 line.

But, China has already done it for me...
Thinking of a good signature is hard...
 
727LOVER
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:00 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
Airlines liked the MD-90 so much that DL cancelled all but 37 of their 175 airplane order. AS cancelled their MD-90 order. AA got rid of their ex-QQ MD-90s as fast as they could and never ordered any, despite their huge MD-80 fleet. .


HUH?? DL had 30 on firm order and only took 16. Then years later went shopping for used ones. AA got rid of ALL of QQ's fleet...MD-80/MD-87/MD-90...hard to pin THAT on the MD-90
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
wave46
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:09 pm

If Boeing had only known that its path to riches was to keep the MD-80, MD-90, MD-11, 707, 717, 727 and 757 in production when they discontinued them years (and decades) ago.

I mean, airlines loved them at the time, so why not?

The MD-90 will be gone in a few years. Cool airplane, absolutely. A 1967 Chevrolet Camaro was a cool car too - but time moves on.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:10 pm

727LOVER wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
Airlines liked the MD-90 so much that DL cancelled all but 37 of their 175 airplane order. AS cancelled their MD-90 order. AA got rid of their ex-QQ MD-90s as fast as they could and never ordered any, despite their huge MD-80 fleet. .


HUH?? DL had 30 on firm order and only took 16. Then years later went shopping for used ones. AA got rid of ALL of QQ's fleet...MD-80/MD-87/MD-90...hard to pin THAT on the MD-90


I thought DL had 175 on order.

True for AA, but they also had a huge fleet of MD-80s yet chose not to order the -90. AS cancelled their order too.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:10 pm

727LOVER wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
Airlines liked the MD-90 so much that DL cancelled all but 37 of their 175 airplane order. AS cancelled their MD-90 order. AA got rid of their ex-QQ MD-90s as fast as they could and never ordered any, despite their huge MD-80 fleet. .


HUH?? DL had 30 on firm order and only took 16. Then years later went shopping for used ones. AA got rid of ALL of QQ's fleet...MD-80/MD-87/MD-90...hard to pin THAT on the MD-90


The LA Times cites a firm order for 50 in 1989, and 110 more on option. But no, DL never took many new-build MD-90s.

The airline placed firm orders with McDonnell Douglas for 50 MD-90s and took options on 110 more, with deliveries to begin in late 1994. Sixty of the options represent conversions of options that the airline had previously announced for McDonnell Douglas’ older MD-88s. In the configuration ordered by Delta, the MD-90s will carry 153 passengers and cost about $30 million each, Douglas executives said.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm ... story.html
 
1989worstyear
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:11 pm

prebennorholm wrote:
Problem:
737, 50+ years old design not really suitable to update to modern standard.

Solution:
DC-9...….MD-90, de-dusting blueprints of another 50+ year old design.

Is that what innovation in aviation has come to in 21st century?


For NB's it seems to be the case.
Stuck at age 15 thanks to the certification date of the A320-200 and my parents' decision to postpone having a kid by 3 years. At least there's Dignitas...
 
lat41
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:27 pm

ikolkyo wrote:
So you’re just gonna skip the fact that the 737NG was brand new at the time Boeing inherited the MD-90 and was also by and large the better aircraft?

It was passe by then. Like an earlier poster said, the wing was old technology and held the 90 back as far as range, payload and service ceiling go. 717 can more or less get away with that because of the shorter segments it routinely flies.
 
cumulushumilis
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:32 pm

Love the MD-90 and the rest of the DC-9 family. Built like tanks, flew solid, and in terms of longevity nothing beats the airframe. I have no doubt that we would have a modern version with a new wing if the program would have not been swallowed by Boeing and MD put a little more thought in updating it. When I think of a program that comes close to the comfort of a DC-9 series the only thing that comes close is the A220.

The 717 is a great little plane, however too small, shared a limited market. Have no doubt we would have seen a lot more versions flying. If only..
 
Aspen71
Topic Author
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:33 pm

Original Poster again here.

Thanks for all the responses. Myself, and my monthly lunch buddies are retired Air Traffic Controllers. We don't know much about the economics, and design features of the air carrier business-We just got them where they wanted to go.

You all have given me a lot of good technical/economics info I can relay at this months lunch.

Personal connection to the MD90-I coordinated the MD90s flight into DCA for its official presentation of the Airworthiness Certificate . The MDD flight test crew wasn't aware that DCA was in the "Slot Controlled Airport Reservation Program," and they needed an approved reservation number. (usually unavailable weeks ahead) We worked it out for them at the last minute, and in gratitude they offered to put us on the guest list for the ceremony the next morning. Being a junior controller at the time my two days off were weekdays, and as luck would have it the next day was my first RDO. Myself, and another controller went to an old hanger at DCA the next day, and there sat the shiny new MD90 covered in banners, and bunting. The CEOs of Delta, MDD, and IAE were all there. Speeches, finger foods, and a few minor government celebrities from the early 90s.
 
TheKennady2
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:46 pm

cumulushumilis wrote:
Love the MD-90 and the rest of the DC-9 family. Built like tanks, flew solid, and in terms of longevity nothing beats the airframe. I have no doubt that we would have a modern version with a new wing if the program would have not been swallowed by Boeing and MD put a little more thought in updating it. When I think of a program that comes close to the comfort of a DC-9 series the only thing that comes close is the A220.

The 717 is a great little plane, however too small, shared a limited market. Have no doubt we would have seen a lot more versions flying. If only..


With T-Tails dwindling i always wonder the same things. To bad we will never know how much MD could have gotten out of the MD-90 platform, its such a good looking plane and well built, breaks up the common wing mounted engine monotony.
 
Weatherwatcher1
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:36 am

Aspen71 wrote:

Didn't Boeing inherit the MD90 production line? Airlines certainly seem to like the MD90. No development costs, no lawsuits, no delivery delay penalties


What airlines like the MD90? Only Delta still operates them, but has parked a significant number and took a financial write down last quarter and is accelerating retirement. Everyone else retired them despite having remaining useful life in the fleet for most.
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:34 am

Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
Aspen71 wrote:

Didn't Boeing inherit the MD90 production line? Airlines certainly seem to like the MD90. No development costs, no lawsuits, no delivery delay penalties


What airlines like the MD90? Only Delta still operates them, but has parked a significant number and took a financial write down last quarter and is accelerating retirement. Everyone else retired them despite having remaining useful life in the fleet for most.


Perhaps they see the the A220 as a much superior replacement. The MD-90 is an orphan. There aren't many spare parts available especially for the engines. Other spares are also limited by the fact that it is close to the end of the line of DC-9 variants. Delta could get rid of the MD-90 and make a bigger commitment to the A220 early. As they like to do maintenance in house and provide maintenance for other airlines, obtaining more A220's helps improve the economy of scale for the A220.
 
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smithbs
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:49 am

vahancrazy wrote:
smithbs wrote:
[...]

It would be nice to have a third major narrow-body line still running, but the market apparently decided that two is fine. However, if production slots still reach out several years, maybe something will come in to take the near-term demand.
[..] !


Hei,

I disagree with you on this. It seems to me the global market is big enough for a 3rd (or even 4th player). However, the barriers to entry are huge. It means, to play this game you need an initial investment that will pay back only after many years... which result in a dramatic advantage for A and B. This is visible with Cseries: the aircraft is great and there are enough aircraft in the same range but Bombardier had not invested enough to produce at market requirement speed and the same goes for after sale service.


I think it would be a flash in the pan, actually. Such a design would be vulnerable to dynamic markets. Someone could certainly put out a relatively quick design and mass-produce it, but it would probably depend on cheap oil and high interest rates, and that product would be dead once those turn against it. The high barrier to entry you refer to is from OEMs targeting high oil prices and low interest rates.
 
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smithbs
Posts: 316
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:51 am

Aspen71 wrote:
Original Poster again here.

Thanks for all the responses. Myself, and my monthly lunch buddies are retired Air Traffic Controllers. We don't know much about the economics, and design features of the air carrier business-We just got them where they wanted to go.

You all have given me a lot of good technical/economics info I can relay at this months lunch.

Personal connection to the MD90-I coordinated the MD90s flight into DCA for its official presentation of the Airworthiness Certificate . The MDD flight test crew wasn't aware that DCA was in the "Slot Controlled Airport Reservation Program," and they needed an approved reservation number. (usually unavailable weeks ahead) We worked it out for them at the last minute, and in gratitude they offered to put us on the guest list for the ceremony the next morning. Being a junior controller at the time my two days off were weekdays, and as luck would have it the next day was my first RDO. Myself, and another controller went to an old hanger at DCA the next day, and there sat the shiny new MD90 covered in banners, and bunting. The CEOs of Delta, MDD, and IAE were all there. Speeches, finger foods, and a few minor government celebrities from the early 90s.


Sounds like a good time!
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 5871
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:46 am

Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
Aspen71 wrote:

Didn't Boeing inherit the MD90 production line? Airlines certainly seem to like the MD90. No development costs, no lawsuits, no delivery delay penalties


What airlines like the MD90? Only Delta still operates them, but has parked a significant number and took a financial write down last quarter and is accelerating retirement. Everyone else retired them despite having remaining useful life in the fleet for most.


Those are inconvenient facts for the lovers of the McD t-tails. I was a fan back in the day. The 16 original DL MD-90s had the little flipdown video screens mounted in the PSUs, right? I later saw those on Swissair A320s circa 1997. Up front in the MD-90 was always a quiet ride.

I really do wonder the fuel consumption of the ~1995 MD-90 vs. 1998 738 vs. A320 of same vintage on a ~1,200 sm flight. DL is keeping the routes pretty short these days: I looked at 40 segments for three aircraft in the last 7 days and the median length was just 700 statute miles (with ATL-ELP the longest of those observed at 1,282).
 
DeltaMD95
Posts: 502
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:30 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
Airlines liked the MD-90 so much that DL cancelled all but 37 of their 175 airplane order. AS cancelled their MD-90 order. AA got rid of their ex-QQ MD-90s as fast as they could and never ordered any, despite their huge MD-80 fleet.


It’s been said that both DL and AS cancelled their orders because Boeing announced the merger with McDD and intended to close the line. As for AA, they retired all aircraft ex-QQ aircraft in short order due to commonality issues. This includes relatively young MD83s, IIRC. The MD90s were at such a small economies of scale, it’s no wonder they did not last long at AA.
Did you know that a Boeing 717-200 is really a McDonnell Douglas MD95-30? ;-)
 
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lightsaber
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:38 pm

Douglas sold themselves to Boeing as their products were not selling. The ND-90 has high wing loading, so is not efficient on longer missions. In effect, Douglas design strategy was optimized for lower oil prices.

With the same engines, the MD-90 has significantly less range than the A329. The improved wing of the 738 has it burning significantly less fuel. I could go into how engines slung under a wing save significant weight and some drag. The T-tails were great, but not by today's standards.

Lightsaber
IM messages to mods on warnings and bans will be ignored and nasty ones will result in a ban.
 
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flyingclrs727
Posts: 2429
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:45 pm

lightsaber wrote:
Douglas sold themselves to Boeing as their products were not selling. The ND-90 has high wing loading, so is not efficient on longer missions. In effect, Douglas design strategy was optimized for lower oil prices.

With the same engines, the MD-90 has significantly less range than the A329. The improved wing of the 738 has it burning significantly less fuel. I could go into how engines slung under a wing save significant weight and some drag. The T-tails were great, but not by today's standards.

Lightsaber



Had the unducted fan engine experiments in the late 80's resulted in commercial aircraft, perhaps there would still be some variant of the DC-9 still in production.
 
DeltaMD95
Posts: 502
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:05 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
Aspen71 wrote:

Didn't Boeing inherit the MD90 production line? Airlines certainly seem to like the MD90. No development costs, no lawsuits, no delivery delay penalties


What airlines like the MD90? Only Delta still operates them, but has parked a significant number and took a financial write down last quarter and is accelerating retirement. Everyone else retired them despite having remaining useful life in the fleet for most.


Those are inconvenient facts for the lovers of the McD t-tails. I was a fan back in the day. The 16 original DL MD-90s had the little flipdown video screens mounted in the PSUs, right? I later saw those on Swissair A320s circa 1997. Up front in the MD-90 was always a quiet ride.

I really do wonder the fuel consumption of the ~1995 MD-90 vs. 1998 738 vs. A320 of same vintage on a ~1,200 sm flight. DL is keeping the routes pretty short these days: I looked at 40 segments for three aircraft in the last 7 days and the median length was just 700 statute miles (with ATL-ELP the longest of those observed at 1,282).


Asking what airlines like the MD90 today, is like asking today what airlines like the A300/310/F100/747SP or any other dwindling pax aircraft that long ago had its production terminated. The original MD90 had moderate interest in its day 25 years ago. But that interest would be quite difficult to resurrect this many years later, and without the existing support infrastructure of other MD t-tails already in place in current active fleets.

As for the fuel efficiency number of a late ‘90s 738/A320 vs an MD90? A thread with this topic was posted some time ago by a DL employee with access to the data. And despite common a.net lore, the numbers were quite competitive. This was about 3-4 years ago, before the UI facelift. I tried to find the thread but I think it may have been taken down.
Did you know that a Boeing 717-200 is really a McDonnell Douglas MD95-30? ;-)
 
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NWAROOSTER
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:53 pm

I maybe very wrong, but I also think that Delta had some issues with the MD-90s that it initially purchased. I cannot remember what it was. This may be one of the reasons that Delta did not continue acquiring more. If I am correct, Delta started acquiring used MD-90s later as it already had MD-90s and they could be purchased at very low prices. They were already operating and maintaining the aircraft so they took the opportunity to buy what was available for sale and fly them until they were no longer needed and and newer aircraft were then available. :old:
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
aussieben
Posts: 24
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:54 am

DeltaMD95 wrote:
Asking what airlines like the MD90 today, is like asking today what airlines like the A300/310/F100/747SP or any other dwindling pax aircraft that long ago had its production terminated. The original MD90 had moderate interest in its day 25 years ago. But that interest would be quite difficult to resurrect this many years later, and without the existing support infrastructure of other MD t-tails already in place in current active fleets.


Yes - If you think about it. The 787, A220, A350 and A380 are the only aircraft currently in construction from the 2 major manufactures that haven't been rehashed from an earlier design. You could possibly include the 777 as well. However the basic aircraft was launched 29 years ago and in service for 24 years - have a look at the other models:

A320 - 32 years old

A330 (basic design over 25 years old and I believe they use the same fuselage design as the A300/A310 - that design is getting towards 50 years old)

737 - basic design over 50 years old

747 - basic design 50 years old

757/767 - basic design 40 years old and 757 out of production

The 737 also uses the same basic fuselage cross section as the 707 which is a 60 year old design. The 757 even though it was a new aircraft when launched - still uses the same cross section as the 707/727/737 I think

So from MD the same thing when the latest aircraft were launched:

MD11 - new aircraft but basically a modernised version of the DC10

MD90 and 717 - modernised versions of the MD80/DC9

I understand the aircraft in production today are much more modern, re-engined derivatives of an older design. However they still use the same design foundation. They're not new clean sheet designs as such.
 
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SEPilot
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:43 am

There is a reason that all new airliners have two engines under the wings and have conventional tails; it is by a significant margin the most efficient arrangement known so far. The 737 was originally going to have the same layout as the DC-9 (only 6 abreast) but Joe Sutter proved that by putting the engines under the wings they could gain two rows of seats for the same weight. And the advantage has not changed. An updated DC-9, no matter what they did to it, would not be competitive with the A320neo or the MAX, period.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
baje427
Posts: 696
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:57 am

I do wonder how the MD90 would have done commercially if Mcd was able to give it new wing. There was a thread here years ago with fuel burn data and the MD90 wasn't that uncompetitive with the 320 or 737 NG.
 
nycbjr
Posts: 189
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Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:32 pm

aussieben wrote:
DeltaMD95 wrote:
Asking what airlines like the MD90 today, is like asking today what airlines like the A300/310/F100/747SP or any other dwindling pax aircraft that long ago had its production terminated. The original MD90 had moderate interest in its day 25 years ago. But that interest would be quite difficult to resurrect this many years later, and without the existing support infrastructure of other MD t-tails already in place in current active fleets.


Yes - If you think about it. The 787, A220, A350 and A380 are the only aircraft currently in construction from the 2 major manufactures that haven't been rehashed from an earlier design. You could possibly include the 777 as well. However the basic aircraft was launched 29 years ago and in service for 24 years - have a look at the other models:

A320 - 32 years old

A330 (basic design over 25 years old and I believe they use the same fuselage design as the A300/A310 - that design is getting towards 50 years old)

737 - basic design over 50 years old

747 - basic design 50 years old

757/767 - basic design 40 years old and 757 out of production

The 737 also uses the same basic fuselage cross section as the 707 which is a 60 year old design. The 757 even though it was a new aircraft when launched - still uses the same cross section as the 707/727/737 I think

So from MD the same thing when the latest aircraft were launched:

MD11 - new aircraft but basically a modernised version of the DC10

MD90 and 717 - modernised versions of the MD80/DC9

I understand the aircraft in production today are much more modern, re-engined derivatives of an older design. However they still use the same design foundation. They're not new clean sheet designs as such.



Re 757 cross section, IIRC the upper lobe is the same cabin width of the 737/707 but the lower lobe is different, so it's not exactly the same cross section.

I also recall someone saying the sidewalls are different, or maybe the window belt line? 757's always seem a tad more spacious to me!
 
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Pudelhund
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:06 pm

Re: MD90 vs B737 Max

Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:39 pm

nycbjr wrote:
aussieben wrote:
DeltaMD95 wrote:
Asking what airlines like the MD90 today, is like asking today what airlines like the A300/310/F100/747SP or any other dwindling pax aircraft that long ago had its production terminated. The original MD90 had moderate interest in its day 25 years ago. But that interest would be quite difficult to resurrect this many years later, and without the existing support infrastructure of other MD t-tails already in place in current active fleets.


Yes - If you think about it. The 787, A220, A350 and A380 are the only aircraft currently in construction from the 2 major manufactures that haven't been rehashed from an earlier design. You could possibly include the 777 as well. However the basic aircraft was launched 29 years ago and in service for 24 years - have a look at the other models:

A320 - 32 years old

A330 (basic design over 25 years old and I believe they use the same fuselage design as the A300/A310 - that design is getting towards 50 years old)

737 - basic design over 50 years old

747 - basic design 50 years old

757/767 - basic design 40 years old and 757 out of production

The 737 also uses the same basic fuselage cross section as the 707 which is a 60 year old design. The 757 even though it was a new aircraft when launched - still uses the same cross section as the 707/727/737 I think

So from MD the same thing when the latest aircraft were launched:

MD11 - new aircraft but basically a modernised version of the DC10

MD90 and 717 - modernised versions of the MD80/DC9

I understand the aircraft in production today are much more modern, re-engined derivatives of an older design. However they still use the same design foundation. They're not new clean sheet designs as such.



Re 757 cross section, IIRC the upper lobe is the same cabin width of the 737/707 but the lower lobe is different, so it's not exactly the same cross section.

I also recall someone saying the sidewalls are different, or maybe the window belt line? 757's always seem a tad more spacious to me!


Even so, it isn’t a big difference. The 757 fuselage is narrower than the A320 family’s.

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