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sho69607
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Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:35 am

The B717 got all new avionics and new efficient engines which make this plane still seem modern 20 years after it was first built. Why did MD choose to keep the same low-tech DC9 wing on this bird? I can't help but wonder if the 717 would've been more popular and in production much longer (even after Boeing took over) if the wing was updated allowing the 717 to fly at FL410 and compete with other airliners. I think the 717 is a great complement to the regional jet market, but in a sea full of CRJ's and ERJ's, a service ceiling of FL370 does not help its case at all.
 
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Moose135
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:56 am

I think redesigning, and re-certifying, a new wing would be much more expensive than new avionics and engines, and probably wouldn't have the necessary return on investment.
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:34 am

As I understand it, McD was chronically short on funds late in its history. Developing a new wing for a design that was already rather dated would probably not have been the best use of those limited funds.
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acjbbj
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:55 am

They had infinite debt at that point, and couldn't really do anything new...
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WIederling
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:06 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
As I understand it, McD was chronically short on funds late in its history. .


And this carried over into Boeing's make over into the B717 ?
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:57 pm

WIederling wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
As I understand it, McD was chronically short on funds late in its history. .


And this carried over into Boeing's make over into the B717 ?


In a way it did. Not that Boeing was short of funds, but they inherited the almost complete MD-95, a product developed while short of funds.

In an alternate history where McD was flush with cash, McD might have re-winged the DC-9 line, creating a true next-gen successor, and giving the ERJ and CRJ, as well as the smaller 737s and 32xs a run for their money.

In the real world, Boeing could have killed the MD-95 but they correctly assumed there was at least a limited market for the finished product. However, the market wasn't huge. So Boeing basically developed the MD-95 into the 717 without spending excessively, Perhaps a Boeing re-winged 717 would have sold more, but IMHO not so much more as to return the investment of a brand new wing.
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VSMUT
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:23 pm

From what I've read, it wasn't a bad wing to begin with.
Fuel was cheap, and on a short regional flight you barely get any time in cruise for an efficient wing to make a significant impact.

Reducing the overall weight of the aircraft would probably make a greater impact at the time.
 
TSS
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:41 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
In an alternate history where McD was flush with cash, McD might have re-winged the DC-9 line, creating a true next-gen successor, and giving the ERJ and CRJ, as well as the smaller 737s and 32xs a run for their money.

The time to have done this was for the introduction of the MD-80 series. As it was, they just used wing root extensions on the existing DC-9 wing to increase wingspan.

I should probably know this but don't: Does the 717 use the extended wings of the MD-80 series on a more-or-less DC-9 sized fuselage?

Starlionblue wrote:
In the real world, Boeing could have killed the MD-95 but they correctly assumed there was at least a limited market for the finished product. However, the market wasn't huge. So Boeing basically developed the MD-95 into the 717 without spending excessively, Perhaps a Boeing re-winged 717 would have sold more, but IMHO not so much more as to return the investment of a brand new wing.

I'm no aerodynamicist, so here I'm parroting the opinions of others*: I've read on here that the DC-9/MD-80 wing is remarkably efficient considering when it was designed and that it has no glaring deficiencies except for being undersized by modern standards. Had Douglas not done such a good job with the DC-9 wing right off the bat, they'd never have been able to load it down with ever-larger (and heavier) fuselages throughout the lifespan of the line and would have had no choice but to redesign it at some point.

*The topic of "Will M-D put winglets on MD-80s?" came up A LOT during the period when Boeing first started fitting winglets to 737s, and consistently the answer was "No, because the MD-80 has a much more efficient wing and doesn't need them", or at least that the MD-80 would reap a dramatically smaller benefit from winglets than 737s do.
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DiamondFlyer
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:54 pm

TSS wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
In an alternate history where McD was flush with cash, McD might have re-winged the DC-9 line, creating a true next-gen successor, and giving the ERJ and CRJ, as well as the smaller 737s and 32xs a run for their money.

The time to have done this was for the introduction of the MD-80 series. As it was, they just used wing root extensions on the existing DC-9 wing to increase wingspan.

I should probably know this but don't: Does the 717 use the extended wings of the MD-80 series on a more-or-less DC-9 sized fuselage?


It's more or less a DC-9-34 wing, with a few fairing improvements here and there. Also it's a MD90 vertical stab but with a DC-9 horizontal stab.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:11 pm

Winglets create new loads on the structure which may have prevented them on the 717.


Gf
 
LH707330
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:54 pm

I think the market saturation of 100-seaters was part of the issue back then. Recall that the F100, Avro RJ100, 737-500/600, and MD-95 were all vying for the same chunk of market share. Regarding the design itself, here's a good article about the differences: https://www.airlinercafe.com/page.php?id=396
 
VSMUT
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:39 am

LH707330 wrote:
I think the market saturation of 100-seaters was part of the issue back then. Recall that the F100, Avro RJ100, 737-500/600, and MD-95 were all vying for the same chunk of market share. Regarding the design itself, here's a good article about the differences: https://www.airlinercafe.com/page.php?id=396


The Fokker left production in 1997, the Avro RJ in 2001 and the 737-500 in 1999.

Far more significant would be the CRJ-900, which had its EIS in 2001, and the E-190 and E-195 which had EIS in 2005. Not only were they newer and more modern, but also significantly lighter. The CRJ-900 only weighs a third of a 717. Requirements for the number of FAs required further favoured the slightly smaller CRJ-900 and E-190, especially in the US.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:55 pm

The old expression, "putting lip stick on a pig" keeps drifting through my mind:)
 
LH707330
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:13 pm

VSMUT wrote:
LH707330 wrote:
I think the market saturation of 100-seaters was part of the issue back then. Recall that the F100, Avro RJ100, 737-500/600, and MD-95 were all vying for the same chunk of market share. Regarding the design itself, here's a good article about the differences: https://www.airlinercafe.com/page.php?id=396


The Fokker left production in 1997, the Avro RJ in 2001 and the 737-500 in 1999.

Far more significant would be the CRJ-900, which had its EIS in 2001, and the E-190 and E-195 which had EIS in 2005. Not only were they newer and more modern, but also significantly lighter. The CRJ-900 only weighs a third of a 717. Requirements for the number of FAs required further favoured the slightly smaller CRJ-900 and E-190, especially in the US.

Regarding the production end dates, you're right. What I should have said was that "most people who wanted 100 seats already had something."
 
VSMUT
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:39 pm

LH707330 wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
LH707330 wrote:
I think the market saturation of 100-seaters was part of the issue back then. Recall that the F100, Avro RJ100, 737-500/600, and MD-95 were all vying for the same chunk of market share. Regarding the design itself, here's a good article about the differences: https://www.airlinercafe.com/page.php?id=396


The Fokker left production in 1997, the Avro RJ in 2001 and the 737-500 in 1999.

Far more significant would be the CRJ-900, which had its EIS in 2001, and the E-190 and E-195 which had EIS in 2005. Not only were they newer and more modern, but also significantly lighter. The CRJ-900 only weighs a third of a 717. Requirements for the number of FAs required further favoured the slightly smaller CRJ-900 and E-190, especially in the US.

Regarding the production end dates, you're right. What I should have said was that "most people who wanted 100 seats already had something."


Doesn't sales success of the CRJ and E-jet contradict that though? 450+ CRJ-900s and 700+ E190 and E195s suggests that there was still a significant market that the 717 lost out on.
 
LH707330
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:28 am

VSMUT wrote:
LH707330 wrote:
VSMUT wrote:

The Fokker left production in 1997, the Avro RJ in 2001 and the 737-500 in 1999.

Far more significant would be the CRJ-900, which had its EIS in 2001, and the E-190 and E-195 which had EIS in 2005. Not only were they newer and more modern, but also significantly lighter. The CRJ-900 only weighs a third of a 717. Requirements for the number of FAs required further favoured the slightly smaller CRJ-900 and E-190, especially in the US.

Regarding the production end dates, you're right. What I should have said was that "most people who wanted 100 seats already had something."


Doesn't sales success of the CRJ and E-jet contradict that though? 450+ CRJ-900s and 700+ E190 and E195s suggests that there was still a significant market that the 717 lost out on.

To a degree, yes. I think there were a couple reasons the 95 didn't sell as well:

1. It was between the replacement cycle
2. Recession and 9/11 timing hit it harder than the E190/CRJ which EISed in the mid-aughts
3. Boeing wasn't as serious about selling it vs the 736

To your point though, those newer designs definitely killed it off by 2005.
 
DeltaMD95
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:13 am

More than anything, the lack of the three variant family that was originally envisioned by McDD is what killed the Boeing 717’s sales potential.
Did you know that a Boeing 717-200 is really a McDonnell Douglas MD95-30? ;-)
 
FlyMKG
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:31 am

sho69607 wrote:
The B717 got all new avionics and new efficient engines which make this plane still seem modern 20 years after it was first built. Why did MD choose to keep the same low-tech DC9 wing on this bird? I can't help but wonder if the 717 would've been more popular and in production much longer (even after Boeing took over) if the wing was updated allowing the 717 to fly at FL410 and compete with other airliners. I think the 717 is a great complement to the regional jet market, but in a sea full of CRJ's and ERJ's, a service ceiling of FL370 does not help its case at all.


The wing is not the limiting factor for the 717s service ceiling. The limiting factor is the maximum cabin differential. If the airplane was at FL410, the cabin altitude would exceed 10,000 feet. I agree the wing is an oldish design, but it could probably get up to FL410 if it needed to.

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Alias1024
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:31 pm

One thing to remember about the 717 development is the mission it was designed for was short haul. We're talking about an airplane that at full fuel tanks just barely has the fuel capacity for LGA-MIA with a FLL alternate. 2:30 in the air is all you're going to be planning for and really the concern was making an aircraft that could be efficient flying 1:00 turns all day long. The low hanging fruit was putting a high bypass engine on the airframe. The avionics were already mostly designed from the MD-11 development along with a lot of the maintenance diagnostics that would create savings versus older generation aircraft. The wing was simply too expensive to justify on a true short haul airplane.
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747Whale
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:59 pm

Because the DC9 can be found in cave drawings associated with the missing link and Lucy (cute couple) and have been found petrified alongside trilobites and Atari games, alterations to the wing were deemed too advanced for science and supportive of evolutionary theory, something deeply opposed by the most serious organized religions. In the end it came down to the simple admonition that "if God had meant that thing to fly, He would have given it winglets."

The Pterodactyls didn't need them, ergo the DC9 and it's later kin were fine without.
 
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:17 am

Alias1024 wrote:
One thing to remember about the 717 development is the mission it was designed for was short haul. We're talking about an airplane that at full fuel tanks just barely has the fuel capacity for LGA-MIA with a FLL alternate.


The majority of potential future-operators of the MD-95 wanted to retain the basic characteristics as a truly short haul-jetliner. Similarly-sized aircraft like the Boeing 737-600 or Airbus A318 both offered a far better performance for medium-range operations, Thus, these types were and are probably not the best-suited jetliners for short flights. However both aircraft-types were part of repective aircraft-families with all the associated advantages.

The MD-95/Boeing 717 were simply not designed to fly longer routes with full payload. However, the performance of this type was described as being above the performance-data of the Fokker 100 as well as the BAe 146-300/Avro RJ100 (more capacity for cargo, slightly higher passenger-capacity and so on). During the critical design-phase of the MD-95, the "regional jet-market" was probably not the category of 100+ seats. McDonnell Douglas earmarked a potential replacement-market for ageing Douglas DC-9s as well as Boeing 737-200s and these types were in most cases (if not all) operated by mainline-operators and not by regional subsidiaries. The lack of success to gain substantial sales due to the very large number of DC-9/MD-80-operators is another story and IMO not connected with the wing-design of the MD-95 but with other very important factors.

McDonnell Douglas invited important and loyal operators of Douglas-jetliners to share their wishes and thoughts about a "modernized DC-9". These operators brought other ideas and recommendations but I am not aware that these airlines strongly advised McDonnell Douglas to adapt a new wing-design. For the short haul missions envisaged, the MD-95-design was optimized and thus, there was not need to invest huge amounts of money into a new wing-design. Such investments should ideally result in operational benefits and this was not the case. The Boeing 717 was never intended to operated missions like Dublin - Tel Aviv or Stockholm to Gran Canaria.

There were studies to adapt an MD-80-style wing (and the rear galley door) to the Boeing 717-300.
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ELBOB
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Re: Why did Mcdonnell Douglas not update the B717/MD95 wing?

Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:16 am

DiamondFlyer wrote:
It's more or less a DC-9-34 wing, with a few fairing improvements here and there. Also it's a MD90 vertical stab but with a DC-9 horizontal stab.


Correct, and with the wing incidence increased to 1.5 degrees

The stretched MD-95-50 was to receive a tweaked MD-80 wing, at which point MDC were planning to redesign the MD-90's wing to give it longer range and would then consider retrofitting that back onto the 95-50. Typical MDC inefficiency but they were constrained by cashflow and needed revenue from one project to enable the next.

Trivium: BAe considered bidding for the MD-95 wing production

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