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rthrbeflying86
Topic Author
Posts: 241
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2003 12:31 am

AA MD-80 Avionics-related Diversion

Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:43 am

I was flying home yesterday on AA2266 from PVR to ORD, and I was wondering if any of you MD-80 buffs could give me some insight on why we were diverted. After departing PVR I noticed that the aircraft was alomst continuously turning back and forth, as if slaloming our course. Later, about an hour from ORD, the captain came on the intercom announcing that we'd been experiencing an avionics malfunction and would be diverting to DFW to accomplish the landing VFR, rather than battle developing weather at ORD.

We landed safely after a visual approach on RW17C in DFW an hour later, and upon exiting the aircraft, I briefly asked the pilot what we'd lost. He said something about "all three systems" being gone, and not even VOR or ILS capability were left. Also, our captain noted that he's never seen this happen in his 10,000 hours of MD-80 time. What does this mean happened? I assume it means the navigational displays were out, with their backup power fried as well?
I'd rather be flying.
 
bri2k1
Posts: 952
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2004 4:13 am

RE: AA MD-80 Avionics-related Diversion

Sun Aug 20, 2006 1:36 am

Quoting Rthrbeflying86 (Thread starter):
What does this mean happened?

It means he was surprised they actually got to take off. Most of the time, MX grounds the planes as soon as they land, so this was a red-letter day in his 10,000 hours of taxiing MD-80s from the gate to the holding area so MX could officially ground them.  Angry No other US airlines uses, as the majority of its fleet, planes not more than 5 years younger than me. I have experienced more maintenance-related delays on AA MD-80s than every other flight ever combined.
Position and hold
 
MX757
Posts: 495
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 5:38 pm

RE: AA MD-80 Avionics-related Diversion

Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:33 am

I remember a similar situation about 10 years ago on a Sun Jet MD-81 when I worked there. I was running an RTS, Return To Service, test one night on autopilots 1 & 2 when an DFGCS, Digital Flight Guidance Control System, circuit breaker popped and would not reset. With this one breaker out the aircraft lost both DFGCS, both autopilots, both VOR/ILS systems, and basically all other navigation aids. What was left was the artificial horizons,VGs, and the Compasses, DGs. This one popped CB grounded the aircraft.

It turned out that the autopilot aileron servo was bad and it was causing that one DFGCS CB to pop. What amazed me and the other techs I was working with that one lousy CB popping would cause all these problems. Both DFGCS systems have inputs from the navigation systems and outputs to control the autopilots. When they go you lose everything. It doesn't happen very often but when it does all hell can break lose. This is probably what happened to your aircraft while enroute to ORD.

It's been 10 years since this happened to me and I can't remember all the details but I hope this explanation helps.
Is it broke...? Yeah I'll fix it.
 
n844aa
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:38 am

RE: AA MD-80 Avionics-related Diversion

Tue Aug 22, 2006 10:41 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 1):
No other US airlines uses, as the majority of its fleet, planes not more than 5 years younger than me.

Wasn't the last MD-80 delivered in 1999, or thereabouts? They're not that old. I'm biased, because I think AA MD-80s are the most comfortable narrowbody aircraft flying these days, but seriously -- they're not that bad.

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 1):
I have experienced more maintenance-related delays on AA MD-80s than every other flight ever combined.

That so weird -- I've heard that exactly complaint elsewhere, but I can't remember the last time I had an MX delay on an AA MD-80, and based on probably four or five dozen segments in the last year or two. I've had more maintenance delays on "the youngest jet fleet in the industry" than on AA MD-80s. I guess the takeaway is that our sample sizes aren't exactly statistically significant.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
 
bri2k1
Posts: 952
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2004 4:13 am

RE: AA MD-80 Avionics-related Diversion

Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:24 am

I know, it's not a scientific study, but it's been my experience. Generators, hydraulic components, avionics, even a birdstrike on the inbound leg... Ok, I know that last one couldn't have really been avoided by anyone, but the fact remains, I have been screwed over at DFW more times because of AA MD-80 maintenance problems, and I only fly about 10% of my trips each year on AA (living in DEN, I fly UA most of the time). I rarely fly CO, but I haven't experienced any MX delays when I have.
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speedracer1407
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2004 4:19 pm

RE: AA MD-80 Avionics-related Diversion

Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:44 pm

Bri2K1,

I too am surprised by your experience with MD-80s. Though I also only fly AA about half the time, it still amounts to about a dozen legs or so a year. Not once have I experienced a delay of any kind (except the odd 30 minute WX/traffic related delay). Perhaps I've been extraordinarily fortunate. Still though, I too find the mD-80s to be by far the most comfortable narrowbodies flying anywhere in the US. That, combined with a lack of delays and AA's still-reasonable fairs, makes me wish I'd hopped on board their mileage program earlier instead of CO's, as I can no longer affoard thier fairs out of MCI and am consistently delayed, often for unkown reasons (Ok, it COULD be weather; but you know how fickle people can be when pacing around an airport late at night).

Anyway, I'd be interested to see some general maintenance stats on MD-80s. I always thought they were classic douglas tanks, but that could have come from their reputation for longevity, rather than reliablility.
Dassault Mercure: the plane that has Boeing and Airbus shaking in their boots.
 
bri2k1
Posts: 952
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2004 4:13 am

RE: AA MD-80 Avionics-related Diversion

Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:54 pm

Quoting N844AA (Reply 3):

Wasn't the last MD-80 delivered in 1999, or thereabouts? They're not that old.

The last one might have been, I really don't know. I usually check the date on the serial number plate inside the 1L door as I board, and both of them I flew on Friday were built in 1986.
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n844aa
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:38 am

RE: AA MD-80 Avionics-related Diversion

Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:25 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 6):
The last one might have been, I really don't know. I usually check the date on the serial number plate inside the 1L door as I board, and both of them I flew on Friday were built in 1986.

Yeah, I check it too. I love seeing "Douglas Aircraft Company" on there, though that doesn't exactly bolster my "they're not that old" argument. Besides, 1986? A mere pup. Half the age of NW's oldest DC-9.

The MD-80s are the big thing I miss since I moved my flying over to CO. Well, that, and I haven't yet tried to book any OnePass award tickets, which I hear can be treacherous. I never had any trouble finding AAdvantage awards.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune

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