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Other titles in the Crowood Aviation Series

Aichi D3A 1/2 Val

Airco - The Aircr<lft Manuf<lcturing Company Avro Lancaster BAC One-Eleven Bell P-39 Airacobra Boeing 737 Boeing 747 Boeing 757 and 767 Boeing 13-17 Flying Fortress onsolidated 13-24 Liberator Douglas AD Skyraider Engl ish Electric Canberra

Engl ish Electric Ligh tn ing

Fairchild Republic A-IO Thunderbolt II Fokker Aircraft of World War One Hawker Hunter Hawker Hurricane Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Junkers Ju 88 Lockheed C-130 Hercules Lockheed F-I 04 Starfighter Luftwaffe - A Pictorial History McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk McDonnell Douglas F-IS Eagle Messerschmitt Bf 110 Messerschmitt Me 262 Nieuport Aircraft of World Wm One North American 13-25 Mitchell North American F-86 Sabre North American T-6 Panavia Tornado The Turret Fighters - Defiant and Roc Short Sunderland V-Bombers Vickers VC 10

Voughr F4U Corsair

Peter C. Smith Mick Davis Ken Delve Malcolm L. Hill Robert F. Dorr wirh Jerry C. Scum Malcolm L. Hill Martin W. Bowman Thomas Becher Marrin W. Bowman Marrin W. Bowman Peter C. Smirh Barry Jones Marrin W. Bowman Peter C. Smith Paul Leaman Barry Jones Peter Jacobs Peter C. Smith Ron Mackay Marrin W. Bowman Marrin W. Bowman Eric Mombeek Brad Elwmd Perer E. Davies and Tony Thornborough Ron Mackay David Baker Ray Sanger Jerry Scum Duncan Curtis Perer C. Smirh Andy Evans Alec Brew Ken Delve Barry Jones Lance Cole Marrin W. Bowman





'-',: --'_ AVIATION ~ SERIES Douglas Twinjets DC-9 MD-BO MD-90 and Boeing 717 ThoIllas

Douglas Twinjets

DC-9 MD-BO MD-90 and Boeing 717

ThoIllas Becher


The Crowood Press

First published in 2002 by The Crowood Press Ltd Ramsbury, M'lrlborough Wiltshire SN8 2HR

© Thom'ls Becher


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the pubIishers.


Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.



ISBN 186126446 I

Designed and typeset hy Focus Publishing,




TN 13 3AJ





Bookcrafr, M idsomer Norton



























6. MD-90



7. BOEING 717
























Appendix I: Deliveries by Year Appendix II: Operators




Appendix Ill: Accidents Index



This book would not havc been possiblc without thc support from Bocing's Long Beach facility, the former McDonnell Douglas. I wish to thank Pat McGinnis, who opened up its mesmcrizing archivcs for vital information and photographs, and John Thom and Warren Lamb of Boeing's public relations office, for a tour of the facility, photographs and othcr much-needed support. I also thank the retircd McDonnell Douglas enginccrs interviewcd for this book for taking time to wax nostalgic. I also thank the many photo- graphers who, sharing my similar passion for commcrcial aviation, were all too willing to supply photographs from all over the world. Above all, I wish to thank my wife, Amy, for her continual love, support and understanding.

Among the most common and recognizable commercial aircraft, the Douglas Aircraft Company DC-9 was developed to accommodate the explosive growth in air travel during the boom of the jet age in the 1960s. Designed to be rugged, reliable and easy to maintain, the DC-9 introduced jet service to hundreds of communities in North America, Europe and elsewhere around the world, making air travel accessible and affordable for millions of air travellers and enabling airlines to open new routes and increase service. Combining all models in the family over nearly forty years of development, the DC-9 and its successors - the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series, the MD-90 and Boeing 717 - remain the second-most popular commercial jet ever built, after the Boeing 737. No other airliner in history has undergone more evolution and refinement than th is prol ific and ubiquitous series, starting with the seventy-seat DC-9-10 model in the 1960s. Developed as a short-range twinjet aircraft to complement Douglas's much larger four-engine DC-8, the DC-9 was launched on 8 April 1963. This all-new design featured rear fuselage-mounted engines, a T-shaped tail and moderately swept wings. Although not the first twin- engine commercial jet - that distinction goes to the Sud-Est (later Aerospatiale) Caravelle - or even the first twin-engine jet with the horizontal stabilizer attached to the top of the tail- the British Aircraft Corporation BAC I-II has that honour- the DC-9 was much more successful, a model that made money for airlines,


appealed to passengers, and established a formidable safety record. The DC-9, a small jetliner designed specifically for short, frequent flights, brought the Jet revolution to towns and cities that had, until then, only been served by piston-powered aircraft. The DC-9 helped to spawn a steady growth in air travel that, in turn, created giant airlines out of one-time local operations. At the same time, the DC-9 contributed to the economic growth of communities that were able to use the lure of jet service to attract new industries or encourage expansion of existing ones. The DC-9 family consists of four distinct types: the original DC-9 line, entailing five separate models, starting with the initial DC-9-10; the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series, also with five unique models; the McDonnell Douglas MD-90; and the Boeing 717. This volume describes each in detail. Although now out of production, the DC-9/MD-80/MD-90 series today remains an industry workhorse, a tradition its latest offshoot, the Boeing 717, hopes to continue for decades to come as the only member of the aircraft family still being produced. With its sporty look, unusual two-by- three seating arrangement, and reputation for ruggedness and dependability, the DC- 9, along with its successors, remains a favouri te among operators, passengers, pilots and airports. Even with strict engine-noise regulations around the world, hundreds of older DC-9s, including some of the first off the assembly lines, have been fitted with noise-reducing hush kits, ensuring that even the first members



1963: Decision made to build the DC-9 1965: 25 February - First flight of the DC-9-1 0: 8 December - DC-9- 10 enters service 1966: 1 August - First flight of the DC-9 Series 30 1967: 28 November - First flight of the DC-9 Series 40 1968: 31 May - First flight of C-9A: 10 August - First C-9A accepted by US Air Force: 18 September- First flight of DC-9 Series 20 1973: 7 February - First flight of C-9B July - DC-9 Series 50 launched. 1974: 17 December - First flight of DC-9 Series 50 1977 December - DC-9 Series 80 announced 1979: DC-9-81 enters flight testing 1980: 12 September- DC-9-81 delivered to Swissair 1982: 28 October - Last OC-9 (C-9B) delivered 1983: DC-9-80 renamed MD-80 1984: 17 December - First flight of MD-83 1986: 4 December - First flight of MD-87 1987: 15 August - First flight of MD-88 1989: November - MD-90 production go-ahead 1990: MD-80 series assembled in China 1991: MD-95 announced at Paris Air Show 1993: 22 February - First flight of MD-90 1994: 16 November - MD-90 certified 1995: 1April- MD-90 enters service; MD-95 launched 1996: MD-90 enters service in Europe with SAS 1997: Boeing acquires McDonnell Douglas; Boeing announces end of MD-80 and MD-90 lines 1998: MD-95 renamed 717: 2 September- first flight of 717 1999: 12 October-717 enters service: Final MD-80 series (MD-83 model) delivered to TWA 2000: Saudi Arabian Airlines takes delivery of final


2001: Long Beach facility scaled back: 717 deliveries reach 100

of this venerable family will continue to soldier on around the world well into the twenty-first century, continuing a storied aviation tradition.


Douglas History

Early Pioneer

The DC-9 was the second-to-last member of a proud American institution, the Douglas Aircraft Company. From the tiny DC-I to the widebody DC-tO, Douglas huilt a heritage of quality aircraft until its amalgamation with arch-rival Boeing in 1997. The story of the DC-9 cannot be adequately told without exploring some of the history that made Douglas synonymous with both commercial and military aviation. Tired of cold winters and with a nagging desi re to bu i1d h is own aeroplanes, twenty-eight-year-old Donald Wills Douglas arrived in sunny Los Angeles (for good) in 1920. He brought with him his family, a few personal belongings, $600 and a letter of introduction to some of California's wealthy investors.

The one-time Navy cadet and graduate engineer was convinced that California- with its mild climate, open spaces and energetic immigrants from throughout the United States - would be the next centre of aviation. Born the second son to William and Dorothy Douglas of Brooklyn, New York, Donald Douglas was raised in the comfort of the upper middle class. He had always expressed an interest in the sea, so it was no surprise to his family when Donald followed his younger brother to begin his university education at the US Naval Academy. However, he resigned from the academy after his sophomore year to enter the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With his love for the sea supplanted by an affinity for flight, Douglas completed a four-year aeronautical programme in only two years. Upon graduation, he landed a

job at MIT as an aeronautical engineer. In August 1915, just twelve years after the Wright Brothers' first flight on the dunes of the North Carolina shore, Douglas travelled to Los Angeles to interview as the chief engineer at the Glenn L. Martin Company, one of California's leading aircraft manufacturers. Indeed, at just twenty-three years old, Douglas became the company's youngest chief engineer. A year later, with World War 1 spreading in Europe, Douglas was summoned to Washington, D.C., where


civilian aeronautical engineer for the Army Signal Corps' aviation section. Douglas left the Martin Company for the post, but returned a few months later to be assigned the task of designing an attack




posi tion


ch ief

MD aD-series aircraft silhouetted. Boeing

assigned the task of designing an attack was offered the posi tion of ch ief MD



DOUGLAS HISTORY The DC-9 in silhouette. Boeing hadn't become the First to span a continent, Davis

The DC-9 in silhouette. Boeing

hadn't become the First to span a continent, Davis sold his interest in the company - unaware that Douglas had stumbled upon a recipe For success. Within two months of the Cloudster's First flight, Douglas received his First contract From the US Navy For three torpedo bombers, wh ich Douglas designated DT-ls. In the two years that Followed, the Navy increased its order to thirty-eight of the aircraFt manuFactured under the designation DT-2. A total of ninety-three of the aircraFt were built, garnering the attention of the Post Office and the Army. Douglas used many of the design principles in the Cloudster and DT-I to build the Douglas World Cruiser (DWC), a cargo version called the C-l,

aircraFt For the US Army that would outperform Foreign Fighters in the nascent Fighter-aircraFt industry. From Martin's new Facility in leveland, Ohio, Douglas set out to work on what would become one of the most important military projects of the time - the Martin Bomber (MB-I). AFter its First flight on 17 August 1917, the Army ordered nine of the bombers. With his First aircraFt in service, Douglas decided to try h is luck as a solo engi neer and businessman. In March 1920, the aeronautical entrepreneur packed up his Family to return to Southern CaliFornia. He set up an office in the back room of a barbershop. Two months aFter searching For his Fi rst customer, Douglas met a wealthy businessman named David Davis. Davis, with $40,000 to invest, wanted to sponsor the First-ever non-stop, coast-to- coast flight. Douglas took on the challenge by Forming the Davis-Douglas ompany. The upstart moved into a 10Ft above a planing mill, and staFFed the new company with six associates Douglas had worked with at Martin. Six months later, the company unveiled its First aircraFt - the Cloudster. Although the model wasn't the First aircraFt to fly across the continental United States non- stop, Douglas noted with pride that it was the First aeropl::lIle in history to ::lirliFt a useFul load exceeding its own empty weight. Disappointed that their plane

Donald Douglas with his DT-1 in early 1920s. Boeing

plane Donald Douglas with his DT-1 in early 1920s. Boeing 8 DOUGLAS HISTORY III observation aircraFt



III observation aircraFt called the 0-2 ,lIld a mail plane, the M-l. The World ( ruiser was the First aeroplane to fly Iround the world. On 17 March 1924, "1m DWCs leFt Clover Field in Santa Monica, CaliFornia, en route to Seattle, Washington, to start the 27,553-mile (4 ),452km) journey. With stops in such lilies as Tokyo, Calcutta, Vienna and New York, two of the original Four [)WCs returned on 23 September. The ,uccess of the flight helped to propel [)ouglas to the Forefront of the aviation IIldustry. Orders For various DWC \l'rsions poured in, and by 1925 [)ouglas was producing Four aircraFt a week From a converted movie studio plant in Los Angeles.

Breakthrough Aircraft

With additional designs that included an amphibious aircraFt and more bombers, Douglas later opened a Factory at Clover Field in Santa Monica, CaliFornia, manuFacturing bombers For the US military, which included the B-7, B-18, B- 19 and B-23. In 1932, with a nation still struggling through the Depression, Douglas was actively seeking commercial customers. H is efForts paid off when a young airline, Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA), expressed interest in acquiring ten new tri-motor transports. It was with this project that Douglas kicked off the First of what would become a hugely successFul line of commercial

The DC-9-10 was the first aircraft in a family that would go on to become the second-most popular series of modern commercial airliners. Boeing

aircraFt - the DC-I (Douglas ommercial, First). Production of the twin-engine DC-l began in June 1933, with delivery to TWA by December. Though over-budget, it became immediately clear that the DC-I had set a new standard For airline saFety and comFort. The passenger cabin was insulated From engine noise through rubber-mounted seats and noise-absorbing carpet. The plane also had a galley and lavatory. Although only one was ever produced, TWA was pleased with the creation and awarded Douglas a contract to build twenty-Five larger versions - designated the DC-2 - beginning a history between Douglas and TWA that would continue until the very end of the century. Next, Douglas improved the DC-2 over its prototype predecessor. It was two Feet

until the very end of the century. Next, Douglas improved the DC-2 over its prototype predecessor.


DOUGLAS HISTORY The DC-3, still in service around the world today, is the most popular
The DC-3, still in service around the world today, is
the most popular airliner ever made. Boeing
(6Icm) longer, to accommodate two
additional passengers. The DC-2 was a hit
with the flying public. TWA employed the
aeroplane on its nineteen-hour
Newark-Los Angeles route, which made
coast-to-coast travel possible overnight for
the first time. The DC-2 soon became the
aircraft of choice for many of the world's
largest airlines, including Eastern, Braniff,
Western, American, Pan Am and KLM. A
total of 156 DC-2s were produced.
At the insistence of American Airlines,
which would become one of its biggest
customers, Douglas began work on a new
aircraft similar in appearance to the DC-2.
Called the Douglas Skysleeper Transport
(DST), the plane was divided into six
compartments, each with two large seats
that could sl ide together to form a bed. The
plane also featured a honeymoon suite
equipped with its own bathroom - an
unheard-of concept at the time. American
took delivery of the DST - later known as
the DC-3 -on 7 June 1936.

The DC-2 made coast-to-coast travel possible in the United States. Boeing



S t a t e s . B o e i n g 70 DOUGLAS HISTORY
S t a t e s . B o e i n g 70 DOUGLAS HISTORY
S t a t e s . B o e i n g 70 DOUGLAS HISTORY
S t a t e s . B o e i n g 70 DOUGLAS HISTORY

The DC-l was the first in a long line of Douglas models. Just one was produced for service with TWA, a long-time Douglas customer. Boeing



The DC-4 was Douglas's first four-engine model. Boeing

The DC-4 was Douglas's first four-engine model. Boeing Just twelve of the DC-5 models were built.

Just twelve of the DC-5 models were built. Boeing



of the DC-5 models were built. Boeing 72 DOUGLAS HISTORY The DC-6 was a faster and

The DC-6 was a faster and longer-range version of the DC-4. Boeing

was a faster and longer-range version of the DC-4. Boeing Douglas's final propeller-driven airliner was the

Douglas's final propeller-driven airliner was the DC-7. which could easily fly non-stop across the United States. Boeing



DOUGLAS HISTORY Originally conceived as a DC-2 derivative, the DC-3 featured a wider fuselage, larger wing

Originally conceived as a DC-2 derivative, the DC-3 featured a wider fuselage, larger wing and lower operating costs. As it turned out, the DC-3 revolutionized the airline industry. As one of the most successful aircraft ever built, the DC-3 made everyday air transportation possible. By 1939, more than 90 per cent of US airlines were flying DC-2s or DC-3s. The DC-3 also appealed to one of Douglas's most reliable customers, the US Army, which bought aircraft converted to suit its transport needs, including the C-32, -33 and C-39. Eventually 10,300 DC-3s and its military equiv<llents were produced, with dozens still operating around the world even today. With World War II approaching, Douglas scouted additional locations to expand his operations. The property where the DC-9 f<lmily would be produced two decades l<lter began as the winds of war blew half a world away. On 22 November 1940, Douglas broke ground on its newest assembly plant in Long Beach, Californi<l. With existing facilities in nearby Santa Monica and EI Segundo, the 200-acre facility adjacent to

Daugherty Field, the city's municipal

airport, was built to produce aeroplanes for the US war effort. For its time, the new plant W<lS a


completely air-conditioned factory also featured full artificial lighting. The factory was designed to accommodate thousands of employees - up to 43,000 men and women worked there, twenty- four hours a day, between 1941 and 1944. The windowless eleven-building rlant was protected from be ing spotted by enemy aircraft. Most of its entryways and receiving bays were <lccessible only through double, lightrroof doors. From the outside, it was camouflaged. Below ground it offered underground storage ~lIld bombproof shelters. The rlant was funded by Douglas Aircraft, but the US government agreed to repay the company over sixty months. Aircraft production started on 5 June 1941, just seven months

technological marvel.· The

after plant construction had begun. During that time, Southern California experienced explosive growth. Thousands of potential workers settled into the area, giving the commerci~d aircr<lft industry a


Above: The DC-8 was Douglas's first jet-powered airliner. The DC-8-61 was an intercontinental version. Note the same cockpit shape as the DC-9. Boeing

broad supply of skilled workers. The first aircraft produced in the new facility was the C-47 Skytrain, a modified DC-3 that would become the standard transport during the war. The C-47 differed from the DC-3 in that its carpeting and soundproofing were removed, heavy landing gear was added and its cargo door was enlarged. The Royal Air Force received a large number of C-47s under the designation Dakota, and the Soviet Union produced the aircraft under its deSignation, the Li-2. C-47s, one of the four most important pieces of Allied military equipment, would go on to playa critical initial role in the 1948 Berlin Airlift, delivering food, medicine and fuel to those blockaded in West Berlin. From 1941 to 1945, the Long Beach plant produced an amazing 4,285 C-47s, 3,000 B-l7 bombers (under license from historic rival Boeing), 999 Douglas A-20 bombers, and other aircraft for a total of


'1,441 aeroplanes. At its peak the Long I\l',llh facility was producing 108 aircraft I'l'r week. Production dropped with the llld of World War II in 1945. A total of$2 hillion in backorders vanished overnight, IIld the company laid off 99,000 l'lllployees nationwide. But like Boeing,

I he Douglas company

used the war effort

III further develop the technology needed Illr future commercial aircraft that later Il'lluld be bu iI tin Long Beach. The next Douglas aircraft, the DC-4, 1l',1S a four-engine evolution of the DC-3 1hat could carry forty-four passengers.

Roughly three times the size of the DC-3, It was used by the military during World

The DC-8-62 caught on film on its first flight. Boeing

War II, delaying its use in commercial service until 1946. More than 300 DC-4s were built. The next aircraft in the line was the DC-5, a twin-engine aircraft that used many DC-3 systems, although only twelve were built. Derived as an enhanced version of the DC-4, the DC-6 was a faster, longer-range aircraft. The improved DC-6B offered even more power, and increased passenger capacity from fifty-eight to eighty-nine with top speeds of 380mph (611ktn/h). The final Douglas propeller-driven transport was the DC-7, introduced in May 1953. It was the first commercial transport able to fly non-stop westbound

across the United States against prevailing winds. The DC-7C version, dubbed the 'Seven Seas,' could fly 110 passengers. Douglas built 338 DC-7s, delivering the last one in 1958.

Jet Age

built 338 DC-7s, delivering the last one in 1958. Jet Age Thanks to the DC- 3,

Thanks to the DC- 3, DC-4 and DC-6, Douglas was, by the mid-1950s, the most popular manufacturer with the world's airlines. But with development of the first widely used jet-powered airliner, the Boeing 707, Douglas grew concerned. As production in Long Beach focused primarily on building military transports, competition in the r<lridly growing post-

in Long Beach focused primarily on building military transports, competition in the r<lridly growing post- 15
in Long Beach focused primarily on building military transports, competition in the r<lridly growing post- 15



DOUGLAS HISTORY James Smith McDonnell merged his company with Douglas in 1967. Boeing war commercial aviation

James Smith McDonnell merged his company with Douglas in 1967. Boeing

war commercial aviation industry prompted Douglas to design a commercial jet transport to succeed its DC-7. Th is historic model, the DC-8, launched Douglas into the jet age in the late 1950s, transforming Long Beach into a world centre for commercial aviation. On 2 April 1956, the company broke ground on a DC-8 assem bl y faci! ity adjacent to its existing Long Beach plant. The one-million-square foot (92,903 square metre) facility, completed in just thirteen months, made it possible to produce commercial and military planes si mul taneousl y. Douglas proceeded cautiously with the DC-8. While the company was rressured by the widespread appea I of the 707, Douglas wanted to avoid costly and fatal mistakes that had grounded Britain's de Havilland Comet, the world's first commercial jet transport, in 1954. Three years after the DC-8 programme was launched, the first version, the DC-8-10, made its maiden flight from Long Beach on 30 May 1958. Having met the milestone of jet technology, Donald Douglas announced his retirement on 28 October 1957. His son, Donald Douglas Jr, succeeded him as president of the Douglas Aircraft ompany. Douglas Senior remained as chairman of the board, leaving his son with day-to-day operations.

The first DC-8-tO entered service with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines on 18 September 1959. It closed out the decade with a multitude of orders from some of the world's largest airlines, setting the stage for a family of Douglas jet aircraft. Soon thereafter, the DC-8 line continued to evolve, with the faster Series 20, and two intercontinental versions, the Series 30 and 40. In 1960, Douglas introduced the DC-8 Series 50, which used turbofan instead of turbojet engines to reduce fuel consumption, giving the aircraft greater rflnge than any of its predecessors. It a Iso was the fi rst DC-8 to be offered as a freigh ter. Soon after, Douglas began a missile and space business to take advantage of the space race, and built a new headquarters building in Long Beach. It was during this time that a new product line - the DC-9, which would go on to become the most successful Douglas transport since the DC-3 - was quietly being developed and was soon launched. By the mid- J 960s, production in Long Beach had risen to its highest level since World War II. In addition to a handful of military trainers, the plant also was producing the latest DC-8 series, the Super Sixty. The DC-8-61 had the same nose and tail as earlier DC-8s, but its fuselage was extended by nearly thirty- seven feet (I 1.3 m) . Two other versions, the DC-8-62 and DC-8-63, followed. The final version, the DC-8-70, debuted in the early 1970s.


Douglas quickly became the victim of its own success. The company could not produce stretched DC-8 and new DC-9 models fast enough to meet delivery guarantees. Start-up and production costs skyrocketed, and Douglas was unable to secure additional working capital. Facing bankruptcy at the end of 1966, Douglas sought to merge with one of its rivals. North American Aviation, General Dynamics, Garrett Industries and McDonnell Aircraft Company were invited to submit merger proposals. On 13 January 1967, James Smith McDonnell agreed to pay $68.7 million for Douglas, and Douglas reluctantly accepted the offer from the McDonnell Company, which had been rebuffed in a bid to merge with Douglas four years earl ier. The merger


took effect on 28 April 1967, ensuring that the DC-9 family would continue with new funding and fresh marketing. The new company, McDonnell Douglas orporation, brought together the aviation-pioneer spirit of Donald Douglas and McDonnell, whose famous products included the F-4 Phantom II fighter. James McDonnell immediately assumed the duties as the new corporation's

chairman and CEO. Donald Douglas Sr was named honorary board chairman while his son remained preSident of the Douglas Aircraft unit until 1968. Douglas Sen ior died on 1 February 1981, at the age of eighty-eight. The transfusion of McDonnell cash saved Douglas from bankruptcy and enabled it to continue a line of respected aircraft. With the merger, Douglas advanced into the widebody commercial field with the DC-IO, a three-engine giant that would compete with Boeing's 747 and Lockheed's LlOll in the long-range market. The DC-tO's first flight, on 29 August 1970, helped to boost production at the plant, which was experiencing the

DC-l 0 succeeded

effects of recession. The

in bringing Douglas to parity with Boeing in the commercial airliner industry. McDonnell Douglas survived for two decades, through economic downturns that reduced demand for new airliners,

Donald Douglas Sr's contribution to aviation included the introduction of the DC-9 in 1965. Boeing

OCII:; • "- OC_




The DC-9 entered service after the Caravelle, the world's first twin-engine jet airliner. For a while Douglas offered to market the aircraft in the United States,

Ralph Olson, Flying Images Worldwide

in the United States, Ralph Olson, Flying Images Worldwide The BAC 1-11, which made its debut

The BAC 1-11, which made its debut before the similar-sized DC-9, was not nearly as successful as the Douglas model. Ralph Olson, Flying Images Worldwide



DOUGLAS HISTORY A DC-8 (foreground) is assembled alongside a row of DC-9s. Boeing. and cuts in

A DC-8 (foreground) is assembled alongside a row of DC-9s. Boeing.

and cuts in defence spending that limited production of its military models. All manufacturing was consolidated to Long Beach to save money, and layoffs were common. The company continued to flounder, despite building the very successful MD-80 family, until a fierce competitor it strove so much to match for decades ultimately swallowed it up. On I August 1997, Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas in a $16 billion deal that created the world's largest aerospace company, with customers in 145 countries. The acquisition turned Boeing,

the world's leading manufacturer of

commercial jets, into the biggest maker of military aircraft as well. Boeing clearly saw value in McDonnell Douglas's lucrative military products, but the Seattle company already had its own full range of commercial aircraft. At the time McDonnell Douglas was producing just


and the MD-90 - as well as the MD-11, a DC-10 successor. Few in the industry were surprised, then, when Boeing announced it would shut down production of all McDonnell Douglas models.

DC-9 derivatives - the M D-80 family


The final jetliner with a Douglas name, an M D-11 freighter, was delivered to Lufthansa Cargo on 22 February 200 I. The last mem bel' of the DC-9 line bearing the Douglas name, an MD-90 for Saudi Arabian Airlines, was delivered in February 2000, the 2,287th twinjet produced by Douglas and McDonnell Douglas. While the DC-9 family continues in the shape of the 717-200, it now bears the Boeing name, an attribute the company hopes will enable the family to survive for years to come.


Design and DevelopDlent


fhe DC-9 was conceived and designed as .1 highly reliable, economical, short-range, high-performance jet transport, with the ilhility to operate from runways as short as 5,000ft (l,520m), to bring the speed, Cllmfort and rei iabil ity of jet transportation to hundreds of (ommunities previously served only by propeller-driven airliners. Timed to meet the needs of airlines for a small jet, the DC-9 made its debut in 1965, just as the market for jet travel was increasing hetween 6 and 8 per cent a year. Douglas initiated preliminary studies of the DC-9 in the late 1950s. Unlike the long-range DC-8, the DC-9 was envisioned to operate on routes between 100 miles (l60km) and 1,500 miles (2,400km) in length, and where traffic was sometimes sparse. At the time, 60 per cent of all air travel was over distances of

500 miles (800km) or less, so the DC-9 was seen as an opportunity to bring new standards of service to this segment of air travel. One important consideration was runway length. Most airports were still adapted to the needs of the piston aircraft and lacked the longer runways necessary for jets. Short field performance was therefore essential if the maximum potential of this new aircraft was to be

rea Iized. Perhaps Donald Douglas's vision for such an aircraft was articulated as early as ] 955, when he told an audience in San Francisco: 'I have great faith in aviation

and the future

the aeroplane will come

into its own. It will transport most everyone and everything from every place to everywhere.' A decade later, the DC-9 would help to bring that vision to life. Entering the marketplace after the

larger Caravelle and similar-sized BAC I- ll, but before the Boeing 737-100, the DC-9 helped to define the short-range jet market, one that would become, for many airlines, the backbone of their business. 'It was clear that shorter routes were needed and that smaller airports really were anxious to have jet service. We perceived that,' says Roger Schaufele, the former project director for the DC-9 who retired as vice president of engineering for Douglas Aircraft. 'While there were competing designs, I think when our marketing guys looked at it, there was an opportunity to replace piston-powered aircraft, and the traffic growth was projected to sky-rocket.' By the early 1960s, design studies in Long Beach began to focus on a short- range stablemate for the high-capacity DC-8 known as Model 2011. The

Douglas originally conceived the DC-9 as a four-engine stablemate to the larger DC-8. Boeing

known as Model 2011. The Douglas originally conceived the DC-9 as a four-engine stablemate to the



Soecifications - DC-9


OC-9-10 and OC-9-20: Two 12,250lb (5,500kgl Pratt & Whitney JT80 (various models) OC-9-30 and OC-9-40: Two 14,500-15,OOOlb (6,500-6,800kg) Pratt & Whitney JT80 (various models) OC-9-50: Two 15,500-16,OOOlb (7,OOO-7,250kg) Pratt & Whitney JT80 (various models)


Empty 49,900lb (22,635 kg) (Series 1D); 52,880lb (23,985 kg) (Series 20); 57 ,190lb (25,940 kg) (Series 3D); 58,670lb (26,612 kgl (Series 40); 61,880lb (28,068 kgl {Series 501 Gross 90,7001b (41,177 kg) (Series 10); 98,OOOIb (44,450 kg) (Series 201; 11 O,OOOlb (49,940 kgl (Series 30); 114,OOOIb (51,756 kgllSeries 40); 121,OOOIb (54,885 kg) (Series 501 Maximum landing 93,4001b 142,365 kg) (Series 10 and 20); 11O,OOOIb (49,895 kg) ISeries 3D, 40,50)


Length 104ft 5in (31.82m) ISeries 10 and 201; 119ft 3.5in 136.37m) (Series 30); 125ft 7in (3828m) (Series 401; 133ft 7in (40.72m) (Series 50): height 27ft 6in (8.38mlIAIl Series). Wingspan 89ft 5in (27.25m) ISeries 10); 93ft 5in (28.47ml (Series 20, 3D, 40 and 50): wing area 934sq ft (86.8sq m) (Series 10); l,OOOsq ft 193sq m) (Series 20, 3D, 40 and 501


Cruising speed 557-570mph (898-917km/h); landing speed 155mph (250km/h) Ceiling 35,OOOft (10,675m) Range 1,265 miles (2,036 km) (Series 10); 1,848 miles (2,974 km) (Series 20); 1,635 miles (2,631 kml (Series 30); 1,685 miles (2)12 km) {Series 401; 1,635 miles (2,631 km) (Series


Takeoff 5,1 OOft (l,555m) (Series 101; 5,1 OOft (l,555mllSeries 20); 5,530ft (l,685m) (Series 301; 6,850ft (2,088m) ISeries 40 and 501 Landing 4,450ft (1 ,355m) (Series 10); 4,450ft 11,355m) (Series 20); 4,680ft (1,425m) (Series 30;)4,720ft (1,440m) (Series 40); 4,880ft (1,485m) (Series 50)

Passenger capacity:

70-90 (Series 10 and 20); 105-115 (Series 30); 125 (Series 40); 139 (Series 50)


Width 10ft 1in (3.07m); height 6ft 9in (2.06m)

Fuel capacity:

3,693USgall13,9781) (Series 10); 3,679USga1113,9251) ISeries 20, 30 and 40); 4,259USgai (16,1221) ISeries 50)

ISeries 20, 30 and 40); 4,259USgai (16,1221) ISeries 50) Model 2086 was close to the final

Model 2086 was close to the final DC-9 design. Boeing


company assigned a top management team to direct DC-9 design, development and production. Many employees who worked on the programme had backgrounds that spanned the entire

Douglas fam il y line,

DC-8. Schaufele says Douglas's expenses on the DC-8 programme took its toll on company finances, and the DC-9 was developed with a meagre budget. 'We had a lot of experience. There was a lot of knowing how to do things - keeping everything simple, safe and reliable,' he says. 'If we knew something worked, we did it. We learned a lot of lessons from the DC-8, and we even used hardware from the DC-8 programme.' Throughout its inception and early

design, the DC-9 evolved from four strategic fundamentals: simplicity, reliability, maintainability and economics. Among the primary concerns of Douglas engineers was to design and build a reliable, rugged aircraft that was easy to operate, one that could fly many times every day, and one that would be easier to maintain than the propeller- driven aircraft of the past or even the DC-

from the DC- 3 to the


even the DC- from the DC- 3 to the DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT H, whose new technology

H, whose new technology was a bear to manage. This philosophy would lead to an aircraft that could spend more time in the air making money than idle on the ground. Before the DC-9's final design evolved, Douglas stud ied a four-engi ne DC-9 concept, essentially a shortened version of the DC-8 that was seen as being compatible with existing DC-8 fleets. But intensive market studies led Douglas to extend the time-scale for the launch of this new type, and to initiate a wholly original design rather than attempt to use DC-8 components. Engineers quickly determined two engines would reduce both operating costs and complexity - key principles behind the ultimate success of the model. 'The fewer engines you could get away with the better,' Schaufele says. With two engines instead of four, the DC-9 could also be more competitive. 'The BAC I-II was the first to announce an aircraft in this market size and was the

Douglas experimented with an underwing engine design before determining that a fuselage-mounted design would be the most effective for the short-range DC-9. Boeing

first in service,' Schaufele recalls. 'The people at Douglas felt there was enough business for two competing types even though we were after the same niche. It was our intent to design a better aeroplane.' Before offering its own aircraft, Douglas offered to market the Caravelle in the United States as a way to enter the new craze for short-range jets. Strapped for cash to develop the DC-9, Douglas formed an alliance with Sud Aviation, promising to market the aircraft in the United States and build it in Long Beach if demand warranted. Douglas even considered a new Caravelle design that would offer a new fuselage, engines and wing. But the partnership broke up when demand for the Caravelle fell short. Douglas managed to lease only a small number of Caravelles to TWA under this


arrangement - and that contract was cancelled after two years. The Caravelle had limited success in the United States despite its popularity in Europe. United Airlines was the only major US operator, taking delivery of twenty of the type, beginning in 1961. While the partnership may have fallen through, the Caravelle, with its two rear- mourned engines, greatly influenced the DC-9's design. Another influence was the DC-9's earliest competitor. British Aerospace announced the sixty-five- passenger BAC I-lIon 9 May 1961, two years before the DC-9 programme was officially announced. The BAC 1-11 was the first twinJet aircraft designed specifically for short-haul traffic, a niche the DC-9 would later fill with considerably more success. Except for the Caravelle, there was little competition for


the BAC 1-11. Indeed, a wave of early US orders for the type - including thirty planes for American Airlines - convinced BAC that it had a money-making successor to the turboprop Viscount, the only British transport with any wide-scale success in the large and fast-growing US market. The Soviet Tupolev Tu-134, with similar capacity to the DC-9-10, was also influenced by the Caravelle. With aT-tail

and fuselage-mounted engines, the Tu- 134 made its first flight on 29 July 1963, one month before the BAC I-II and a full two years before the DC-9. But because it never operated beyond Soviet- bloc nations, it was never a competitive threat to the DC-9. Douglas had plans of its own in this market. Headed by an engineering team under the direction of John Brizendine, who would go on to become Douglas's president, the first tangible evidence of the DC-9's final design dates back to 1962, when design study data was released and a full-scale mock-up was built in Long Beach named Model 2086. The aircraft's specification was frozen in 1963. Now named the DC-9, it quickly caught the attention of Delta Air Lines, a DC-8 customer. With interest from a leading airline - but without a single contract in hand - Douglas formally announced the DC-9 in April 1963, a bold step that, because of the company's tenuous financial position, likely made it possible for Douglas to remain in the commercial airliner business. Delta immediately signed up for fifteen DC-9s, setting the stage for a new model that would become Douglas's second jet transport, the first American-made commercial twinjet and, most notably, the best-selling commercial twinjet family for more than three decades. 'We were behind BAC, so trying to get

a commitment from an airline was tough,' Schaufele recalls. 'Airlines knew BAC was committed to its aeroplane. We had not committed.' But with Delta's nod of approval, other airlines began to sign up for the new model, including Air Canada and two US regional carriers, Allegheny and Bonanza. 'There was a lot

of interest from a couple of airlines, but

The DC-9-1D, shown in this company illustration, was envisioned as opening jet service to communities served only by propeller-driven aircraft. Boeing

with any new model we had to be patient,' he says. 'Still, we were off and running.' After maturing from a four-engine design into a twinjet, production began on 6 March 1964. The first prototype, a DC-9-10 model, completed its inaugural flight on 25 February 1965, and was certified on 23 November 1965, entering service with Delta on 8 December of that year. Five DC-9s were flying by the end of


A total of 976 DC-9s were built, the last one in 1982, over an eighteen-year production run entailing five distinct models: the DC-9-10, DC-9-20, DC-9- 30, DC-9-40 and DC-9-50 - each providing operators with maximum efficiency for diverse combinations of traffic density, cargo volume and route

distances. Succeeding models, the MD- 80 series and the MD-90, more than doubled the production number of the overall family.



Initial design work


April 1963:

DC-9 announced, go-ahead

July 1963:

decision Prototype construction started

25 February 1965:

First flight, DC-9-10

8 December 1965:

First airline service, DC-9-10

Key Design Decisions

The DC-9's key design elements - a moderately swept-back wing, two rear- mounted engines, a T-shaped tail, and two-by-three seating in the passenger cabin - evolved over at least four years of testing and modification involving nearly 1,000 engineers. Because of the experience Douglas brought to the programme, the company hesitated to hire more than necessary. Schaufele, the retired engineer says:

It was a very low-cost programme. We didn't lhrow droves of people on it. We all enjoyed working on the DC-S, bur thm had a lor o( prohlem, lO be resolved - it wa> our first jet LnIl1SJXm. TIle DC-9, though, wa, (un to work on (rom the beginning. There was a great deal of satisfaction from those who participated thar there was a perceived need for an aeroplane thar we were de,igning. We knew from our own (amilie, lhal eight-hour automobile drives could hecome one-hour jet flights. The market was just fanra,tic.

After rejecting a four-engine design and even experimenting with a version featu ri ng wi ng- mou n ted engi nes tha t resembled the Boeing 737, then also under design, Douglas focused on testing and perfecting the final design of the launch model, the DC-9-JO.

the final design of the launch model, the DC-9-JO. 22 DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT •• ':l'.; .,',


DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT •• ':l'.; .,', •i.·.·, •• I t', "" ~ The aircraft had
':l'.; .,',
•i.·.·, •• I
t', "" ~
The aircraft had two engine choices:
DC-9s on the assembly line. Boeing
the Rolls-Royce Spey, found on the BA
I II, or the Pratt & Whitney JT8D,
already flying on the Boeing 727, which
l'l1tered service in 1964. 'It was one of our
"oten tia I customers, A merican Ai rI ines,
t hat suggested we go wi th the JT8D,'
Schaufele says. 'The engine was already in
'l'rvice, and since we designed the DC-9
to fly many cycles per day, it was not a
good idea to start with a new, untested
l'ngine.' (The JT8D on the first DC-9-10
was actually a bit too powerful for the new
,rircraft. So the engine was derated for
lower th rust leve Is a nd opera ti ng
The first step in the evolution of the
DC-9 was the definition of the size and
layout. With airlines ordering the larger
Boeing 727, Douglas felt there was a gap
111 the market for a smaller aircraft. Since
the desired size of the DC-9 and the
available engine types dictated a two-
engine design, the first major design
decision was the wing. The DC-9's initial
cruising speed was to be Mach .80, or 80
per cent of the speed of sound. Since it
had to be fast and perform well on short
runways, various wing-sweep angles and
wi ng
th icknesses were stud ied to
determine the optimal combination - one
that would yield the lowest operating cost
for a given cruise speed, payload-range
ability, and field-length requirement. The
design chosen was 24 degrees of sweep at
the centre chord of the wing, in a manner
reminiscent of the Caravel Ie. The
resulting wing thickness allowed for
adequate fuel volume and sufficient
tra iI ing-edge angles over the wi ng's
control surfaces. The thickness
distribution and the variation of the
aerofoil shape across the wingspan were
selected for optimum performance.
With the type of engine certain and the
wing design established, the next major
decision was engine location. One aspect
of the DC-9's design that differed
fundamentally from previous Douglas
practice was the location of engines.
Placing engines on the sides of the aft
fuselage, it was initially believed,
introduced the possibility of a drag
problem due to air separation formed by
the engine nacelle, the pylon separating
the nacelle and the adjacent part of the
fuselage. Another area of concern was the
possihility of engine operating difficulties
due to ingesting wakes from the wing,
spoilers and fuselage. These concerns
were proven to be unfounded during wind
tunnel testing.
The choice of fuselage-mounted
engines over wing-mounted ones was
carefully considered for the DC-9. One of
the arguments in favour of the aft engine
location was the higher maximum lift
capahility that comes from a clean wing
leading edge and from a flap
uninterrupted by an opening for engine
exhaust or for nacelles. Another
important advantage engineers focused on
was the reduction of drag <lch ieved by
eliminating interference hetween the
wing and pylons. A third hencfit is the
reduction of asymmetric-thrust yawing
(drifting off course) in the event of one of
the two engines failing. With the nacelles
located close to the fuselage, the
asymmetric thrust is reduced and the
minimum control speed can he made
relatively low without having to increase
the size of the vertical tail. Another





cs J T




AND DEVELOPM ENT I' 87.4' I cs J T L 27.4' ~~ .",0' ~ no'="< \
AND DEVELOPM ENT I' 87.4' I cs J T L 27.4' ~~ .",0' ~ no'="< \
AND DEVELOPM ENT I' 87.4' I cs J T L 27.4' ~~ .",0' ~ no'="< \
.",0' ~ no'="< \ / \ I

Company diagrams showing the DC-9 design. Boeing

significant gain with aft-mounted engines is the reduction of drag during takeoff and climb. Tests on the DC-S had shown a substantial drag from the vortex arising from the intersection of the pylon and wing. Since performance in the takeoff climb is especially important on a two- engine aeroplane, the beneficial effect of eliminating the pylon from the wing was probably the most dominant performance factor in the decision to mount the engines on the rear fuselage. Several non-aerodynamic factors were considered as wei!. Placing engines beneath the wing tends to elevate the entire aeroplane, increasing the length and weight of the landing gear and built- in stairway. In an aeroplane the size of a DC-9, maintainability and loadability required an aircraft configuration that is


close to the ground, with minimum height between the wing and tarmac. Another advantage of having the engines mounted on the rear fuselage is in case of landings without landing gear deployed. Wing- mounted engines would be severely damaged in such a case, but the DC-9 engines would survive largely unscathed. Schaufele, who served as the DC-9's project aerodynamicist, cites another key advantage. 'The design was accepted,' he says. 'The BAC l-II and Caravelle already were out there. So we went with that arrangement, which was new for Douglas. We figured if they could do it in England and France, we can do it too.' Placing the engines aft of the passenger cabin also had implications for passenger comfort: unless seated in the rear, next to the engines, the aft-mounted arrangement was found to make for a quieter cabin. The next step was defining the design of


the tai!' One of the DC-9's most distinctive features is the high horizontal stabilizer, mounted on top of the mil, <l design also known as a 'Ttai!.' This position accommodates engines on either side of the aft fuselage and allows for a clean wing design. The Ttail was determined following an extensive study that showed it was the most stable option for the DC-9 - and was well-accepted in the industry, as both the Boeing 727, SAC I-I I and Caravelle had horizontal stabilizers attached either at or toward the top of the tail. During the DC-9's design, the T-rail arrangement was the subject of hoth analytical and wind tunnel studies. No anomalies surfaced, and the design proceeded without difficulty. The design was shown to be the most efficielll configuration, from a weight and drag standpoint, to use with aft-mounted engi nes. 1n add ition, the sweep of the DC-9's tail resulted in greater horizontal


t,III length, provid ing the model wi th IIlll"casing control and stability. As the DC-9 was undergoing wind tllnnel tests to improve stall l haracteristics, a BAC l-ll crashed after !.:lllJ1g into a deep stall. That crash shed light on the stall characteristics of an ,lIrcraft with a Ttail design. The aircraft that crashed went into a deep stall (l,llIsed by low fl igh t speed) at angles of ,Iltack ranging from 25 to 50 degrees. For ,lIrcraft designs that use the Trail and aft- Il1llunted engines, pitching motions heyond normal stall can provoke such Incidents. To ensure normal recovery during stalls, the DC-9's horizontal tail was enlarged by about 20 per cent over thc original design. The last major decision - the cabin lllllfiguration was also carefully lllllsidered. 'The basic two-by-three 'cating on the DC-9 was directly related III the capacity of aeroplane,' Schaufele cxplains. 'A two-by-two configuration would have given us a fuselage that's too long and three-by-three would have mcant an aeroplane that's too shorr. Itwas

studied and decided that two-by-three was the hest solution.' Douglas intended to stretch the DC-9 from the beginning, just as the DC-S had becn available in different models. 'Initially, we didn't think of stretches beyond the first plane. We focused on

competi tion wi th

'But as traffic grew, we had an opportunity. We prided ourselves on making various versions and lengths that customers wanted.' To ensure future development of the model, engineers made sure the DC-9 had enough wing area. Engine placement ensured that higher-thrust engine models could be accommodated. Arrangements also were made so the DC-9 could carry more passcngers and fly farther. 'The key was not LO lock yourself in,' Schaufele says. The cockpit, designed to be simple, logical and efficient, was created using mock-ups. Designcd from the start to be operated by two pi lots, it provides for maximum crew comfort and efficiency.

the BA C l-ll,' he says.

All essential controls and instruments can be operated and viewed by either crewmember. The cockpit design was completed after a long design cffort, and reviews and critiques by more than 100 pilots from the world's airlines and the US Federal Aviation Administration. During two years of development, Douglas thoroughly analysed cockpits of both jet and non-jet aircraft, taking into consideration such factors as system analyses, flight crew time and motion studies to ensure compatibility betwcen cockpit arrangement, crew work load and operational reljuirements. In addition, the DC-9 underwent a laboratory developmclll and structural testing process using principles and systems thar were used to produce the DC-S. Schaufele says testing showed the DC-9 did everything engineers promised. 'Pcrformance-wise we were very satisfied with the final product.' The resul t - the DC-9-1 0 - was a sporty

A mock-up of the DC-9. showing a two-class interior configuration. Boeing

The resul t - the DC-9-1 0 - was a sporty A mock-up of the DC-9.



Jackson McGowen and John Brizendine look over the DC-9 model. Boeing

aircraft, powered by two JT8D engines, that measured 104ft 4in (31.8201) in length, with a wingspan of 89ft 4in

cabin is 10ft J in (3.0701)

wide, carrying up to seventy passengers in a two-class configurmion (fewer than some versions of the DC-6) or ninety passengers in one class. Standard fuel capacity in the first DC-9 was 2,786USgal. (10,5461), providing for a range of 1,265 miles (2,040km) at speeds exceeding 500 mph (800 km/h) and altitudes of more than 30,000 feet (9,10001). The initial DC-9 has a wing

area less than that of a DC-3, a payload capacity exceeding that of the DC-7 and nearly the cruising speed of the DC-8.

(27.2501). Its

Design in Detail

Much effort went into designing an aircraft based on simplicity and durability. All of the DC-9's systems and components were carefully laid out to ensure the aircraft would operate cost-effectively and reliably, day in and day out. The DC-9's ease of maintenance has set high standards over the years for airworthiness and low costs. This was achieved, among other things, by eliminating all unnecessary components, since parts that are not installed to begin with incur no maintenance costs. Douglas engi neers actua II y el im i na ted some

costs. Douglas engi neers actua II y el im i na ted some subsystems required in

subsystems required in larger jets without forsaking safety. One example is the ability to dump fuel, which is unnecessary because the DC-9's maximum landing weight is 95 per cent of its maximum takeoff weight. Systems and components that could not be eliminated were designed and built to be highly reliable, and only components with a proven track record were considered. Maintenance concepts never before

incorporated into an aeroplane contribute to the DC-9's low operating costs, high utilization rates and service longevity. To simplify maintenance, systems and parts on the aircraft were made as accessi ble as possible to mechanics on the ground, from engines and wings to the auxiliary power unit (APU) and landing gear; providing access for replacing components - without having to disturb other systems or components - was a predominant design consideration. As result, the DC-9 was among the world's first jet transports to provide for easy servicing, inspecting and troubleshooting capabilities to reduce and simplify maintenance and to save time, equipment and personnel. A prime example of this is the engine installation, designed for maximum commonality between right- and left-hand units. The only components that are not common are the nose cowls and starter ducts. Other than that, the engi nes are interchangeable between right- and left- hand positions. An overview of each of the DC-9's major components follows:

The Pratt & Whitney JT8D engine was chosen because of its existing marketplace success and its ease of maintenance. Boeing

marketplace success and its ease of maintenance. Boeing 26 DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT Wing The DC-9 wing




The DC-9 wing is highly efficient, provides excellent performance on short runways, and was, in its era, the simplest design of any modern jet transport. One reason the DC-9 is going strong even after nearly forty years of service is its inherent stability, provided in large part by the wing. The wing design was adapted from the DC-8. Like its larger predecessor, the DC- 9 wing has a varying aerofoil shape and thickness from the wingtip to the root of the wing by the fuselage, providing stabil ity and performance at both high ami low speeds. The DC-9's basic wing design was determined from studies of the effect of wing geometry on the overall project design goals: the highest cruise speed using available engines, economical operations over short ranges, and the ability to land and takeoff on short runways. Various combinations of wing area, sweep angle and thickness were analysed. Douglas relied heavily on data from previous aircraft programmes and wind- tunnel tests to develop the final wing deSign. These studies found that 934sq ft (86.8sq m) of wing area (for the initial DC-9-1O) with a 24-degree sweep angle, resulting in a .80 Mach cruise speed, were ideal. The wing on the first DC-9 model is augmented by double-slotted flaps which extend from the back of the wing over two-thirds of the span. These flaps were based on the deSign of earl ier Douglas models, including the DC-8 and military transports. The wing itself is a two-spar structure with a leading edge that results in a wing box with three shear webs. The two half sections are joined at the centreline of the aeroplane at the lower fuselage. Since the DC-9 was designed and produced to provide a rei iable and sturdy aeroplane structure - particularly crucial for jets operating over short route segments because frequent takeoffs and landings put more stress on the airframe - alloys used in the DC-9's all-metal wing were carefully selected to achieve maximum strength while maintaining high fatigue and corrosion resistance. Douglas used riveted skin and stringers in the wing (as well as the empennage and fuselage). Structural joints were kept to a minimum to produce increased fatigue resistance.

The wing itself incorporates the ailerons, spoilers, tra iI ing-edge flaps, fuel tanks, and supporting structure for the main gear. Leading-edge slats were added on the later DC-9-30 model. Satisfactory stall characteristics have always been one of the most important design criteria for any aeroplane, particularly passenger transports. Requirements for adequate stall recovery and control were established during the conceptual design of the OC-9. Engineers were well versed with initial stall problems that faced the BAC I- II, an earlier design with a Ttail. The OC-9 programme therefore underwent extensive testing to ensure the chances of stall during flight were remote. To prevent stalls, the DC-9 has a structure under the wing, known as a vortilon, or vortex-generating pylon. This fence-like device was developed during wind-tunnel testing. Should the aircraft approach a stall situation, the interference of the vortilon with the cross flow of air from the wing's leading edge creates a strong vortex that goes over the top of the wing. This creates an upwash of air that helps the horizontal tail produce nose- down pitching during a stall. The vortilon is installed on each wing's lower surface at about one-third of the span. In addition to the vortilon, a triangular strip of metal extending spanwise from the fuselage is

Stall Testing

Flight testing would be incomplete if the stall pro- gramme - a test pilot's least favourite portion - were not successfully completed. Aerodynamic stall speeds and characteristics in various configurations and power settings are the cornerstone upon which all takeoff and landing performance is based, and is vital to prove a new aircraft. This portion of testing is con- ducted when the pilot. at a safe altitude, pulls back the power and lets the aeroplane decelerate, usually at one knot per second. This is called the 1g stall, one with neither positive nor negative g-force applied. At a certain slow speed, buffeting of the aeroplane will commence, followed by a series of gyrations until it can no longer fly. At this point the nose will pitch down, denoting the stall speed. The aeroplane must be recoverable with forward pitch control and should not exceed 20 degrees of roll during the recovery. Stalls are induced over and over again to record the exact airspeed at each stall.

located on the wing leading edge to improve nose-down motion. To further reduce stalls, the size of the horizontal tail span was enlarged by 20 per cent during the design process. The DC- 9's noted ability to avoid stalls and handle well at low speeds were particularly desirable for the short-haul market, where much of the total flight time is devoted to takeoff, approach and landing. The DC- 9's stability was demonstrated during flight testing, when the model successfully recovered from about 2,000 stalls.

Wind-Tunnel Testing

The DC-9's design was tried and finalized through extensive wind-tunnel testing. Five primary minia- ture aircraft models were used in the process: a pre- liminary low-speed model to check basic aerody- namic characteristics; a high-speed model to check high-speed stability, and control and drag character- istics; a third to obtain maximum-lift and stall char- acteristics data; the fourth with a relatively large- scale aft-fuselage-empennage model to determine horizontal and vertical tail lift: and the fifth was an aft-fuselage-nacelle-pylon model for detailed drag studies on the nacelle, pylon and fuselage. The large-scale aft-fuselage-empennage model provided extensive data on horizontal- and vertical-tail lift characteristics and the effectiveness of the rudder, stabilizer and elevator. These tests involved six models and 1,500 hours of operation in tunnels at four laboratories - the Douglas Aerophysics Laboratory, the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, and the NASA Ames Research Centre. This was in addition to work conduct- ed at the Douglas low-speed wind tunnel in Long Beach. Results found that the DC-9's lift, drag, stability and load measurement met or exceeded forecasts and performance guarantees.

To further test the DC-9 design, in the days before powerful desktop computers and virtual-reality sessions, Douglas used analogue computer studies. Hundreds of wind-tunnel runs with different configurations and vari- ous assumed pilot inputs were recorded. Later, the ana- logue computer served as an early-generation simUlator. This set-up evaluated angle of attack, aeroplane atti- tude, flight-path angle, elevator angle, normal accelera- tion, air speed and altitude. These tests also showed the DC-9's performance would exceed expectations once the DC-9 finally flew. Early development work on the low-speed model generally verified the DC-9's estimated stability levels and control capability. Yet further studies of air flow at the intersection of the horizontal stabilizer and vertical tail indicated a potential problem in the original design. Design changes were subsequently made in the place- ment of the horizontal tail to ensure better stability. Meanwhile, the high-speed model provided valuable information on stability levels and control effectiveness at high speeds, as well as an early check on the level of drag during flight. Results of the wind-tunnel tests showed the DC-9 could operate efficiently beyond its designed speed, and in effect confirmed the decision by Douglas engineers to use the T-tail design.



DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT Wings, nose sections and fuselages share the floor space during production in the

Wings, nose sections and fuselages share the floor space during production in the 1960s. Boeing

The DC-9 wing evolved following the original DC-9-10. Later models had a larger wing (I ,000sq ft or 93sq m) and an

of 4ft (1.2 I m) to

accommodate higher gross weights and rassenger capacity. In addition, full-span leading-edge slats, devices that improve lift, were added as the result of customer requests, and a reshaped leading edge was introduced. These changes helped to lower stall speeds and improve cruise performance. Adding leading-edge slats was the primary way to improve lift, permit slower takeoff and landing speeds, and improve performance on short runways - all to better compete against the Boeing 737, which debuted with the devices. The slats, Iike the flaps, arc extended and retracted by completely separate, dual hydraulic-power systems. The DC-9 series incorporates dual rear- facing navigation lights located in the

increase in wingspan

wingtip, along with the primary retractable wing landing light. Extended wingtips on the DC-9-30 and later models did not leave sufficient depth to include the retractable wing landing lights. A compromise installation features the light some 14in (35.5cm) inboard of I' he actual tip, resulting in a bump on both the upper and lower surfaces of the wing.


The DC-9's fuselage is composed of the nose section, centre section and tail section. The nose section is structu ra II y identical to the DC-8. Entirely pressurized, it contains the cockpit, the accessory compartment and the electronics compartment. The centre section is composed of the passenger cabin, two cargo compartments and the wheel wells. The tail section includes the


aft cahin rressure bulkhead, engine support structure, auxiliary power unit, empennage and the tail cone. Customer options located in the tail include a venn'al stairway and an emergency exit. The type's rugged fuselage has been thoroughly substantiated by analysis, extensive testing, and by millions of miles of DC-9 service over the years. From the beginning, Douglas chose materials for tear-resistant strength. The fuselage shell is designed for a dependable operating pressure of 7.46psi, which means that, while flying at 35,000 feet ( 10, 700m), inside the cabin it feels like the altitude equivalent of 8,000 feet (2,500m). The DC-9 fuselage was designed to withstand 50,000 flights, although many DC-9s in service today boast more than 100,000 cycles (one takeoff and landing is a cycle). During testing, a pressurized fuselage was pressure-tested for 120,000 cycles, and the empennage was fatigue- tested for 360,000 cycles. Testing also


h<lwed the fatigue life should be 144,000 flight hours based on missions of 1 hour

and 120,000 flights based on

\l~ minutes,

fllghls of 45 minutes each. Unlike later aircraft, which had lighter nllnposite material, the DC-9 is made of .II metal construction, primarily ,tlllminium. To prevent corrosion during fllghls in all kinds of weather, the DC-9 is \Il~lIlated using paint coatings on steel t.1~lenings installed in its aluminium ~l rllctures. In the fuselage, the size, spacing, material and thickness of skins, stringers .\Ild frames on the fuselage help to keep

Llllgue-induced cracks from extending. The geometry of the DC-9 provides ~tructural integrity and safety from fire h.1Zards in the event of a wheels-up l'mergency landing. In several incidents over the years, aircraft suffered so little damage while landing without gear that rcrairs were made and the aircraft flown the following day. By contrast, an aircraft with wing-mounted engines usually suffers ~cvere damage to the exrensive engines,

~lructural damage

to the wing, and faces

the risk of fire hazard if the fuel lines arc ruptured. Both the engine mounting pylon and the fuselage arc protected from fire damage by titanium shields and a specially developed 3,000°F (I ,650°C) fire barrier installed in the engine burner area.


The DC-9 tail consists of a vertical stabilizer, a horizontal stabilizer, two elevators and a rudder. The vertical stabilizer is mounted on the aft fuselage, and the horizontal stabilizer is mounted on top of the vertical stabil izer to form the T- shaped tail. The rudder and elevators arc mounted on the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, respectively. A hole for the air- conditioning system is located on the lower leading-edge section. The rudder, which heirs to control the direction of the aircraft, is operated hydraulically with a manual backup. Mechanically controlled tabs aerodynamically position the elevators, which control longitudinal direction during normal flight.

The DC-9's basic cockpit was enhanced throughout the family's development. Shown is the DC-9-50. Boeing


The DC-9 cockpit was designed to accommodate two pilots. It incorporates many conveniences that simplify the crew's tasks. Lighted checklists, folding writing tables and fixed chart-holders help to reduce the workload, while footrests, ample storage areas and general roominess contribute to general comfort. Essential displays and controls arc dupl icated to provide redundancy and to accommodate both pilots. The central caution-and-warning presentation is visible to both as well, within the pilot's straight-ahead field of vision, so the crew has a continuous advisory on the cond ition of the aircraft. The fl igh I' deck provides stations (or the captain and first officer. The scats arc track-mounted and arc fully adjustable. A folding scat is available for a flight observer. All flight, engine and other instruments in the early DC-9s have white dial- markings on black faces and are readable during daylight without lighting. Mode selectors in the DC-9 are rotary switches, which provide vertical-speed control, altitude control, pitch hold, coordinated

in the DC-9 are rotary switches, which provide vertical-speed control, altitude control, pitch hold, coordinated 29



DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT The home of the DC-9 was a busy place during the height of

The home of the DC-9 was a busy place during the height of production. Boeing

bank/turn/heading hold, heading selection, and VOR (VHF Omni- directional Radio)/Iocalizer. The cockpit contains four different types of windows: a centre windshield and two side-windshields, a clear-view window on either side, an aft window on either side and two windows above. The centre windshield and two side- windshields are electrically heated to remove ice and eliminate fogging. Electric wipers and liquid rain-repellent aid in maintaining good visibility, even in heavy rain. The DC-9's instrument panel is mounted at an angle that improves visibility. The instruments themselves are clamp-mounted and can be removed without opening the panel. Controls and instruments used by both pilots arc mounted on the pedestal between them, on the main instrument-panel centre section, the glareshield panel, the overhead panel and the centre pedestal. The DC-9's automatic pilot system offers vertical-speed control, variable localizer intercept angle, automatic Instrument Landing System (ILS) operation, and middle-marker sensing. The combination of these features permits the autopilot to control the flight path under normal conditions from shortly after takeoff to the start of the landing flare.

Part of the DC-9's reliability stems from its ability to fly through all kinds of weather, saving time for passengers and the airline whilst ensuring safe operation. The DC-9, from the start, was qualified for IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) operation in Category I weather (200ft (60m) minimum decision altitude and 2,400ft (800m) runway visual range), and was later certified for Category II (100ft (30m) minimum decision altitude and 1,200ft (400m) runway visual range) and Category IlIa (100ft (30m) minimum decision altitude and 700ft (200m) runway visual range). The DC-9's avionics incorporated the latest technology of the time. The avionics equipment is installed in a special pressurized compartment beneath the cockpit floor and in a pressurized accessory-compartment forward of the cockpit above the nosewheel-well. The compartment is accessible in flight through a hatch directly behind the pilot's seat. In addition to the normal ground radio- aid navigation systems, the DC-9 can he equipped with Doppler weather radar and

The DC-9 was designed to be self-sufficient at airports without much ground equipment. The stairway is stored under the cabin. although most DC-9s flying today have eliminated the stairs to save weight. Boeing


Inertial and Omega Navigation Systems to provide long-range navigation, even over water. High Frequency (H F) and Very Iligh Frequency (VHF) with optional Ultra High Frequency (UHF) provide the aeroplane with short- and long-range communications. To alert the flight crew of any potential stall, the DC-9 was equipped with two completely redundant stall-warning systems.

Flight-Control Systems

Proven concepts and rei iable hardware were the primary considerations in design i ng the DC-9's fI igh t-control systems. The major flight controls on the DC-9 consist of the ailerons on the wing, and the rudder and elevators on the tail. The ailerons, which provide lateral control, and the rudder arc hydraulically controlled with manual back-up in the rare case of hydraulic failure. A cable system connects the two ailerons. As one is moved, the other moves in the opposite direction. The elevator is manually operated. Hyclraulics also power spoilers, wing flaps and slats, and the landing gear. The horizontal stabilizer trim is controlled by an electromechanical system. The wing flap system provides mechrll\ical control and hydraulic actuation of the flaps, which are hinged to the trailing edge of each wing. The flaps may be pOSitioned and held from full up to

wing. The flaps may be pOSitioned and held from full up to :.",: -~-. DESIGN AND




The stairs feature handrails and non-skid lurfaces. Boeing full down to obtain increased drag, to
The stairs feature handrails and non-skid
lurfaces. Boeing
full down to obtain increased drag, to
Increase the lift of the wing, and to lower
the stall speecl for landing and takeoff.
The hydraulics, in two independent,
ullltinuously operating systems, play a
Ltrge role in the aircraft's reliability and
,a(ety. The primary power source (or each
'ystem is an engine-driven pump. As an
alternate power source, a reversible
hydraulic-motor pump can supply pressure
to either system. When one system is
pressurized, the alternate pump can supply
pressure to the other without fluid
l'xchange between systems, wh ich usc
fIre-resistant hydraulic fluid. Although
hnth hydraulic systems arc completely
'eparate, almost all components - pumps,
cylinders, reservoir assemblies,
,lCcul11ulators, filters, gauges <lI1d valves -
are identical to enhance maintenance
Lateral aircraft control is also provided by
three hydraulically powered spoilers,
located ahead of the flaps on the upper
sUlface of each wing. The spoilers are used
as speedhrakes to decelerate in the air and
to decrease lift and increase drag during
landing. The spoilers closest to the fuselage
nperate only on the ground to increase drag
and reduce lift, improve braking
Below: Baggage can be loaded onto the DC-9
without special equipment. Boeing



DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT 32 DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT effectiveness and reduce stopping uistances during rejected takeoffs and



DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT 32 DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT effectiveness and reduce stopping uistances during rejected takeoffs and

effectiveness and reduce stopping uistances during rejected takeoffs and rollout following landing. The centre and outboaru 'roilers operate as speedbrakes in the air, as ground spoilers on the ground, and as lateral-control spoilers at all times. Spoilers are actuated automatically on touchdown by wheel spin on the main landing gear. As discussed, the location of the engines on the aft fuselage greatly reduces yawing motion due to asymmetric thrust when compared to wing-mounted engines. Still, the DC-9 required a powet{ul rudder for handling in cross winds and low minimum landing approach speeds. The rudder itself is aerodynamically balanced and hydraulically powered. Directional control on the ground is improved by incorporating a rudder-pedal nosewheel-steering system. This helps to maintain directional control during takeoff and landing rolls. A yaw damper is included in the directional control system to improve stability during normal operations. The yaw damper moves the

Opposite: The first DC-9 fuselage is joined with the wings. Boeing

This 1966 photo shows nose sections manufactured at Douglas's plant in Santa Monica. California. Boeing

ruduer as much as 3 uegrees in response to yaw rate, and may be used throughout takeoff or landing. All control systems - airspeed, electrical, hydraulic, cabin pressurization and fuel pumping - are dual and independent installations, which provide redundant protection against system failure whilst, at the same time, maintaining operating simplicity and safety.

Passenger Cabin

The DC-9's cabin interior was designed to provide a high level of passenger comfort, flexibility in seating arrangements, and ease of maintenance and servicing. DC-9s still in service today have been overhauled from the inside many times to reflect new designs and technology, and different operators. Customers usually dictate the features of the cabin, so interiors and seating vary from airline to airline. OC-9s built in 1973 and beyond later received a 'wide look' interior that provides a greater feeling of spaciousness than in earlier models.


About the only thing in common among all operators is the two-by-three seating layout in economy class - an arrangement that Douglas contended was consistently preferred by passengers over six-abreast cabins in other single- aisle airliners. With two-by-three seating, each scat was one inch (2.Scm) wider than other jets at the time. First- class seating is generally in a two-by-two arrangement. All mouels feature armrests that fold back (except those on the aisle) and a folding meal-tray in each seat back. Passenger utilities, including reading lights, cold-air outlets, flight attendant call buttons and oxygen masks (in case of cabin depressurization), are grouped on panels above the scats. These panels can be adjusted to accommodate any distance between seats, also known as seat pitch; the amount of seat pitch is determined by the operator. Public- address speakers are staggered on opposite sides of the aeroplane, so each row has its own speaker.


DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT The DC-9 mock-up showed the passenger configuration in this 1964 photo. Boeing the

The DC-9 mock-up showed the passenger configuration in this 1964 photo. Boeing

the fuselage by four spring-loaded latches. An inflatable evacuation slide is optional. Emergency escape is also possible through the passenger entrance door, the galley ervice door, and two windows on the flight deck. Evacuation slides are built into the passenger and galley doors, while the cockpit offers another escape route. Interior noise is minimized through the use of shock-mounted panels, acoustically insulated materials and acoustic windows. Anti-vibration engine mounts and tuned vibration-absorbers also reduce vibration and noise in the cabin. Although among the noisiest aircraft today, exterior noise levels during takeoff were relatively low at the time of the DC-9's debut because of its ability to climb steeply.

DC-9 interiors include carry-on luggage compartments, coat rooms, galleys, flight attendant stations and lavatories, in numbers and layouts depending on each operator's option. The seats are upholstered in flame-resistant pre-shrunk fabrics, and serve as flotation devices in case of water emergencies. In upgrading the interiors, many airlines later installed seat-back telephones. Seats can be reclined to 38 degrees. The first-class cabin has a 24in (61cm) aisle, with 19in (48cm) in coach. The cabin divider and partitions can he adjusted to meet the needs of any configuration. DC-9 galleys are equipped with heating ovens and coffee makers. There is liberal storage for ice, drinks, trays, paper products and other items. Every DC-9 configuration is designed for the quick meal and beverage service found on short- hop flights. Cabin side panels are made of thermoplastic, which is easily cleaned and scuff-resistan t. The two lavatories are at the rear of the aircraft. Most DC-9s have an electrically operated built-in stairway, known as airstairs, which facilitates passenger loading and unloading. The passenger entrance door is located forward on the left-hand side o( the fuselage. It measures 33.5in (85cm) by nin (183cm). It can be opened from either side and has steady hold-open latches. The servicing door is

The DC-9-10's two-by-three seating arrangement. Note the lack of carry-on bins. a feature that was added as a standard with the DC-9-30. Boeing

opposite the main passenger door. Emergency exits are located over the wings. The DC-9 also has plug-type lift- out emergency exits in the cabin sidewall over the wing. Each exit, 20in by 36in (51cm by 9lcm), can be opened from inside or outside the aircraft by a latch- release handle. There is an additional emergency exit in the aft section of the fuselage that enables passengers to evacuate through the tail cone, which can be jettisoned. The tail cone is secured to

Fuel System

The DC-9 has three main fuel-tanks, one in each wing and one in the centre wing-section. Auxiliary fuel tanks are also available in later models. The tanks are normally filled through a single- point fuelling adapter, where the hose from a fuel truck enters the wing. This is located on the bottom of the right wing's leading edge, about midspan. The overall fuelling rate is 375USgai.

edge, about midspan. The overall fuelling rate is 375USgai. 34 DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT DOUGLAS TYPICAL SEATING










































DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT (1,4191) per minute. At that rate, it takes less than twenty minutes to

(1,4191) per minute. At that rate, it takes less than twenty minutes to fill up a DC-9. A fill control panel, which indicates fuel quantity, is located adjacent to the fill adapter. This control panel eliminates the need for someone in the cockpit during fuelling. Once in the tanks, fuel is directed to engines and the APU through separate lines. Each feed system includes two electrically driven booster pumps, which are arranged in parallel to provide redundancy so that the aircraft can fly even if one pump does not work. One pump is also installed in the right main- rank for engine start and APU operation in the absence of power. In normal operation, the main-tank pumps are used one at a time. To increase service life, and because each pump has the capacity to maintain adequate fuel flow for both

engines at maximum thrust throughout the aircraft operating range, alternate pumps may be used on alternate stages of a trip. The cross-feed system allows any single pump to supply fuel to both engines. The inboard section of each main tank has a gravity-feed reservoir. To prevent fuel from flowing out of the reservoir during a steep climb or rapid manoeuvre, check valves are installed in each reservoir. As the DC-9 models progressed, so did their fuel capacity. The first DC-9-10 could carry 2,786USgal. offuel (10,5461), or 18,6661b (8,467kg). By adding a fuel rank in the lower cargo compartment, the DC-9-30 and -40 models could carry 3,679USgal. of fuel (13,9261), or 24,6491b (11,176kg) The Series 50 had a standard supplemental fuel tank, increasing fuel capacity to 4,259USgal. (16,1221), or 28,5351b (12,943kg). The later MD-80


Fuelling the DC-9 can be done without need of ladders. Boeing

derivative, by contrast, can carry 5,840USgal. (22,1061), or 39,1281b (17,748kg) offuel with its larger wing.

Landing Gear and Brakes

The DC-9's landing gear, like the fuselage, is built to withstand at least 50,000 flights and up to at least 120,000 hours, contributing to the model's reliability and serviceability. The DC-9, like other small and medium-sized airliners, has three sets of landing gear. The forward landing gear, underneath the forward fuselage, is comprised of two wheels. The gear retracts forward and up into the fuselage nose-section. The rear landing gear consists of two sets of two wheels, each located below the wings, that retract in and up into the wing and fuselage. Overall, the DC-9 has six wheels and tyres. The land ing gear is retracted hydraulically. In an emergency, a control level releases the gear. All three gears extend and lock by gravity alone, without hydraulic pressure. The gear doors close after gear extension to reduce the noise in the cabin. The basic design of the landing gear features pneumatic shock-struts with fixed axles. This, combined with a wide wheelbase, low centre of gravity, nosewheel steering ability and ground spoilers, provides the DC-9 with excellent ground-hand Iing characteristics. The hydraulically powered multiple disc, metallic, air-vented brakes on each main- gear wheel have been designed for a long operating life. Its cooling features, with thermal fuse plugs to prevent overheating, are augmented by a large contact area, maki ng each brake capable of 1,000 landings before having to be replaced. The brakes are controlled by foot-pedal operated valves. They are supplemented by an electrically controlled anti-skid system on each wheel that prevents locked wheels. The system detects impending skid by measuring landing wheel deceleration against optimum performance and, if necessary, reduces braking pressure. It also helps to achieve maximum brake efficiency, which contributes to longer tyre life as well as shorter stopping distances.

DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT The DC-9 family has two sets of rear landing gear, consisting of
The DC-9 family has two sets of rear landing gear,
consisting of two tyres each. Boeing
The DC-9's front wheel has an 82-
degree steering capability, which enables a
full 180-degree aircraft turnaround on
pavement widths as small as 63ft 7in
(19.4m) for the DC-9-10 to 85ft 5in
(26m) for the much longer Series 50.
Nosewheel steering is accomplished
through a steering wheel powered by a
dual hydraulic system. Even with the loss
of one system, ample steering remains.
During takeoff and landing roll,
directional control through nosewheel
steering is accomplished by steering the
rudder pedal. This permits the pilot to use
both hands for flight and engine controls.
Rudder-pedal steering is automatically
engaged with nose-gear strut compression
and disengaged with strut extension.
Nosewheel chines - deflectors on
outboard sidewall tyres - serve to control
water spray patterns from the nosewheel
to prevent water or slush being ingested
by the engines. As a result, the spray
pattern is dispersed and deflected
harmlessly under the wing.
Air-Conditioning and Oxygen
Air-conc.litioning on the DC-9 family is
supplied by two identical air-cycle
refrigeration units, helping to maintain
passenger and crew comfort. This system
is designed for parallel operation but
capable of working independently. They
draw bleed air from both engine
compressors, but can function even if one
engine fails. One system supplies the
cockpit, while the other responds to cabin
controls. The A PU supplies power for air-
conditioning while the aircraft is on the
ground. Rapid changes in temperature
can be
accompl ished by runn ing one
engine or the APU. The air-conditioning
exhaust is partially discharged into the
under-floor areas of the fuselage. Cockpit
ex haust is vented through the electrical
compartment to maintain the proper
temperatures for electrical and electronic
equipment. It is then fed to the underside
of the forward cargo-compartment floor,
which can carry animals safely and
comfortably. Air from the passenger cabin
is exhausted into the aft cargo-
compartment. Separate, automatic
The front landing gear also features two tyres.



DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT The DC-9 family, with the exception of the later Boeing 717, have rear

The DC-9 family, with the exception of the later Boeing 717, have rear stairs, which assist in passenger loading and cabin service. Boeing

temperature control systems, each with a range of 65-80°F (i8-27°C), regulate cockpit and passenger cabin temperature to the desired settings. The cabin pressure control works off the air-conditioning system. The rate of change in cabin pressure and cabin altitude is controlled by an electrically driven valve. Cabin pressure also can be manually controlled should the automatic system malfunction. Oxygen is available in two separate systems - one for crew, the other for passengers. Each system draws from its own oxygen cylinder. Should decompression occur in the cabin, the passenger system automatically opens the mask-container doors, pops out the masks

and supplies oxygen to passengers. Masks also are available at flight-attendant stations and in each lavatory. One additional mask is located in every seat- row box, alternating from left to right, for supplemental oxygen as well as emergency oxygen for infants or attendants. First-aid oxygen is instantly available at each seat row and in each lavatory. The DC-9 has an ice-protection system in the airframe that supplies warmed air from the engine bleed systems to the wings and horizontal stabilizer. Because ice build-up can cause an aircraft to lose control on takeoff, anti-ice priority is given to the wing's leading edge. The pilot may, during flight and at the start of an approach, divert wing air to the tail. The air is later automatically transferred back to the wing.

The DC-9 family has brought millions of people home. Boeing

The DC-9 family has brought millions of people home. Boeing 38 DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT Above and



millions of people home. Boeing 38 DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT Above and top right: Wind-tunnel testing was

Above and top right: Wind-tunnel testing was a vital component in determining the flight parameters. Boeing

Below: The DC-9-20 features the fuselage of the DC- 9-10 with the improved wing of the DC-9-30. Boeing

Boeing Below: The DC-9-20 features the fuselage of the DC- 9-10 with the improved wing of



~ "'~T~~g~:'l[ -a j:l ~
~ "'~T~~g~:'l[

Thousands of workers were employed to manufacture and assemble the DC-9. Boeing

Other Systems

The DC-9 was designed to handle simultaneous servicing of all major systems. These include fuel Iing, galley service, and lavatory cleaning all while passengers board and disembark and baggage is loaded and unloaded. omplete servicing with maximum refuelling can be completed at major terminals in twenty minutes, less at intermediate stops. Baggage and cargo is loaded through two large cargo-doors in the underside of the forward and aft fuselage. The low ground-clearance puts the lower-deck cargo-door bays at

waist height to allow loading and unloading without a conveyor or loading platform. Since the DC-9 was designed for quick turnarounds at airports that may lack ground-handling equipment, all models have two built-in boarding stairs that can be used if jetways are not available. The forward stairs arc standard equipment. With non-skid surfaces, these stairs are equipped with handrails and can accommodate uneven ground surfaces. At night they can be illuminated. During flight the stairs are stored under the cabin floor. The stairway is normally controlled from inside the cabin but can be operated from the ground ::IS well; the


control station is next to the passenger entrance door, within reaching distance from the ground. While the stairway is extended, the door can be closed but not locked. Both interior and exterior control stations provide the ability to manually operate the door, although only the exterior station has a manual override for the stairway. To prevent inadvertent operation of the stairway during flight, the electrical stairway control system is interlocked with the manual door control. Today, with jetways at nearly every airport, most airlines have removed the forward stairs to shed weight from the aircraft and increase fuel efficiency.


(Series JT only)


A schematic of key systems and doors. Shown is a cargo version. Courtesy Fred deLeeuw










A schematic of the entry doors and accessory compartments. Courtesy Fred deLeeuw



ELEVATOR GEARED TAB (Aerodynamically driven by deflected contro I tab. Has hydrau Iic powered augmentor
(Aerodynamically driven by deflected
contro I tab. Has hydrau Iic powered
augmentor as backup system).
(Geared to elevator movement.
A Iways assists control tab l.
(Mechanically connected to control column).
(Aerodynaltlically driven
by deflected contra/lab)












CONTROL (electrically powered)
(Norma II y hydrau Iica Ily
(Mechanically controlled dLring manual
rudder operation. Lockea in neutral
during power rudder operation)







(Pressure operated by Independent PltOt systemJ. (SEE FLIGHT CONTROLS - RUDDER FUNCTIONAL SCHEMATIC)

A look at the DC-9's flight control systems. Courtesy Fred deLeeuw







A schematic of the flight deck. Courtesy Fred deLeeuw

To speed up passengcr boarding and disembarkation, the DC-9 also offers an optional rear, or aft, ventral stairway. The stair's main control station is inside the aircraft, behind the rear pressure- bulkhead. An exterior control station is located next to the stairway and can easily be reached by ground crews. If aeroplane or ground power is not available, the stairway will fall when the locks are removed. The ventral stairway also serves to support the tail during aircraft loading and unloading. The aircraft's electrical power consists of both a primary and secondary

electrical system that satisfies the requirements for aircraft self-sufficiency on the ground and in the air. The primary electrical system is composed of alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) electrical power derived from engine- and APU-driven generators. The secondary electrical system is comprised of a nickel-cadmium battery, which provides emergency capability for certain navigational and communications equipment in case all generators fail. The APU is the onboard source of pneumatic and electric power. It frees the DC-9 from any dependence on ground power equipment. The APU is a gas-turbine engine and compressor

that powers air-conditioning as well as engine starting and electric power for all normal aircraft systems. The self-starting unit is controlled from the cockpit. It is located just behind the pressure bulkhead at the rear of the aircraft and is installed in a fixed, fireproof and sound- suppressing container. Thcrc are two fire-fighting systems on board; one fixed, the other portable. The fi xed system inc1 udes two fi re- extinguisher bottles located behind the pressure bulkhead to suppress engine, pylon and APU fires. Portable equipment consists of one hand-extinguisher on the flight deck, two in the galley area and one mounted on the forward face of the lavatory partition.



Launch and Production

I)ouglas Aircraft was so confident of its 'porty new jet that it launched the DC-9 on 8 April 1963 - a crucial step that formally made it available for sale to the world's airlines - even though it had just ,Inc order from Delta Air Lincs for fifteen Ilf the aircraft. A risky step, perhaps, but lhc company was convinced airlines would see this cost-efficient, rugged model - larger than the BAC I-II but ,mallcr than the Boeing 727 - as a neccssary staple in their fleets. The DC-9 didn't represent a dramatic ,tdvance in jetliner technology; in many ways the sleek new model was seen as

simply the DC-8's little brother. But unlike the big jets in their first years, the DC-9 promised to generate impressive revenues and substantial savings. The DC-9's target short-haul market was traditionally served by piston-powered aircraft retired from longer routes and was usually a money-loser for the airlines because of the high costs of repeated landings and takeoffs. The DC-9 was touted from the beginning as being able to make a profit with just twenty-eight of

the ninety seats filled. Since jets at the time lost money on most flights shorter than 300 miles (480km), and since 75 per cent of all US flights in the mid- 1960s were shorter than 250 miles (400km), the DC-9 promised the lowest operating costs of any airliner of its time and was seen as a money-making solution for the airlines. The DC-9, a successful aeroplane by any mcasure, would go on to operate in some of the harshest environments on

Not one but two DC-9-10s emerged from a hangar to cheers during the rollout ceremony on

12 January 1965. Boeing

on Not one but two DC-9-10s emerged from a hangar to cheers during the rollout ceremony



LAUNCH AND PRODUCTION At the time of its debut to the public. the DC-9 had thirty-six

At the time of its debut to the public. the DC-9 had thirty-six orders. Boeing

The DC-9 offered Douglas an important lead over Boeing in the new market for short-range jetliners. Not until 1965, only three days before the DC-9's first flight (perhaps an attempt to upstage its rival?), did Boeing announce it would manufacture its own short-range aircraft, the 737 - which would, in turn, go on to outsell any modern commercial airliner ever made. The 737's design was greatly influenced by launch customer Lufthansa. The Germans insisted on a passenger capacity of at least 100 - ten more than the first DC-9 model could accommodate. The only way Boeing could fulfil that requirement was to give the 737 the same width as the larger 727 and 707, allowing for three-by-three seating instead of the

earth, opening up jet air travel to small communities in much the same way as one of its predecessors, the venerable DC-3, hacJ done decades earlier. 'The plane wi II come closer to replacing the DC-3 than anyone in the business now believes,' Donald Douglas Jr, then the company's president, told reporters after the DC-9 was launched. 'More people will fly for the first time - not just the prestige carriagc tracJe but also the greatest number of people. An estimate of 400 potential sales is probably pessimistic.' His projection certainly held true - and was, in fact, vastly underesti mated. The DC-9's launch signalled a corporate triumph for Douglas, which was all but counted out of the aerospace industry a mere two years earlier. The DC-8 was losing dismally in the sales race with Boeing's 707. Douglas also lost in the bicJcJing on a string of defence and space contracts. But Douglas reorganized itself, brought in respected executives, cut costs and put the company back into shape. With production under way, Douglas employed an integrated DC-8/DC-9 final asscmbly line that initially prov ided a high degree of common tooling and suhstantial job knowledge from the DC-8, helping to ensure high production efficiency from the start of assembly of the new mocJel.

Company officials join Donald Douglas 5r lcentrel at the rollout of the DC-9. Boeing

Douglas 5r lcentrel at the rollout of the DC-9. Boeing 46 LAUNCH AND PRODUCTION I X



I X ~-9's two-by-three arrangement even th\lugh the DC-9 was 10ft (3m) longer than the stubby 737-100.

ti me the 73 7 -1 00 made its debut

III 1967, the DC-9 was already in service \\ Ith 200 orders in hand, a lead that w\lulcJ take Boeing almost twenty years to ovcrcome. The DC-9 also fared well Igainst the rival BAC 1-11. Despite the British sales lead, Douglas had fifty-eight firm orcJers and sixty options on the DC-9 prior to its rollout, versus seventy- f\lur orders and sixteen options for the BAC 1-11. Although Boeing initially made the 737 with limited operational characteristics, lIs 737-200 rectified the situation but in the interim Douglas had managed to build ';45 DC-9s between 1966 and 1969, against only 224 737s. in those four years, Douglas produced half of the DC-9 fleet. Yet the company was losing money on nearly every DC-9 manufactured. Too many aircraft were sold at discount prices that were insufficient to cover production costs. The rapid development of thc DC- 9 and all its variants inhibitcd efficiencies 1I1 production methods, and the number of hours to produce each aircraft exceeded predictions. in addition, the commendable desire to provide as many DC-9 options as possible contributed to the explosive growth of the DC-9, but the cxpense of doing so helped to propel Douglas into a crisis that ended with its merger with McDonnell. The problem was compounded because Vietnam War production had already used up all of southern California's pool of talented aerospace workers and delayed the shipment of key components. There also were some twenty different internal aircraft configurations on the production line within the first few months of the first deliveries - hardly an efficient method. Only when McDonnell and Douglas merged in 1967 did production get back on schedule. Douglas estimated it had to sell 150 to 200 of the planes to recover $100 million ([960 dollars) in development costs. By the time the first DC-9 was off the assembly line, airlines had placed more than $300 million (1964 dollars) in advance orders and options for the DC-9. Air Canada, Bonanza Air Lines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Swissair, Austrian Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines had placed fifty-eight firm orders and forty-four options.

By the

Rollout and First Flight

Despite delays that prompted Douglas to expand production lines to meet brisk demand for the DC-9, the programme remained on target. Douglas rolled out the DC-9 - two of them, in fact, moments after each other - on 12 January 1965, a month ahead of the original schedule. The rollout ceremony, inside a hangar in Long Beach, was filled with bravado and optimism. The city's Municipal Band rattled the hangar's lofty rafters with Sousa's march 'Hail to the Spirit of Liberty'. The crowd of 800 then grew silent when the building's fifty-three-foot, sixty- three-ton doors cracked open, letting in the winter sun. Across the tarmac a white tug gathered speed, pulling a factory-fresh DC-9, gleaming in white paint trimmed with blue and red. Midway between the two hangars, the new jetliner wheeled gently to a stop and waited. The crowd applaudcd for the latest Douglas model's public debut. The much-heralded event immediately becamc an encore when a second DC-9, structurally completed but missing its instrumentation, followed the first one to the apron. The second DC-9 rolled out three months early, a symbol of the new programme's gusto.

Inside the assembly building, five additional DC-9s were nearing completion whilc detailed parts were in various stages of completion for an additional twenty-eight aircraft, keeping 65,000 people employed in California, thirty-five other states and Canada. As the DC-9 rolled across the tarmac and into the vicwing hangar, journalists, government and local officials, representatives from contractors and top executives from airlines on six continents awaited closer inspection of the new kid on the block. Among the crowd was Donald W. Douglas Sr, a participant in dozens of similar ceremonies over fifty years of designing and producing aircraft. He told reporters:

I am still thrilled when I am privileged to see the tangihle evidence of a long and difficult job well done. Techniques have changed greatly, but the hasic principles of powered flight remain the same. Another principle that remains unchanged is the fact that no such achievement as rhe DC-9 is possible without a dedicated and skilled group of human beings. This was true in 1920, when the Douglas ompany had six employees.

The DC-9 flight crew confers prior to the first flight. From left are Paul Patten. test pilot; Duncan Walker. flight test engineer; and George Jansen. chief engineering test pilot. Boeing

Paul Patten. test pilot; Duncan Walker. flight test engineer; and George Jansen. chief engineering test pilot.



LAUNCH AND PRODUCTION The DC-9-10 lifts off from Long Beach Municipal Airport on 25 February 1965.

The DC-9-10 lifts off from Long Beach Municipal Airport on 25 February 1965. The aircraft carried flight instrumentation equipment on a two hour fifteen minute test flight, landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Boeing

Other top company officials on the speaker's platform were Donald W. Douglas Jr anu Jackson McGowen, a Douglas vice president. As the DC-9 moved into position in the viewing hangar, John Brizendine, the deputy manager for the DC-9 programme, began to describe the features of the new creation. He explained to the crowd that the DC-9-10, about a third of the size of its big brother the DC-8, would carry passengers with the same levels of speed, comfort and safety as larger jets. He also pointed out that the DC-9's ability to land and takeoff from 5,000ft (l ,500m) runways with a full passenger load would bring jet service to airports that, at the time, were only served by propeller-driven aircraft. In a filmed presentation shown at the ceremony, US Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges hailed the economic potential of expanded airline service offered by the DC-9. He declared that the impact of the DC-9 might equal that made thirty years earlier by another twin- engine Douglas transport, the DC-3. 'For the first time,' he said, 'an American-built aircraft will bring the great speed and productivity of the jet transport to cities

which have not yet become part of the jet age.' US Senator Mike Monroney, chairman of the aviation subcommittee of the Senate commerce committee, briefly addressed the rollout ceremony. 'No single man has done more for world aviation than Donald W. Douglas,' he said. After recounting the successes of earlier company models, he predicted 'the DC-9 will be great, too.' When the gleaming new model rolled to a centre-stage position in the hangar, its boarding stairs lowered, revealing seven uniformed flight attendants - 'hostesses' at the time - each representing one of the seven launch airlines. The first person up the stairs into the new plane was none other than Donald Douglas Sr. Delivery of the first DC-9 was made to Delta Air Lines three months ahead of schedule, on 8 December 1965, following extensive flight testing. By January 1966, six aircraft had been delivered, to Delta, Bonanza Airlines and Air Canada, and four were in revenue service. The first revenue flights were a harbinger of things to come over the next few decades: one DC-9 in those early days of service had logged eleven hours and eighteen minutes


of revenue flying time in one day. Average uti Iization among the first models was seven hours and nineteen minutes, with eleven departures per day and a load factor (percentage of seats filled) of 75 per cent. Not bad for an all-new aircraft. That was noticed by customers. On 26 July 1963, when production began, Douglas had firm orders for just eighteen DC-9s. By early 1966, Douglas had orders and options for 440 DC-9s. Why did early customers choose the DC-9? The reasons were as varied as their needs: field performance, ruggedness, cabin width, integration with existing DC-8 fleets and, above all, lower costs and higher profits. Here's what some airlines said at the time of the DC-9's debut:

Hawaiian Airlines: The DC-9 was shown to be ideally suited for the jet market routes of Hawaiian Airlines. Capable of operating from existing runways while carrying a profitable payload, the aircraft can fly several route segments without refuelling with a resulmnt time saving in ground handling costs alone. In addition, the totally new aircraft will have an immediate stimulation to passenger traffic.

Delta A ir Lines: Our initial order for fifteen of the DC-9s with an option for fifteen more will number Delta's hundredth Douglas-built airliner. Our experience evidences the quality and dependability of Douglas-built aircraft over


a period of twenty-five years. We are confident ,he DC-9 will be worthy of the Delta colours anJ will represent another milestone in the JI'linguished line of Douglas aircraft which have contributed so much to air transportation all over the world.

All' Canada: Air Canada chose the DC-9 following the most exhaustive equipment analy;is ever undertaken by the airline, on the ha,i' of the DC-9's ability to be economically Integrated into Air Canada's route structure anJ its projected fleet makeup at the time of delivery anJ on into the future. From foreca;ts prepareJ of future passenger traffic over the

Canadian carrier's particular routes, the aircraft

combines the lowest operating costs for the ,urline with the most desirable flighl frequencies for the passenger.

Statistics on air travel seemed to bear out the DC-9 at the time of its uebut. According to the Civil Aeronautics Board, a US agency that managed civil aviation, more than 60 per cent of US airline passenger travel was for trips of less than 500 miles (800km), and more than

20 per cent of all air travel was for distances of less than 200 miles (325km) per trip. Statistics in Europe at the time were similar. The DC-9 played an important role in enabling the world's airlines to bring to their shorter route-segments and smaller airports the same level of operating efficiencies and public service that the jet age had brought to long-distance travel anu major metropolitan centres. At the time of its uebut, the DC-9 was able to operate into 98 per cent of all US airports that hau commercial service.

The Inaugural Flight

The day of the DC-9's first flight, 25 February 1965, was memorable for Douglas. In add ition to the successful flight, Douglas announced it had sold twenty-four more DC-9s, this time to Eastern Ai rI ines, fu rther boosti ng the programme. On that Jay Douglas also formally C\nnounced that the DC-9 would

include more advanced models in the future, hinting of the family of aircraft the DC-9 would later offer.


Long Beach Municipal Airport, flew around the California coastline and landed two hours and fifteen minutes later at nearby Edwards Air Force Base- one month earlier than planned. Loaded on the initial flight were 10,OOOlb (4,500kg) of instrumentation and recording devices used to gain certification. The flight was flawless. Press reports were favourable, especially because the DC-9 preceded the Boeing 737 into the air. The DC-9's first flight also came two weeks before the BAC 1- ll's first revenue flight. At the controls of the first flight were George Jansen, chief engineering test pi lot for Douglas Aircraft, and co-pi lot Paul Patten. Although the DC-9 was designed for a two-person cockpit, on board the initial flight was a flight engineer, Duncan Walker. During the






Flight test results please test pilots George Jansen and Paul Patten. Boeing

During the The first DC-9-l0 lifted easily Flight test results please test pilots George Jansen and



inaugural, the DC-9 was held to speeds of 285mph (460km/h) amI a maximum altitude of 20,000ft (6, 100m) while the crew conducted initial tests of the hydraulic, electrical, air-conditioning and autopilot systems. The aircraft offered no surprises during its first voyage. Patten later told reporters: '[ think the DC-9 will be the magic carpet of the air-transportation industry.' The first DC-9 took off with a gross weight of 77 ,0001b (34,900kg). Takeoff roll was about 3,200ft (975m). The aircraft's landing gear was lowered and raised several times during the flight. Low-speed handling characteristics were reported excellent, and roll response was good. During the second flight a day later, gross takeoff weight increased to 80,0001b (36,300kg). The autopilot, which also had been used on the first flight, was employed for an automatic approach at Edwards Air Force Base at the end of the flight. The third flight, reaching 25,000ft (7,600m), explored handling characteristics. The engi nes were successfully re-started in mid-air at 15,000ft (4,600m). These flights began an exhaustive nine-month flight-test programme that would validate the aircraft's capabilities and certify it to enter commercial service.

capabilities and certify it to enter commercial service. Flight Testing The DC-9 underwent three phases of

Flight Testing

The DC-9 underwent three phases of flight testing. The exploratory phase, starting with the first flight, was designed to view all the aerodynamic and system characteristics of the aircraft; the development and design verification phase focused on performance, stability, speed, and systems and components; and the FAA certification phase, when the aircraft demonstrated that it complied with government regulations regarding aerodynamics and systems. During testing, the DC-9 fully demonstrated that its performance met or exceeded guarantees in all areas. Aerodynamic design development was conducted during the early portion of the DC-9 test-flight <lnd cerrific<ltion programme. The primary items that required continued development in aerodynam ics were roll characteristics and takeoff cl im b performance. The flight programme also led to three minor improvements to the DC-9's wing that further improved stall characteristics. These included modifying an inboard stall strip on the wing leading edge, incorporating a small leading-edge fence on the wing midspan, and modifying two

rows of vortex generators on the outer wing panel. Because of its strong inherent stall recovery characteristics and sufficient pilot warnings, the DC-9 was shown to be extremely resistant to stall. Within the first four and a half months of testing, Douglas conducted 237 flights, accumulating 397 hours of flight time. Compared to previous programmes, early testing showed a 30 to 50 per cent increase in test utilization. One day after the first flight, Douglas conducted two flights. From then on, twice-a-day flights were common. Five DC-9s were used for development and FAA certification flights, accumulating [,280 hours of flight time. These five, and four additional aircraft used for demonstration and pi lot trai n ing, flew a total of 1,948 hours in more than 1,200 fI igh ts - more than one mill ion miles or forty-five times around the earth at the equator. The FAA awarded Douglas the type certificate for the DC-9-10 on 23 November 1965, more than two months ahead of schedule. Certification was attained just nine months after the first flight in what was one of the most

This 1965 photo. taken during certification testing. shows how nosewheel chines (shaped deflectors on

outboard tyres) effectively control the water spray pattern from the nosewheel to prevent water and slush from being ingested by the engines. Boeing

water and slush from being ingested by the engines. Boeing 50 LAUNCH AND PRODUCTION thorough fI



ingested by the engines. Boeing 50 LAUNCH AND PRODUCTION thorough fI ight-test and development programmes ever

thorough fI ight-test and development programmes ever undertaken at the time for a modern jet transport. During the entire programme, only two test flights were terminated before they were completed, and only seven were delayed by component or system malfunction. One DC-9-10 in the test fleet made fifty-five flights totalling lSI hours within fourteen days - an average o{ nearly eleven hours a day. Not only was certification attained ahead of schedule, in keeping with the pattern established early in the DC-9 development, but also performance was better than Douglas had guaranteed. Landing distances certified by the FAA, for instance, were 15 per cent shorter than the origi nal guaran tees. Other field lengths were between 7 and 15 per cent better. Even before the first flight, Douglas put the DC-9 through fatigue testing for major componen ts and systems, as well as static testing to measure the aircraft's ability to withstand flight under all conditions. More than thirty structural tests were completed, covering the most critical conditions an aircraft cou Id experience du ri ng flight and testing. While subjected to flight loads, all movable control

The DC-9-10 during flight testing. The line from the back of the tail was used to measure performance. 80eing

surfaces, including spoilers, flaps and ailerons, successfully met their operational requirements. Critical fuselage design conditions required tests for flight-induced vertical, side and roll bending, with and without cabin pressure, as well as two ground- turning configurations. The empennage, horizontal and vertical surfaces and the tail stub were checked {or five critical design conditions. All movable tail components were rotated successfully at various load increments. Test pilots learned from the beginning that the DC-9 is a pi lot's aeroplane, fun to fly and stahle, with no tendencies to roll. The aircraft's stall characteristics were examined throughout the complete range of wing-flap settings in both the forward and aft centre of gravity positions. In testing, the DC-9 also exhibited the same desirable nose-down pitching as was determined in wind-tunnel tests. The aircraft was taken well beyond the speed at which airlines operate. Flutter and vibration measurements taken during high-speed test flights were the best that engineers had seen in a commercial jet. In general, the DC-9 felt solid.


onsiderable dala were collected for landing and takeoff performance. Most movements were recorded by a ground- mounted camera {rom which Douglas determined the aircraft's accelerations and decelerations. The touchdown-to- stop distances showed that the brakes, in conjunction with the landing spoilers and anti-skid system, were better than predicted. Thrust reversers were also found to he effective and easy to operate. Even the electrical, hydrauliC, fuel, air- conditioning and automatic controls fared well, and only minor refinements were needed on the autopilot system following testing. Douglas conducted 5,000 separate flight tests and more than 40,000 test points were obtained on a variety of equipment inside and outside the aeroplane. The very first DC-9 ever built made 600 test fI ights before Douglas turned it over to commercial service. The aircraft was completely refurbished and delivered to Trans Texas Airlines. Even as the first aircraft were put through their paces, Douglas engineers were working on new versions of the DC-9, ensuring a family destined for long-term sLiccess.


Evolution of the FaDlily

From its inception, the DC-9 was designed to grow - in length, capacity, weight and range. Much like the DC-8 was built to various sizes and ranges to suit customer needs, so too did Douglas realize that more options would attract additional DC-9 operators from around the world. The DC-9-10 was followed by sub-variants undistinguishable to the eye, all with slightly different maximum takeoff weight determined by an interior configuration (extra lavatory, larger galley, etc.):

DC-9-14 - 87,S001b (39,689kg) maximum takeoff weight DC-9-15-90,7001b (41,141 kg) maximum takeoff weight

For the sake of simplicity, this book refers to either of these as simply the Series 10, even though these aircraft are commonly known as the DC-9-14 or DC-9-15. Douglas built 147 JLC-9-10s between 1964 and 1969, includiug cargo versions, and ten likec:sized DC-9-20s. Before looking at growth, Douglas briefly studied a scaled-down version, the DC-9-5, intended for shorter ranges and smaller capacities. Douglas dropped the project within a year in 1965, officially because of lack of airline interest, but also because of the absence of a su itable powerplant, Douglas's financial problems, and expected competi tion from the Fokker F-28, another short-range twinjet with a Ttail design but smaller in capacity than the DC-9. Here is a look at the four other DC-9 models designed and produced following the DC-9-10:


The larger DC-9-30 would go on to become the best-selling model in the original DC-9 family, surpassed only by the MD-80 series two decades later. The DC-9- 30 was identical to the original model with


DC-9-30 vs. DC-9-10





119ftJ.5in (36.37m)

104ft 5in (31.82m)





1,923 miles (3,095km)

1,265 miles (2,036km)

Empty Weight

57,190lb (25,940kg)

49,OOOlb (22,635kg)


93ft 5in (28.5m)

89ft 5in (27.25m)

several notable exceptions: it was longer and heavier, could carry more passengers and cargo, had an improved wing with a slightly longer wing span, could fly farther, and used more powerful versions of the JT8D engine. First designated DC-9-3550, and then DC-9-151, the DC-9-30 was the first stretched version of the Douglas twinjet, one that would become a standard-bearer against which future members of the family would be judged. The Series 30 is the most widely used member of the DC-9 family, accounting for about 60 per cent of the entire fleet. Schaufele, the former Douglas executive, says the DC-9-30 was his favourite model, not coincidentally because it was the most successful one. 'The DC-9-30 has a nice, clean wing. Perfect application. The right size. We met all the performance guarantees. We just outright designed a better aeroplane.' The DC-9-30 was launched with an order from Eastern Airlines and first flew on L August 1966, and was del ivered to the airline on 27 January 1967. It entered service on 1 February 1967. The Series 30 was stretched 9ft 6in (2.9m) over the DC- 9-10, to accommodate up to 115 passengers, making it much more economical to operate than the DC-9-10 or its rivals in terms of costs per seat- mile/kilometre. As the first DC-9 model with full-span leading-edge slats, in contrast to the fixed leading edge of the Series 10, the DC-9- 30 was able to maintain the DC-9-1O's abil ity to operate from short runways despite higher takeoff and landing weights. In fact, the new leading-edge


devices on the DC-9-30 enabled the model to achieve even lower landing approach speeds than the Series 10. For exampLe, the approach speed with full passengers, baggage and reserve fuel for the Series 10 is 145mph (232km/h), while the approach speed for the Series 30, with 5,0001b (2,268kg) of additional weight, is 135mph (217km/h). The slats, designed following extensive wind-tunnel testing, were later incorporated on other DC-9 models as well, providing higher climb lift. As an added benefit, the full-span slats weigh less than slotted flaps and they're easier to actuate and de-ice. It was the first time leading-edge high- Lift devices were used on a Douglas commercial transport. The Series 30 also offered triple-slotted flaps, making the model less dependent on aerofoil design to achieve increased range and higher payload. To accommodate the higher gross weight, the DC-9-30's wingspan was increased by 4ft (1.2m). Following completion of the initial aerodynamic design and wind-tunnel development of the DC-9-30 wing, hardware representing the system was designed and then flight-tested on the first DC-9-10 ever built. The flight programme included tests for cruise drag, takeoff climb drag, maximum lift capability, stall characteristics and general handling qualities. The experience from this programme was invaluable in documenting expected night characteristics, uncovering minor design problems and developing modifications prior to the development and certification ohhe DC-9-30.




BASE 1965




























1967 THAN DC-9·3D











SERIES 30 (C·9A)







FROM 77,000 POUNDS TO 149,600 POUNDS


FROM 104." FEET TO 147.8 FEET FROM 12.500 POUNDS TO 20,000 POUNDS






VOLUME FROM 600 CUBIC FEET TO 1,2.53 CUBIC FEET SERIES 30 (C-9B) 1972 NAVY The evolution

SERIES 30 (C-9B)



The evolution of the DC-9 family is shown in this Douglas illustration. Boeing

The Series 30 would go on to include higher-weight versions, the DC-9-31 and -32, with the -32 leading to the windowless, cargo-door equipped DC-9- 32AF, the convertible DC-9-32CF and the DC-9-32LWF (with no cargo door and intended for package carriers). A model DC-9-33 and -34, also with higher weights, were made available - just as the Series LO had different sub-variants based on maximum takeoff weight:

DC-9-31 - 98,0001b (44,452kg) DC-9-32 - 108,0001b (48,988kg) DC-9-33 -114,000Ib (5I,710kg) DC-9-34 - 121,000Ib (54,885kg)

The DC-9-30 is powered by ever-more- powerful models of the JT8D engine: the JT8D-9A, with 14,5001b (6,600kg) of thrust, the JT8D-11 with L5,0001b (6,800kg) of thrust, the ]T8D-15 with 15,500lb (7,000kg) of thrust and the ]T8D- 17 with 16,0001b (7,250kg) of thrust

performance and range being the right one for most operators in the United States and Europe.


Another upgrade in the family, the DC- 9-40, was developed in response to SAS's need for a short-range aircraft with more capacity on busier routes. The Series 40 incorporates a modest 6ft 4in (1.87m) fuselage stretch over the DC-9-30, raising single-class capacity to 125-L28, by two additional rows of five seats. With the higher capacity, however, the Series 40 has less range than its shorter siblings.

The DC-9-30 was primarily designed for operations on the US East Coast and Europe, where runways were available and

where the range of the

required - a key reason why the DC-9 family was slow to gain popularity elsewhere in the world. Douglas produced 662 DC-9-30s between 196oam] 1982, incluaing forty- seven for the US Air Force and US Navy. The DC-9-30 established a broad world- operating base, although the bulk have been operated by a few large carriers. The DC-9-30 is considered the standard DC- 9, a balance of capacity, runway

larger 72 7 was not


DC-9-40 vs. DC-9-10





125ft 7in (38.28m)

104 fe 5in (31.82m)





1,790 miles (2,880km)

1,923 miles (3,095km)

Empty Weight

58,670lb (26,612kg)

49,0001b (22,635kg)


93ft 5in (28.5m)

89 ft 5in (27.25m)






OF THE FAMILY EVOLUTION OF THE DC-9 DC-9-10 BASIC FUSELAGE o oooooooaoooooo@oooooooooo I • o 104.4




104.4 FT

(31.8 m)



DC-9-20m) • ,I ------------------------------------------------- SAME AS DC-9-10 o 0000000000000080000000000 o 179-IN.







---- :.

n :.:.:.:.;.oooooa@c@oooooooC+ ~

ooooooo~oW c _



(648 em)


c _ o 255-IN. FUSELAGE EXTENSION (648 em) Q .oo o ~°itmJ ~~o~, --- 350-IN. FUSELAGE


~°itmJ ~~o~,



o ~°itmJ ~~o~, --- 350-IN. FUSELAGE EXTENSION (889 em) ,-, :"G •• '.'')~~~~~ •• .l l.J

,-, :"G •• '.'')~~~~~•• .l











,. }\:;'-- .




89.4 FT

(27.2 m)








- - .1 ---~.-------------------- '-- HIGH-LIFT WING • ,C 93.3 FT (28.5 m) 3'"-"\ .1 DC-9


93.3 FT

(28.5 m)








, , \ " , , " " " " " ~~~;\~~--.~~ ~ I~ I
\ "
107.8 FT
• I

(32.9 m)


SAS: loyal Douglas Customer

For more than fifty years SAS, the national airline of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, preferred Douglas air- craft. With the exception of the DC-5, the airline flew all types, from the DC-3 to the DC-1 O. As a loyal cus- tomer, SAS (Scandinavian Airline Systeml had a strong influence in the 1950s and 1960s on the devel- opment of new aircraft. As a result, four models were specifically designed for the Nordic airline - two DC-8 models, the DC-8-62 and the DC-8-63, and two DC-9 variants, the OC-9-20 and OC-9-40. The OC-9-20 and OC-9-40 were intended to suc- ceed the first-generation Caravel Ie on SAS's European network and the Convair 440 Metropolitan propliner on domestic routes within the three Scandinavian countries. SAS ordered ten OC-9-20s in December 1966. The Series 20 was designed for the special operational requirements of SAS, to cope with small runways and harsh conditions at smaller domestic air- ports. It combined the short fuselage of the OC-9-1 0 and the larger, high-lift wings and more-powerful engines of the OC-9-30. The result was an aircraft with remarkable flying characteristics and perfor- mance ideal for short runways. SAS also was successful in persuading Douglas to produce the larger OC-9-40. When SAS ordered these models, it did so because capacity, rather than range capability, was a concern. Having made this point to Douglas earlier, an order was placed because no other short-range aircraft with the same capacity as the OC-9-40 was available for delivery within three years. Another factor influencing the choice of OC-9s was that Swissair ordered twelve, and both airlines worked closely together through operational agree- ments. SAS ultimately increased its OC-9-40 order to sixteen. SAS used its versatile OC-9 on European seg- ments, from the Norwegian polar island of Svalbard, the northern-most civil airport in the world, to south- ern Europe and the Middle East. In the 1970s, SAS operated the largest fleet of OC-9s outside the United States Up to sixty OC-9-40, -33AF freighters and OC- 9-20 variants flew in SAS colours. SAS later added the OC-9-30 and larger Series 50, MO-80 and MO-90 models to its fleet.

The DC-9-40 made its maiden flight on

28 November 1967, entering service with

SAS on 12 March 1968 following

certification on 27 February. The DC·9·

40 features JT8D.9, JT8D.15 or JT8D.17

engines. Apart from the fuselage stretch and more powerful engine options, the DC·9-40 is quite similar to the Series 30, using the same wing but offering additional fuel capacity.

built from

1972 to 1975, for just two customers, SAS and TOA of Japan. The aircraft later

-.§eventy·one DC;,2


Opposite: The family's fuselage extension is shown in this drawing. Boeing


DC-9-20 vs, DC-9-10





104ft Sin (31.82m)

104ft Sin (31.82m)





1,848 miles (2,974km)

1,923 miles (3,09Skm)

Empty Weight

52,880lb (23,985kg)

49,OOOlb (22,635kg)


93ft 5in (28.5m)

89ft 5in (27.25m)

found their way into the fleets of Finnair, Northwest Airlines and other carriers.


The fourth DC·9 model to enter service (although the second numerically) was

the DC·9·20, a combination of the earlier

Series 10 and 30 aircraft. This aircraFt first

flew on 18 September 1968, and was primarily designed for short routes, and for operations out of airports with short runways requiring optimum hot·and·high takeoff and landing performance. The DC-9·20 was designed at the request of one airline, SAS. This model combined the original short fuselage of the DC·9·10 with the longer and more advanced wing found on the Series 30, powered by a pair of more·powerful JT8D·

II engines. Just ten were builS for SAS.

The first Series 20 model entered service

on 23 January 1969 after certification on

11 December 1968. Its short body and large wing spawned a nickname for this version:

the Sporr. SAS flew its last DC-9·20 on 15

December 2000, although a few of the former SAS types carryon with small carriers in the United States and AFrica.


The Final model in the original DC-9

family was the DC·9·50, the largest aircraft to bear the 'DC·9' designation.

It included an additional 8ft (2.4m)

stretch over the DC-9·40, making it 14ft 3in (4.3m) longer than the DC-9·30, with seating increased to 139, Fourteen more than the Series 40 and twenty·four more than the Series 30. Its total length measured 133ft 7in (40.72m).

Douglas ~~tX·six Series 5Qs from 1975 to 1981, most of which are still in service with a dozen airlines. Over the years, DC·9· 50s flew wi th Eastern Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Swissair, SAS, TWA, Hawaiian Airlines, Finnair and other carriers. Announced on 5 July 1973, the DC-9· 50 flew for the first time on 17 December 1974, countering competition from the Boeing 737·200 ADV, an advanced model with bener performance. The Series 50 entered service with Swissair on 15 August 1975, a month behind schedule because of the effects of a prolonged labour strike earlier that year at McDonnell Douglas. The official type· certificate was awarded four days earlier after a seven·month flight development programme involving 570 hours of flight testing with two aircraft. Seven airlines - Swissair, Austrian, Finnair, Spantax, Hawaiian, Egyptair and Allegheny - ordered thirty·four DC·9·50s at the time of the first flight. The Series 50, introduced in a white and blue paint scheme with a gold and blue stripe extending the length of its fuselage, was the First aircraft to be equipped with the more powerFul JT8D·17 engines, each producing 16,0001b (7,250kg) of takeoff thrust. McDonnell Douglas touted the model's operating efficiency and environmental improvements, along with its passenger comfort and additional capacity. 'The reliability, comfort and performance excellence for which the DC·9 family of twinjets is so well known will be continued by the Series 50,' Jackson McGowan, president of the Douglas division of McDonnell Douglas, said in a


DC·9·50 vs. DC·9·10





133ft 7in (40. 72m)

104ft 5in (31.82m)






2,067 miles (3,326km)

1,923 miles (3,095km)

Empty Weight

52,8801b (23,985kg)

49,OOOIb (22,635kg)


93ft 5in (28.5m)

89ft 5in (27.25m)



EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY g~ It" -~ ~" 119 Single Class 29-,30-, and 31-ln. Pitch DC-9-30





119 Single Class 29-,30-, and 31-ln. Pitch


115 Single Cia

32-ln. Pitch



97 Mixed Cia 12 First Cia 38-ln. Pitch

85 Coach Cia

34-ln. Pitch


Pitch 85 Coach Cia 34-ln. Pitch EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY Above: The DC-9-30 was the second

Above: The DC-9-30 was the second member of the DC-9 family. Boeing

Opposite: Typical seating arrangements in the DC-9-30. Boeing

company announcement. 'This new version is designed for those short-to- medium-range routes where traffic is increasing but has not yet reached a volume requiring wide-cabin jetliner service. ' In addition to a longer fuselage and improved engines, another change was the add ition of small strakes on the forward fuselage. Unique among subsonic airliners, the stl"akes - long, thin pieces that protrude from the fuselage below the cockpit windows - were needed to improve stability at low speeds given the ai rcraft's longer fuselage. Other improvements in the Series 50 included new landing gear and upgraded anti-skid braking system. The DC-9-50 was also different from the inside. A new-look interior - patterned after its widebody cousin, the DC-la, which was entering service around the same time - included new overhead luggage racks, sculptured wall

Models That Never Made It

In 1977 McDonnell Douglas designed a short-field ver- sion of the OC-9-20 to meet a growing requirement from Japan's domestic carriers for an aircraft that could serve lower-density domestic routes. Although it never entered service, this lighter-weight version of the Series 20 was configured to carry between eighty-five and ninety-five passengers. In addition to its lower operating weight and higher-thrust engines, the OC-9- 22 design configuration had extra wing spoilers, over- sized low-pressure tyres and a modified centre of grav- ity that would permit a lower approach speed. These features were aimed at adapting the aircraft for opera- tions from the short - slightly under 4,OOOft (1,200m)- runways at some Japanese domestic airports; strips that were used during World War II but could not be expanded. The Series 22 would have incorporated the cockpit and cabin configuration of the OC-9-40. The OC-9-22 was aimed at the same market the company was trying to satisfy with its proposed (but never built) OC-9-QSF (quiet short field). Airframe changes to this paper plane included 500lb (227kg) less weight than the standard Series 20 with the removal of the ventral stairway and the addition of a third set of inboard spoilers that help to shorten the -22's landing rollout. The original OC-9 design has three spoilers on each wing, but the inboard panels were eliminated when it was determined that the two outboard sets could meet the OC-9's field requirements. Also incorpo- rated on the proposed OC-9-22 was an advanced anti- skid system, higher-thrust JTBO-15 or -17 engines,

oversized low-pressure tyres to reduce the landing gear footprint, and all design improvements developed for the OC-9 over a decade. The OC-9-QSF, proposed under a NASA study, was never economically feasible because it would have required new engines to reduce noise, a move that would have added millions of dollars to the cost of each aircraft. At the time no US operators had a need for the proposed aircraft since existing powerplants were already meeting noise requirements. The QSF model was pitched to Japanese customers. Airlines there were looking to replace their fleets of Nihon YS- 11 twin turboprops. The 12B-passenger QSF, based on the OC-9-40, would have been capable of operating from Japan's numerous short runways. Modifications that would have been added to the QSF model include leading-edge variable flaps, extended trailing-edge flaps, additional spoilers, 2ft (61cm) wingtip extensions and more advanced JTBO-200 engines (which ended up debuting on the developing MO-BO series). A higher flotation landing gear also was offered as an optional feature to meet the low load-classification of Japan- ese domestic runways. Another idea was low-pressure tyres, at 95-1 OOpsi compared to 130-135psi on stan- dard OC-9 tyres. The automatic braking system, the nosewheel brakes and a new anti-skid system intro- duced on the OC-9-50 were all envisioned in the model to shorten the landing roll. While Douglas focused on Japan, it also marketed the QSF in other parts of the world, ultimately without success.


EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY Left: A comparison of the DC-9-10 and DC-9-30 wing design. Boeing
Left: A comparison of the DC-9-10 and DC-9-30
wing design. Boeing
Opposite top: Delta Air lines. the launch carrier for
the DC-9-10. also flew the Series 30. Boeing
Opposite bottom: The DC-9s were produced at the
same long Beach factory as the DC-B. Here DC-9-
30s on the assembly line with DC-Bs in the
background. Boeing
Below: At the model's peak. Douglas was producing
more than 200 DC-9-30s a year. Boeing


more than 200 DC-9-30s a year. Boeing 58 EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY ~ 1 - C)


1 -






more than 200 DC-9-30s a year. Boeing 58 EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY ~ 1 - C)








more than 200 DC-9-30s a year. Boeing 58 EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY ~ 1 - C)



EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY Eastern Airlines was a major operator of the DC-9-30. Boeing An Aeromexico

Eastern Airlines was a major operator of the DC-9-30. Boeing

Eastern Airlines was a major operator of the DC-9-30. Boeing An Aeromexico DC-9-30 on the flight

An Aeromexico DC-9-30 on the flight line in Long Beach. Like its predecessor, the Series 30 is well suited for servicing airports with little ground support. Boeing



little ground support. Boeing 60 EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY An Eastern Airlines DC-9-30, seen during flight

An Eastern Airlines DC-9-30, seen during flight testing. Boeing

panels, acoustically treated ceiling panels, soft indirect lighting, and use of advanced II1terior finish materials also developed for the DC-lO. The flight-deck layout on the DC-9-50 IS similar to the DC-9-30, so crews can fly hoth types. On the other hand, benefiting from its experience in developing the family over the years, McDonnell Douglas made improvements to such components ,IS the autopilot and weather radar. The model was also upgraded with an automatic engine-synchronization system to match turbine rotation speeds, and an air data system to alert the crew of pre- selected altitudes. The DC-9-50's first flight occurred one week after its rollout. Lasting five hours and ten minutes, the aircraft flew over the Pacific Ocean and parts of California and Arizona at an altitude of up to 35,OOOft (IO,600m) to check on the performance and control characteristics of the engines, autopilot and major systems. The fl igh t took place on the seventy-fi rst anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight. (Their aircraft flew less than the distance covered by the Series 50's fuselage.)

DC-9 Milestones

15 February 1963

8 April 1963

25 April 1963

1July 1963


July 1963


July 1963


August 1963


November 1963


January 1964

6 March 1964

13 May 1964

20 July 1964

24 July 1964

4 September 1964

14 October 1964

5 November 1964


January 1965


February 1965


September 1965


November 1965

8 December 1965

1August 1966

13 January 1967

Douglas Aircrah Board of Directors authorizes start of detail engineering

Douglas announces decision to produce DC-9

Delta Air Lines orders fiheen, options fifteen Bonanza Airlines orders three, options three

Completion of wind-tunnel tests for initial configuration

Production under way in Long Beach plant - first spar cap milled

Design finalized for two-person cockpit

Air Canada orders six

Assembly of first wing begins at de Havilland Canada.

Assembly of first fuselage begins at Long Beach

Swissair orders ten

Trans World Airlines orders twenty, options twenty

Assembly of first DC-9 fuselage passes halfway point

First wing arrives in Long Beach

Wing and fuselage joined for first DC·9

Hawaiian orders two

First DC-9 rolled out in public ceremony

First flight of DC-9-10

First delivery of DC-9 to Delta Air Lines

FAA certification of DC-9-1 0

First revenue flight with Delta Air Lines First flight of DC-9-30

Douglas and McDonnell merge


February 1967

DC-9-30 enters service


November 1967

DC-9-40 first flight


March 1968

DC-9-40 enters service


September 1968

DC-9-20 first flight


January 1969

DC-9-20 enters service

5July 1973

DC-9-50 announced


December 1974

DC-9-50 first flight


August 1975

DC-9-50 enters service


October 1982

Final DC-9 (C-9B) delivered to US Navy



EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY ~~LAS , DC-9-40 . • -- - ----~- -~ ~ ••. iii·




. • -- - ----~- -~ ~ ••. iii· ••••••• ", "",. " , ,
~ ••.
••••••• ",
, ,
, _

The DC-9-40, first produced for SAS and Japan's lOA, features a fuselage 6ft 4in (1.87m) longer than the DC-9-30. Boeing

a fuselage 6ft 4in (1.87m) longer than the DC-9-30. Boeing The DC-9-40 with another famous long

The DC-9-40 with another famous long Beach resident, the Queen Mary. Boeing


EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY Perhaps the type's best selling points were its more environmentally friendly
Perhaps the type's best selling points
were its more environmentally friendly
engines and better per-seat economics.
The DC-9-50 was known as the 'inflation
fighter' for its favourable fuel
consumption and relatively low operating
costs. Its JT8D-15 or -17 engines gave the
Series 50 the honour of being the quietest
member of the family, with sound
absorption material in the engines and
nacelles also found on the DC-lO. Its
ability to perform quieter takeoffs
benefited airport neighbours - and was a
prime reason Swissair chose the model.
With its extra capacity and lower break-
even costs, the DC-9-50 offers economic
advantages over earlier models of the DC-9,
particularly on high-density routes. Seat-
mile costs (the cost of operating a flight, per
seat and per mile flown) were calculated to
be about 15 per cent lower than those on
the Series 30, although payload and range
suffered in summer conditions or at high-
altitude airports. Another saving came from
the DC-9-50 having a high degree of
commonality with the systems and
components of earlier DC-9s.
The DC-9-40 offered additional capacity for busier routes. Just seventy-one of the models were built
between 1972 and 1975. Boeing
The Series 50's largest downfall, perhaps,
was that it had the same engines that
powered shorter DC-9s, giving it the
impression that it was underpowered.
There was talk in the 1980s of improving
its performance by re-equipping with the
JT8D-200 series engines that went on to
power the DC-9-50's successor, the MD-80
series, but those engines were just too big
to be considered, and would have imposed
serious weight and balance problems. Also
considered for an engine replacement on
the family was the Rolls-Royce Tay 670,
but that programme also never
materialized because it would have meant a
competitor for the Fokker 100, a twinjet
that entered service in 1987 with Rolls
engines. Despite their improvements, the
DC-9-40 and -50 models sold only
modestly before the arrival of the further
stretched MD-80 series.
Nevertheless, nearly forty years after
beginning operations and two decades
after the final DC-9 rolled off the
assembly line, the DC-9 family today
remains a mainstay for dozens of airlines
around the world, still building a
worldwide reputation for reliability and
durability unmatched by any other
aircraft model. Today, the worldwide
fleet makes more than 3,500 flights per
day, with each aircraft averaging more
than five hours of revenue service daily.
Over the years, DC-9 aircraft have flown
some sixty million hours of revenue
The economics of the DC-9, in
addition to the model's reliability, is the
main reason why so many are still in
service today. Flying seven hours per day
with a 60 per cent average load factor, the
DC-9 could pay for itself, including spare
parts, in about four years from passenger
revenues alone. This is why several
airlines, with plenty of DC-9s already paid
for, will continue flying the model despite
the lure of newer aircraft and escalating
fuel prices.


EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY A total of976 DC-9s were built between 1964 and 1982. Today
A total of976 DC-9s were built between
1964 and 1982. Today more than half of
the DC-9s delivered remain operational,
thanks in part to hush kits - mufflers for
engines - to meet noise regulations, further
extending the life of a venerable model.
The final DC-9, a C-9B military variant,
was delivered to the US Navy on October
28, 1982.
A Series 40 undergoing final assembly. Boeing
Improvements and Upgrades
Over the years, the DC-9 underwent
hundreds of improvements designed to
extend the life of the aircraft and make it
more efficient. From new cabins to
cockpit upgrades, DC-9s operating today
are greatly different to the ones that first
entered service in the 1960s.
To keep its DC-9 fleet competitive with
newer aircraft such as the Airbus Industrie
A320 family and Boeing 737s, operators
have spent millions of dollars on installing
noise suppression systems in the cabin
alone. Noise in the cabin was among the
earliest complaints about the DC-9 but
technology, developed long after the aircraft
debuted, has helped to alleviate those
Upgrade programmes have included
new avionics systems, weather radar,
navigation and communication systems,
structural modifications, interior refur-
bishment and exterior paint. Other
modern marvels, including windshear
detection and global positioning, have
been added to many DC-9s.
Although supplanted by the MD-80
series, a large number of DC-9s remain in
service in 2002, with more than sixty
operators, almost three-quarters of them in
North America. While many are being
retired (particularly after the industry
turmoil following the terrorist attacks of II
September 200 I) or replaced with newer,
more fuel-efficient aircraft, others continue
to be attractive to airlines around the world.
The decision to retire additional DC-9s
will be made by economics and not
technical considerations, since the DC-9
fuselage can withstand 140,000 or more
cycles before encountering structural
problems, although regulatory agencies
are becoming increasingly stricter with
older high-time aircraft.
As the original DC-9 family ages and the
total number of operating cycles increases,
several issues have been identified related
to fatigue:
• Cracked bulkheads
• Cracks in emergency doors
• Cracks in main landing-gear fitting
• Skin cracks on tail
• Rudder skin cracks
• Corrosion
• Belly skin cracks
The number of DC-9s ordered - and still
in service - is a testament to the attractive



- , Ser/es 20 - °C's



Ser/es 20



- , Ser/es 20 - °C's




- , Ser/es 20 - °C's _   -        
- , Ser/es 20 - °C's _   -        

The DC-9-20. produced at the request of SAS. combines the fuselage of the DC-9-10 with the high-lift wing found on the DC-9-30 and the more-powerful JT8D engines found on the DC-9-40. It is shown here during a test flight. Boeing

-- II
It is shown here during a test flight. Boeing -- II -- The DC-9-50. the last


It is shown here during a test flight. Boeing -- II -- The DC-9-50. the last

The DC-9-50. the last member of the original DC-9 family, was rolled out in December 1974. Boeing



"., .

The Series 50, seen here on its first flight on December 171974, is 14ft (4.3mllonger than the DC-9-30, providing for a capacity of up to 139 passengers. The first flight lasted more than five hours. Boeing

". "c;:;:o"
". "c;:;:o"
lasted more than five hours. Boeing ". "c;:;:o" The Series 50 seen during a test flight.
lasted more than five hours. Boeing ". "c;:;:o" The Series 50 seen during a test flight.
lasted more than five hours. Boeing ". "c;:;:o" The Series 50 seen during a test flight.
lasted more than five hours. Boeing ". "c;:;:o" The Series 50 seen during a test flight.

The Series 50 seen during a test flight. The model was dubbed the 'inflation fighter' for its fuel efficiency at a time of rising fuel costs. Boeing


EVOLUTION OF THE FAMILY Family at a Glance OC-9-10 First production model OC-9-20 Combination of
Family at a Glance
First production model
Combination of
OC-9-1 0 fuselage and OC-9
30 wing
Fuselage stretch, longer wing
Fuselage stretch, more powerful JTSO
Fuselage stretch, more powerful JTSO
Fuselage stretch, wingspan increase, JTSO-
200 engines
More powerful JTSO-200 engines
Version for hot and high performance
Fuselage shrink
New avionics
Fuselage stretch, V2500 engines
New avionics, interior, BR7l5 engines
The DC-9-50 cabin, patterned after the widebody
DC-1O, features recessed indirect-lighting, broad
flat ceiling panels, and sidewall panels restyled to
emphasize cabin width. Boeing
The DC-9-50 is equipped with JT8D-17 engines featuring sound-absorbent material in the nacelles and
engines to reduce noise levels during takeoff. Boeing
operating economics of the type. Douglas
and McDonnell Douglas were able to offer
a family of aircraft flexible enough to
meet the varying demands of the
operators. The DC-9-30, in particular, has
managed to retain high values due to their
excellent operating characteristics.
Although originally purchased in large
numbers by major American carriers,
fledgling and expanding operators
throughout the world have created a
substantial demand for the type over the
years, reflecting their low cost relative to
new aircraft and their ability to provide
flexibility in terms of capacity and range.
The DC-9, even without the
succeeding MD-80 series, can certainly
be considered an enormous success in
terms of airframe manufacturing. Only
the Boeing 737 and 727 surpassed the
original DC-9s in terms of numbers
(including the MD-80 series, the DC-9 is
second after the 737). The number of
aircraft still in service, the extensive
0rerator base, combined with the
orerating economics of the aircraft and
relatively low acquisition costs compared
to new aircraft, are likely to keep DC-9s
flying for years to come. Although DC-9s
were fitted with hush kits during the late
1990s to meet Stage Three noise
requirements, their retirement may be
speeded up should a more stringent
regulation, Stage Four, take effect, or if
fuel prices are too much for the old



The FaDlily Grows:

The MD-80 Series

With more efficient engine technology becoming available in the mid-1970s and a growing demand for more fuel-efficient and quieter commercial jets, McDonnell Douglas - seven years before the last of the origi nal DC-9s rolled off the production line - announced it would extend the DC-9 family to an entirely new, yet related, line of aircraft: the Super 80 series. Officially known as the DC-9-80, the family would be popularly known as the MD-80 series, consisting of five models that, like the original DC-9, offered various weights, ranges and passenger capacities to accommodate the needs of airlines. In addition to new Pratt & Whitney ]T8D-200 series engines, among the improvements in this modernized DC-9 were bigger wings, a longer fuselage, advanced avionics and a new, more modern interior, providing the already successful aircraft family with an even more promising future. The MD-80 line combines newer technology with proven features of the DC-9 family, proViding performance characteristics designed to meet the demands of a new decade in terms of economics, operations, environment and regulatory needs. Like the DC-9, it was designed as a short-haul airliner, but its added enhancements gave the MD-80 series the ability to cover longer, medium- range routes. The MD-80 series developed over two decades of production to comprise the MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-87 and MD-88. This line would go on to outsell the original DC-9 series, and together they gave McDonnell Douglas the honour of producing the second most popular modern-day aircraft fam il y.

Various seating arrangements in the MD-81.




155 Single CUI 31 to 33.10. Pitch


172 Single Class

30"0_ Pitch

147 Mixed a

12 First Class

36·10. Pitdl

135 Coadl aa.

32 and 33~ln. Pitdt


Specifications - MD-80 series

Powerplant MO-81: Two 19,2301b (8,700kg) Pratt & Whitney JT80-209 MO-82: Two 20.8901b (9,500kg) Pratt & Whitney JT80-217A/C MO-83 and MO-88: Two 21 ,6901b (9,840kg) Pratt & Whitney JT80-219 MO-87: Two 20,8301b (9,450kg) Pratt & Whitney JT80-217B/C or -219


Empty 77,888Ib (35,885kg) (MO-81); 77,9761b (35,369kgl (MO-82, -88); 85,4891b (38,737kg) (MO-83); 73,2741b (33,237kg) (MO-87) Gross 140.0001b (63,505kg) (MO-81, MO-871; 149,5001b (67,810kg) (MO-81 with JT80-217A engines, MO-82, MO-88!; 160,0001b (72.575kg) (MO-83) Maximum landing 128,0001b (58,060kg) (MO-81, MO-87); 130,0001b (58,965kg) (MO-82, MO-88); 139,5001b (63,275kgl (MO-83)


Length 147ft lOin (45.1ml (MO-81, -82, -83, -88); 130ft 4in (39.76m) (MO-87); height 29ft 7in (9.02m); 30ft 4in (9.3m) (MO-87); wingspan 107ft lOin (32.87m); wing area 1.209sq ft (112.3sq m); fuselage diameter 11 ft lOin (361 m); tailwing span 40ft 2in (12.24m); tailwing area 314sq ft (29.17sq m)


Cruising speed 504mph (813km/h) or Mach 0.76; landing speed 139mph (224 km/h)

Ceiling 37.000 feet (11 ,275m) Range 1,800 miles (2,897km) (MO-81); 2,360 miles (3,798km) (MO-82, MO-88); 2,880 miles (4,635km) (MO-83!; 2,730 miles (4,393 km) (MO-87) Takeoff 7,250ft (2,21 Om) (MO-81); 7,450ft (2,270m) (MO-82); 8,375ft (2,552m) (MO-83); 6,1 OOft (1 ,859m) (MO-87)

Landing 4,850ft (1 ,478m) (MO-81); 4,920ft (1 ,500m) (MO-82); 4,690ft

(1.585m) (MO-83); 4,690ft (1 ,429m) (MO-871

Passenger capacity:

One class 172 (MO-81I; 172 (MO-82);172 (MO-83); 139 (MO-87); 172 (MO-88) Two class 155 (MO-81); 153 (MO-82); 155 (MO-83); 130 (MO-87); 153 (MO-88)


Width 10ft 4in (314m); height 6ft 9in (2.06m)

Fuel capacity:

5,840USgal. (22,1061) (MO-81, MO-82, MO-87, MO-88); 7,000USgal. (26,4951) (MO-83, MO-87 with auxiliary fuel tanks)


40,1121b (18,194kg) (MO-81); 44,0241b (19,969kg) (MO-82, -88); 42,3141b (19,193kg) (MO-831; 38.3761b (17,566kg) (MO-871

Design and Development

Like all successful products, the MD-80

series fulfilled a need in the marketplace. In this case the need was brought on by rising fuel costs and pressure from airport neighbours and environmentalists, particularly in Europe and the United States, to reduce pollution and aircraft noise. With new, more fuel-efficient engine technology available, McDonnell Douglas moved quickly to offer airlines a new option. It was during the throes of recession in December 1975 that the company announced it was proceeding with a new DC-9 design. Company officials felt that, since it would be the first new jetliner built by the combined McDonnell Douglas, it deserved a new designation as well. As a result, the familiar DC-9 moniker was changed to the more descriptive MD-80 (for McDonnell Douglas) series. It was marketed as the 'Super 80' to reflect the planned in- service date of 1980.

Prior to its well-known MD-80 name, early design configurations for the type were known, at various times, as the DC-9- 60, DC-9-55, DC-9-55RSS (Re-fanned Super Stretch) before the DC-9-80, which was formally launched in 1977. The Super 80 began showing up in company marketing brochures in 1976, along with a proposed model powered by standard ]T8D engines and one with the CFM56 engine, then a new entrant in the medium-sized aircraft market. Noise considerations ruled out the standard-engine option, and airline wariness of the unproven CFM56 eliminated that version from consideration. The focus then turned to the Pratt & Whitney ]T8D-200 engine, which was being tested as part of a US government- funded project to re-engine existing aircraft to reduce aircraft noise. By the end of 1976 discussions were under way with long-time customer Swissair on a stretched DC-9 that would be powered by the enhanced, more efficient, higher bypass-ratio engines.


Frustrated with the lack of success of the DC-9-50, the last member of the original DC-9 family, McDonnell Douglas was hopeful that a new but similar aircraft would win over both current customers and potential new ones. With standard engines and an unmodified Series 30 wing, the DC-9-50 did not sell enough units to make a return for the company. It also failed to make environmental inroads. Swissair, for example, ran into serious community-relations problems around its home airports when it became clear the -50 was noisier than even the carrier's DC-9-30s. Protests against the Series 50 were sufficient to end additional purchases and lead McDonnell Douglas to continue work on a successor. In addition, Swissair and other customers were looking for a higher-capacity, longer-range airl iner with the DC-9's formula for success. Swissair had two alternatives: buy additional DC-9-50s (economically sound but environmentally risky) or press for a


THE FAMILY GROWS: THE MD-80 SERIES new and more expensive DC-9 with new engines. In order

new and more expensive DC-9 with new engines. In order to maximize the operating costs of the MD-80 series, fifteen additional seats were added to the DC-9-50 design, leading to a fuselage stretch. The larger wing - needed to achieve desirable flight characteristics - also meant an increase in the aircraft's weight. These innovations led to an aircraft that had the same operating costs

as the DC-9-50 but used less fuel, could carry more passengers and was quieter. Swissair was convinced that this aircraft would be ideal for its fleet, despite a 33 per cent higher acquisition cost. The company's then-president, Armin Baltensweiler, visited McDonnell Douglas in January 1977 to plead the

The MD-80 series has a unique shape. Chris Coduto

The DC-9 re-fan project tested the JT8D-200 series engine on the DC-9-30 fuselage. Boeing

case for a new aircraft and, on 19 October 1977, McDonnell Douglas finally decided to go ahead, following Swissair's decision, on 29 September 1977, to sign a contract for fifteen units. (Swissair, a loyal European customer, was the first airline in Europe to operate the DC-IO and also operated the DC-9-30, - 40 and -50 models as well.) In a way, an airline had to convince McDonnell Douglas to build an aircraft - as opposed to the usual practice of aircraft manufacturers marketing to airlines. The first model of this new series, the DC-9-81 (MD-81 as it's commonly known) is the sixth member of the DC- 9 family. McDonnell Douglas evaluated a range of DC-9 derivatives prior to settling on the final design. The model's earliest prototype featured a DC-9-30 fitted with JT8D-200 engines. Another, the DC-9-55, used the same engine with a 12ft 8in (3.86m) stretched fuselage over the DC-9-50. Yet another included a DC-9-30 with an all-new wing, but that option was rejected as being too expensive and inefficient to develop.




to develop. -- 70 THE FAMILY GROWS: THE MD-80 SERIES A small team of design engineers

A small team of design engineers spent

several months studying possible

configurations for the Super 80 before concluding that a 14ft 3in (4.36m) fuselage stretch was optimum for the market needs and would lower direct operating costs. (The MD-80 could have been stretched even further - by six feet, or 1.83m, to accommodate ten additional passengers. ) Takeoff gross weight had to be higher than earlier DC-9 models to give the aircraft - nearly the size of the Boeing 72 7 - the desired range with increased payload. Douglas engineers acknowledged early in the design process that a new wing would be required. Later, the team concluded that extending the wing root and tip of the wing used on the DC-9-30 and -50, with improvements to the existing high lift system, would provide the increased fuel capacity and performance they were seeking.

It quickly became clear that the Super

80 was more than a simple rework of the DC-9. It would be the biggest project in

Long Beach since the DC-I O. McDonnell Douglas corporate headquarters in St Louis was cautious of moving ahead with a new model, perhaps because of the DC- 9-50's lack of success but also because of Boeing's cancellation in 1975 of the 727- 300, a new version of the 72 7 that eventually spawned an all-new aircraft, the 757. The 727-300 was technically comparable with the DC-9-55 prototype, and Boeing had decided that the technology level of the aircraft was not high enough to offer a large long-term market. British Aerospace also had dropped its proposed re-engined BAC 1-


The key to the break-even point on the latest DC-9 model was the US regional market, and the company insisted on an order from a US carrier before it would go ahead with the programme, which it marketed to fifty-two existing DC-9 operators. The initial response from airlines was lukewarm, and the redesigned Super 80 was formally launched with just twenty-


An interior view of the MD-80 series. Boeing

seven firm orders, nine options and a letter of intent for three models from a total of just four airlines. Swissair, which took the lead in urging production of the aircraft model, placed orders for fifteen and options for five. Austrian Airlines, which had a partnership with Swissair, ordered eight and took options for four, while Southern Airways (to become Republic Airlines upon delivery) ordered four. In addition, the letter of intent for three aircraft came from Venezuela's Linea Aeropostal Venezolan. At the time, McDonnell Douglas forecast a market for 430 of the type by 1990 - in reality, 682 were delivered by then - and an overall market potential of 800. To the company's surprise, a total of 1,191 MD-80 series aircraft were produced for sixty-nine airlines over twenty-one years. Except for a few involved in accidents and a smattering of early retirements, all continue in service to this day.


THE FAMILY GROWS: THE MD-80 SERIES McDonnell Douglas leaders promised customers the Super 80 would help

McDonnell Douglas leaders promised customers the Super 80 would help ease critical environmental, economic and energy problems facing airlines at the time. They boasted the new DC-9 model would have the lowest operating costs of any aircraft in its class, with fuel consumption the lowest for any existing commercial jet. With its new engines, the aircraft was touted to be only half as loud as rlanes powered by original JT8D engines. About 1,800 employees worked on the design, test flight and manufacturing planning stages of the MD-80 rrogramme, with thousands more later on the production end. MD-80 develorment cost McDonnell Douglas $800 million in late- 1970s dollars, and the comrany estimated at the time that it would reach profitability with delivery of the 100th aircraft. Joe Callaghan, a thirty-four-year Douglas veteran, was the chief design engi neer for the M D-80 after i I' en tered service, and was general manager of engineering for rhe entire twinjet line

The Super 80 first took flight in wind tunnels. where its final shape was tested for aerodynamic performance. Boeing

before his retirement. He says the key to

produci ng the M D-80 series was the more

advanced engine technology:

Improved engines helped ro conquer rlVo key issues: fuel efficiency and airport noise. The MD-80 had the distinction ar rhe rime as being rhe mosr fuel-efficient and quieresr aircraft in irs class. Another factor thar led ro rhe MD-80 lVas rhe need to carry more passengers. Bener engines mean ir could carry more people.

The Super 80 forced rivals Boeing, Lockheed and Airbus to galvanize their plans for future aeroplanes. Not only did the Super 80 steal a jump on new- generation rlanes, it also posed a real threat to booming sales of the 727-200, rhen the industry's hottest-selling aircraft. A combination of escalating development costs and the limited financial resources available to airline customers compelled McDonnell Douglas to concentrate on

customers compelled McDonnell Douglas to concentrate on 72 develoring a derivative that drew maximum performance


customers compelled McDonnell Douglas to concentrate on 72 develoring a derivative that drew maximum performance gains

develoring a derivative that drew maximum performance gains from rroven designs. Developments thaI' led from rhe DC-9- 50 to the Super 80 were so extensive it may as well be considered a new aircraft. It was the fourth stretch in the DC-9 family, but the first time an advanced- generation powerplant was added as rart o( the derivative formula. Adarting the JT8D-209 engines, each rated at 18,5001b (8,400kg) of thrust, made it possible to stretch the Super 80 and meet the stringent noise regulations and fuel efficiency requirements of the I980s. McDonnell Douglas engineers considered several fuselage lengths and seati ng caraci ties before sett! ing on the rresent configuration when marketing studies indicated it had the widest arpeal

An aircraft throttle. mounted on a pedestal. was used as a signal to open assembly-building doors to unveil the first two Super 80s. Grasping the throttles were (from left) John Brizendine. then- president of the Douglas Aircraft division of McDonnell Douglas. Hubert Papousek and Anton Heschgl of Austrian Airlines. Armin BaltensweiJer. then-president of Swissair. and Sanford McDonnell. then-president of McDonnell Douglas. Swissair and Austrian Airlines were the first to order the newest version of the DC-9. Boeing


of the DC-9. Boeing THE FAMILY GROWS: THE MD-80 SERIES among the world's airlines. The baseline

among the world's airlines. The baseline DC-9-80 model, the DC-9-81 (known as rhe M D-81 for the year iI' entered service), has an overall length of 147ft lOin (45.1m) - 45ft Sin (13.7m) longer rhan the original Series 10 and 14ft 3in (4.3m) longer than the DC-9-50. Maximum cabin capacity in the MD-80 series is 172 passengers in a one-class seating arrangement. The standard cabin

layout accommodates 137 people in two classes with twelve seats in first class and 125 in coach. An alternative 155-rassenger economy class interior also is offered. The Super 80 carries twice the passenger load and nearly half as many seats again as the DC-9-30, the family's most common type prior to the Super 80. (The rhrase 'Super 80' is still found on window shades on models operating even today.)

and baggage, the

initial Surer 80 had a nonstop range of between 1,500 and 2,700 miles (2,410 to 4,345km), depending on the model, at a cruise speed of 546mph (878km/h). The increased fuselage length gave the Super 80 a below-deck cargo volume of 1,294cu (I' (36.6cu m). The aft cargo-hold door was increased over the DC-9 to the 50in by 53 in size (1.27m by 1.34m) of the two front fuselage doors to take advantage of the increased volume.

Wi th 13 7 passengers

The Super 80 was rolled out with the help of bagpipers. saluting the Scottish heritage of McDonnell Douglas. Boeing

Other major airframe changes made on the Super 80 included extending the wing from the 93ft 4in (28.5m) span used on all earlier DC-9 models to 107ft lOin (32.87m) by adding 2ft (6Icm) extensions to each tip and a 10ft 6in (3.2m) centre wing-section plug. The

wi ng changes resu Ited ina 28 per cent

increase in total area - to 1,279sq ft (119sq m) - and rrovided volume for an added 1,520USgal. (5,7541) of fuel. The span of the horizontal stabilizer on the Super 80 was also increased to 40ft 1in (12.2m), which is 3ft 6in (1.06m) wider than that used on all rrevious DC-9s. The maximum height at the top of the Ttail is 29ft 4in (8.93m), 1ft 4in (39.6cm) higher

than that of the Series SO model. Visually, it is the length of the Super 80 that is most striking; the more so as all but

a single 19in (48.26cm) frame of the

stretch over the DC-9-50 is ahead of the wing. Sleek, aerodynamic and rocket-like, the MD-80 is among the most recognizable

aircraft flying today. With the same narrow body and circular cross-section as its predecessor, the M D-80's fuselage is extended far forward of the wings, making

it simple to tell the external difference


between this offspring and its DC-9 rarent. Aside from the MD-87, which is a shortened, version, it is difficult to tell the models aran visually unless an observer knows the variants each airline uses.

Improvements Over Earlier DC-9s

Along with its new technology and

M D-80 series

retained the ruggedness and durability that was the hallmark of the DC-9 family. From the cockpit to the engines and from the interior to the wings, the series offered a host of improvements over its earlier siblings, enhancements that appealed to a wide array of operators around the world. In addition to larger passenger capacity, better rer-sear costs and significantly lower noise levels and emissions, other imrrovements designed into the MD-80 series included a digital flight guidance system, three-rosition slats, easier access to cargo COl11rartments, and a new aft galley door. The digital flight guidance system integrates nine subsystems into two identical digital computers, providing lower crew workload, greater reliability and lower maintenance costs. The three-position slats

stretched fuselage, the


THE FAMILY GROWS: THE MD·80 SERIES enable pilots to select virtually any takeoff lift settings, within

enable pilots to select virtually any takeoff lift settings, within specified limits, permitting optimum takeoff performance. The MO-80 series also differs from its predecessor by incorporating a flat cargo floor, a second loading door in the forward fuselage, and an aft compartment door to facilitate cargo handling.

Fuselage Stretch

The most obvious difference over earlier versions is the length of the M 0-80 series. With the notable exception of the MO- 87, all variants in the model - MO-8!, MO-82, MO-83 and MO-88 - have the

The rollout ceremony featured flight attendants dressed in the uniforms of launch customers. Boeing

same length: 147ft lOin (45.lm). Stretching the Super 80 to 171 in (4.34m) more than the OC-9-50 led to several changes to the fuselage. The stretch was accomplished by inserting a 152in (3.86m) plug forward of the wing and a 19in (48cm) plug aft of the wing, making it possible to insert four more rows of seats than on the OC-9-50. This greater length also increased cargo volume to 1,253sq ft (35.5sq m) in three belly compartments, two of which are forward of the wing. The MO-87, as described later, has a fuselage length of 130ft Sin (39.75m). That's 17ft Sin (5.3m) shorter than the rest of the family, or similar in length to the 0C-9-30.

Wing, Tail and Exteriors

Aside from the fuselage, the most extensive structural alteration in the Super 80 was in the wing, which is where one begins to wonder where the derivative ends and new aircraft begins. To create a wing that could carry a longer fuselage, the existing OC-9 wing outer panels were sliced off the centre section and mated to a new box, adding 10ft 6in (3.2m) to the wingspan, with a 2ft (6Icm)

Flight testing the Super 80 series took place largely in Yuma, Arizona. Boeing

Super 80 series took place largely in Yuma, Arizona. Boeing 74 TilE FAMILY GROWS: THE MD·80
Super 80 series took place largely in Yuma, Arizona. Boeing 74 TilE FAMILY GROWS: THE MD·80


TilE FAMILY GROWS: THE MD·80 SERIES ~xtension added to each wingtip. This ulI1figuration increased the
~xtension added to each wingtip. This
ulI1figuration increased the wing area by
The MO-81 underwent 1,085 hours of flight testing, in a programme marred by two accidents during the
certification period. Boeing

280sq ft (26sq m), or 28 per cent more than the OC-9-50. For all intents and purposes, the result was a new wing, with two sections of flaps per side instead of one, a different profile and additional spoi leI'S and slat sections. The wing on the MO-80 series, with a redesigned centre section, is 10 per cent more fuel efficient than that of a OC-9- 30, -40 or -50. The new centre section was also redesigned. Of the 5,779USgal. (2 1,8761) of fuel capacity in the new wing, 2,100USgal. (7,9491) are extra capacity in the thicker centre section of the wing, resulting in 59 per cent more fuel capacity over the original OC-9. The angle of sweep on the M0-80 series wing remains the same, at 24.5 degrees, but the aspect ratio was increased from 8.71 to 9.62. (The aspect ratio is the wingspan divided by the chord, which,

in turn, is the wing area divided by

wingspan. For example, a wing with a span of 100 feet and an area of 1,000 square feet has an average chord of ten. The aspect ratio of this wing is ten,

meaning it is ten times longer than wide.

A high aspect-ratio wing is generally

more efficient than one with a low aspect ratio. However, a high aspect- ratio wi ng wi II be heavier.)

This contributes to climb performance and fuel efficiency in addition to providing better low-speed characteristics through lower induced drag. On earlier model DC-9s the leading-edge slats were either closed or open, and were not optimized for the best takeoff or landing position. The Super 80 has variable flap positions, so the leading-edge slats are coordinated with the trailing-edge flaps. With the low flap settings (0 to 13 degrees) used for takeoff, the slats go out to 18 degrees with the slats at the leading edge closed. The tail on the MO-80 series is the same size as that of other OC-9s, but slightly reprofiled at the top end of the leading edge to accommodate a longer horizontal stabilizer. The length of the M D-80 made it necessary to make the horizontal stabilizer more powerful. This was achieved by extending the span of the stabilizer by 20in (50.8cm)

by means of a

on each side of the tail

plug at the root. The inboard conn'ol- tab on the horizontal stabilizer was lengthened and a new geared anti-float

tab was added outboard of the existing tab. The term 'anti-float' was used hecause, during landing, when the

horizontal stabilizer is at a negative angle, the elevator tends to move several degrees downward, thus lessening tail lift. By installing a geared anti-float tab that Il'1OVeS, the elevator is forced to streamline with the stabilizer, with no loss of lift. In this way pitch control is more powerful when it's most needed. On the exterior, there are visible signs of additional titanium panels and fasteners near the engine pylons. The aft end of the cabin is closer to the engines than on the original OC-9 series because much of the additional cowling volume was toward the front of the engine, and the increase in engine diameter brought the engines closer to the fuselage. Despite that, the Super 80 is quieter in the rear of the cabin than its predecessors because more effective noise-suppression materials are used. The rear fuselage was structurally strengthened due to the heavier engines, and complicated by Swissair's insistence on a service door ahead of the engines. Freight and baggage handling is improved relative to earlier OC-9s through the installation of a flat floor in the cargo hold.


THE FAMILY GROWS: THE MD-80 SERIES Engines Although old by today's standards, the Pratt &
Although old by today's standards, the
Pratt & Whitney ]T8D-200 engines
powering the MD-80 series represented
enough of an improvement in fuel burn,
noise and emissions to make it possible to
launch an entirely new line of DC-9s that
continue to meet today's stricter
environmental standards.
The ]T8D-200, like the aircraft it
powers, comes in several variations,
depending on the type of MD-80,
developed around two models: the ]T8D-
209 and the ]T8D-217. These are
described in detail later.
The biggest factor in reducing noise
levels was a larger fan in the higher-bypass
ratio ]T8D-200 series engine, which
provides lower exhaust-velocity; an
internal mixer to keep high-velocity hot
gases and lower-velocity bypass-air mixing
within the engine nacelles, rather than
after the exhaust has left the aircraft;
more favourable location of stationary
vanes with relationship to the large
forward fan; and extensive acoustic
treatment of the engine and nacelle
Like the DC-9, the flight deck on the
M0-80 series accommodates two pilots,
an issue that led to a legal tussle with the
union representing US pilots. The
cockpit can also seat one observer, who
sits in the jump seat behind the captain.
The cockpit is another area of vast
improvement over earlier DC-9s. 'The
flight deck was a quantum leap in
technology,' recalls Callaghan, the retired
McDonnell Douglas engineer. Foremost
were the avionics, which featured the first
digital flight-guidance system in
commercial aviation. Although the
airframe was a derivative, the automatic
flight-guidance system and air-data
computers were entirely new equipment,
making use of digital electronics in a
much bigger way than anything
comparable in production at the time.
The MD-80 series flight deck featured a digital flight-guidance system. the first of its kind in commercial
aviation. The cockpit's performance management system optimizes vertical navigation to save fuel. Boeing



\nd each successive member of the MD- ,,0 line includes variations and \'nhancements in flight-deck technology IIld amenities. System improvements include a digital, III t egrated fl ight-gu idance and con trol 'ystem, dial-a-flap control for more Ilcurate flap settings, flow-through looling of the avionics compartment, an ,Idvanced, digital fuel-gauging system, and an optional fl ight-management system IIlat gives horizontal and vertical guidance. Other fl igh t deck changes IIlclude flat liquid-crystal displays,