|Posted by EAA 211 Webmaster on January 10, 2014 at 9:35 PM||comments (1)|
The Venerable DC-9 Passenger Jet Takes Flight One Last Time
BY KEITH BARRY01.06.141:41 PM http://www.WIRED.COM/autopia/2014/01/dc-9-retires/
When Delta flight 2014 departs Minneapolis for Atlanta later today, it’ll mark the last commercial passenger flight for a DC-9 aircraft.
Considering that the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 was introduced in 1965 and built until 1982, you may be forgiven for thinking that all of them were retired long ago.
In fact, most airlines did retire their DC-9s, but not Delta, which inherited a large fleet from Northwest Airlines when the two companies merged. The DC-9 was a tough bird, though, and after complete overhauls proved nearly as good as a brand new aircraft, Northwest kept them in service.
Delta’s history with the DC-9 is a long one. The airline was a launch customer for McDonnell Douglas’ new aircraft back in 1965, where it replaced turboprops on popular domestic routes. And in a nod to that heritage, the second-to-last DC-9 flight will be numbered 1965.
But this is more of a ceremonial goodbye: Delta may still use a DC-9 to substitute for other aircraft that are unexpectedly out of service for repairs. But if you’re looking for a guaranteed seat on one of the most familiar aircraft of the 20th century, you’ve missed your chance.
If it’s the classic T-tail, rear-engine style you’re looking for, the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series, MD-90 and the Boeing 717 are all evolutions of the DC-9 design. Plenty of them still ply the skies.
The announcement comes just a little more than a month after Biman Bangladesh Airlines put their final DC-10 widebody airliner to pasture. The DC-10 was one of a trio of “jumbo” jets that debuted in the late 1960s and early 1970s along with the Lockheed L1011 and Boeing 747. Today, only newer versions of the 747 remain.
As far as remnants of the former Douglas Aircraft Corporation are concerned, the DC-9 and DC-10 are both survived in passenger service by the iconic DC-3, a workhorse that’s been flying since 1935. Passenger versions still fly with Buffalo Airways in Canada.