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McDonnell Douglas MD-80

By Patrick Mondout

The MD-80 series of aircraft are really just variations on the venerable Douglas DC-9. In the late Super70s, McDonnell Douglas continued to stretch the length and range of the DC-9 and announced the DC-9-80 in August of 1977. The '80' designation referred to the year it was supposed to go into service. Likewise, the DC-9-81, DC-9-82, and DC-9-83 also carried years as part of their names.

In June of 1983, McDonnell Douglas finally dropped the 50 year old DC (Douglas Company) designation altogether and the aircraft became the MD-80, MD-81, MD-82, and MD-83.

A shorter version came in 1987 and was named, you guessed it, the MD-87.

McDonnell Douglas MD-82

N479AC, an AirCal MD-82 seen in Montana, November 1983.

Image courtesy of AirNikon. Find more of his photos at

The MD-82 (DC-9-82) first flew on January 8, 1981 and entered service with Republic Airlines in August of 1981.

The MD-83 (DC-9-83) first flew on December 17, 1984 and entered service with Alaska Airlines in February of 1985.

The MD-87 first flew December 4, 1986 and entered service with Finnair in November of 1987.

The MD-88 first flew August 15, 1987 and entered service with Delta Airlines in January of 1988.

The larger MD-90 series debuted in November 1988 with its first flight on February 22, 1993.

McDonnell Douglas MD-80 at a Glance
Engines2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 turbofans
Cruising Speed575
Passengers172 (150 standard)
Range2880 miles
Span107 ft 10.25in
Length147ft 10in
Height29ft 6in
Final Production2000
Number built includes MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-87, MD-88, and MD-90


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Image courtesy of McDonnell Douglas

Model: MD-80

Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas

Country: U.S.

First Flight: October 18, 1979

First Passenger Flight: September 6, 1980

Launch CustomerSwissair

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