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MD80 General Overview


The MD-80, a quiet, fuel-efficient twin jet, was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration in August1980 and entered airline service in October l980. Its modern Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 engines, combined with its efficient aerodynamic design, allow the MD-80 to meet all current noise regulations while producing operating costs among the lowest in commercial aviation. The MD-80 is a modern-technology successor to the popular DC-9 twin jet, of which 976 were delivered.


Four MD-80 models - the MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, and MD-88, are 147 feet, 10 inches (45.05 meters) long and accommodate a maximum of 172 passengers. The MD-87 is 130.4 feet (39.7 m) in length, with a maximum passenger capacity of 139. Wingspan for all models is 107 feet, 10 inches (32.86 m). The Douglas Products Division of the Boeing Commercial Airplane Group assembles the MD-80 in Long Beach, California.


Technology advancements in the MD-80 include aviation's first digital flight guidance system. Nonstop range is from 1,750 to 3,260 statute miles (2,815 to 5,246 kilometers), depending on the model. The MD-81's maximum takeoff weight is 140,000 pounds (63,503 kg); the MD-82's and the MD-88's is 149,500 pounds (67,813 kg). The longer range MD-83 has a takeoff weight of 160,000 pounds (72,576 kg). The MD-87's maximum takeoff gross weight is 140,000 pounds, with an option to 149,500 pounds.

Interesting Facts

As of mid-1997, 69 world wide airlines had placed firm orders for 1,170 MD-80 airplanes. These operators range from the largest foreign and domestic trunk carriers to new startup airlines and charter operators. Swissair and Austrian Airlines began the first service, while American Airlines operates the largest number of MD-80s, a fleet of 260. In addition, 35 MD-80 airplanes were assembled and are operating in the People's Republic of China.

MD-80s fly to more than 420 airports with 4,800 daily flights. They have flown nearly 27 million revenue hours since beginning service in 1980, covering over 10 billion miles (16 billion km), with more than 1.5 billion passengers.

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