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AA MD-80 requiem - final 2019 routes and 4 Sep 2019 final flights

Old Jun 25, 2019, 10:38 am
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Last edit by: JDiver
AA McDonnell Douglas MD-80 Super 80 (1983-2019)

The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 is a series of twin-engine, short- to medium-range, single-aisle commercial jetliners. It was lengthened and updated from the DC-9. This series can seat from 130 to 172 passengers depending on variant and seating configuration.

American Airlines was the first US major carrier to order the MD-80 when it leased twenty 142-seat aircraft from McDonnell Douglas in October 1982 to replace its Boeing 727-100. It committed to 67 firm orders plus 100 options in March 1984, and in 2002 its fleet peaked at more than 360 aircraft, 30 % of the 1,191 produced. AA used the Super 80 name for this aircraft.

The first AA MD-80 was delivered in 1983, the last in 1999. (Wikipedia) The MD-80 was delivered with a standard tapered round fuselage tail cone, but it was found a screwdriver design somewhat similar to the Boeing 777 saved fuel. The screwdriver tail cone was applied to all AA MD-80s, and were fabricated by AA maintenance personnel at the Tulsa shop.

The last Super 80s operated by AA were TWA MD-83s built toward the end of the manufacturing run. Their cockpits have digital engine instruments and dual flight management system (FMS) displays versus AAs traditional round dial presentation and lone GFMS keypad. The TWA computers formats and functionality are different from those of the single unitsthe Mac versus PC of the MD-80 world. (Airways Magazine)

The last 23 Mad Dogs flew to a desert air park in Roswell, New Mexico, on 4 Sep 2019. One MD-80 remains at DFW Airport, to be used for future de-icing practice, and more will be donated to flight-training schools. (Bloomberg)

N984TW, a MD-83 assembled in 1999 (MSN 53634 / LN 2287), was the last MD-80 built (at the McDonnell Douglas plant at Long Beach / LGB, California, and was the last to be retired, flying AA 80 DFW-ORD before flying its final segment ORD-ROS. This aircraft is said to have logged more than 61,000 hours in the air on 31,092 flights and is estimated to have carried more than 3.5 million passengers.

Though wingtip devices and higher bypass ratio engines were proposed to create an MD-80 Advanced, there was never sufficient interest from the airlines to proceed with these advances. The 737s GE CFM-56 engines offer 35% additional fuel savings per seat mile over the MD-80. An expensive to fulfill 2017 Airworthiness Directive governing the fuel pump system drove the nails into the coffin.

According to Airways Magazine,

... the Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles crew domiciles (closed, and) DFW will be the aircrafts final hub because of its maintenance capabilities and proximity to Tulsas repair and overhaul station... The aircrafts tenure will conclude in the way it started. Memphis, Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, and other current MD-80 destinations mostly lay within a 500-mile radius of Dallas.

The AA MD-80s were retired to ROW / Roswell International Air Center, Roswell, New Mexico (previously Walker Air Force Base / WAFB).

American Airlines MD-80s in their final 140 seat configuration:

16 First class seats, 38-40 pitch, 21 width (rows 3-6, the seats on the port / left side had slightly less seat pitch than the starboard side due to removal of a closet to install an extra seat pair.

35 Main Cabin Extra seats with 34 pitch, 17.4 - 17.8 width in 2 x 3 configuration in rows 7-11 and exit rows.

89 Main Cabin seats with 31 pitch, 17.4 - 17.8 width in 2 x 3 configuration.

The A-B overhead bins were small, and couldnt accommodate rollaboards wheels first; these had to be stowed in the D-E-F side bins. MD-80 were equipped with full service galleys, WiFi, center overhead screens for IFE, cigar lighter type jacks providing 15 VDC. Onboard WiFi IFE streaming to passengers personal entertainment devices was added.

Many consider the MD-80 seats some of the most comfortable, as they were better padded than the newer generation of lightweight seats. The cabin was relatively quiet, with the air noise completely masking any engine noise in First. On the other hand, the offset rows 31 and 32 were very close to the aft-mounted engines and engine noise was very loud.

McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (DC-9-83)

The MD-83 is a longer-range version of the basic MD-81/82 with higher weights, more powerful engines, and increased fuel capacity.

Powerplant: Compared to earlier models, the MD-83 is equipped with slightly more powerful 21,000 lbf (93 kN)-thrust Pratt and Whitney JT8D-219s as standard.

Performance: The MD-83 features increased fuel capacity as standard (to 6,970 US gal (26,400 L)), which is carried in two 565 US gal (2,140 L) auxiliary tanks located fore and aft of the center section. The aircraft also has higher operating weights, with MTOW increased to 160,000 lb (73,000 kg) and MLW to 139,500 lb (63,300 kg).

Typical range for the MD-83 with 155 passengers is around 2,504 nautical miles (4,637 km). To cope with the higher operating weights, the MD-83 incorporates strengthened landing gear including new wheels, tires, and brakes, changes to the wing skins, front spar web and elevator spar cap, and strengthened floor beams and panels to carry the auxiliary fuel tanks. - (Wikipedia)

The scheduled final operations for these aircraft is shown in posts #1, #76, #166.

FlyerTalk threads:

MD-80 / Super 80 best seats (master thread)

The slow end of an era....the retirement of the AA MD-80

20 Mad Dogs / MD-80 (retiring) to ROW today (23 Aug 2016)

MD-80 Super 80 aka Mad Dog memories, longest goodbye

Age of AAs MD-80 fleet?

External resources:

Link to MD-80 article in Airways Magazine, Nov 2015 issue

Link to (unofficial) AA Fleet Site retired MD-80 page

Link to Wikipedia MD-80 page

Print Wikipost

AA MD-80 requiem - final 2019 routes and 4 Sep 2019 final flights

Old Aug 21, 2019, 9:44 am
Moderator: American AAdvantage, Travel Safety/Security & Texas, FlyerTalk Evangelist
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I flew on an MD80 on Monday, AA1222 DTW-DFW and sat in 5F. There was power, through cigarette lighter-style chargers (I haven't seen that since I was on a B767 GIG-MIA a few years ago), and I actually do keep an adapter in my backpack, just in case. No IFE, but I was able to hang my iPad from the seat in front and it probably had a better picture than IFE.

I can't remember when I had last been on one of these birds...I know I had at some point, but I don't think on AA. I think NW used to have some back in the day that I used between DTW and SEA or PHX.
Riding on it was making me think back to some aircraft I've been on that are no longer in service (that I know of), like the B727, DC9, DC10...

The F seat was pretty comfortable, very thick padding! But the a/c didn't seem to work very well. Ground temp in DTW was probably mid-80s and the aircraft was quite warm when we boarded and didn't really seem to cool off (not as much as I'd like at least) the whole flight. The in-flight service was ok...nothing to write home about, but not worth complaining about either.
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Old Aug 21, 2019, 11:21 am
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Ended up on two this month for urgent trips to Oklahoma. Still say they ride better than 737's, unless of course you are wedged way in the back looking at the engine nacelle. But it was really ironic looking out the window of an soon to be retired but still operating MD-80 at the lot full of MAX's grounded in Tulsa. My friend the retired captain is almost tearful about why they are better than what has come since just because you feel the airplane under you and fly it instead of monitoring screens while it flys you.

Then there was and is the long-running rumor around the DFW business community that AA had signed on for the 717 stretch before Boeing cancelled it. Oh what might have been.
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Last edited by jayer; Aug 21, 2019 at 5:02 pm
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Old Aug 21, 2019, 11:53 am
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Originally Posted by no1cub17
Just boarded our last MD-80 flight! AA2301 OKC-DFW. Gonna miss the days of hourly S80 departures to DFW. Told the wife it was probably our last S80 flight so let's splurge for F ^

Really gonna miss this bird. Not just F but give me an actual padded seat on the 2 side any day.
Ah, the memories. I was able to grab a flight out of OKC on an 80 back in June, but I think we were down to just 1 or 2 per day. Now seems like we get a mix of everything.
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Old Aug 21, 2019, 3:32 pm
Join Date: Jun 2016
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Just booked 9/4 RDU-DFW in F. No longer an ExPlat or loyal to USAir dba AA but super excited to relive and remember the good old AA days. Couldnt position into STL or get a seat on AA-80 but remembering what could have been with at the old RDU hub (instead of the nightmare that is CLT) is almost as good. If it isnt red white and blue with brushed aluminum it doesnt seem like AA to me.

One last time for the quiet, comfortable, MD-80 ... not all progress is forward. And it rides like an airplane ... not a hyperactive computer.

Its an early flight but Ill be sure to raise a glass in memory of all those boozy ORD-DFW legs on the S80 in first when that was the primary hub-to-hub flight with exception market catering that was still decent!

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Old Aug 21, 2019, 6:05 pm
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Originally Posted by aztimm
... The in-flight service was ok..nothing to write home about, but not worth complaining about either.
But worthy of a mention on FT!
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Old Aug 26, 2019, 6:59 pm
Join Date: May 2018
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Well unfortunately I was put on a new project that will be taking me to Canada next week so I will not be able to fly on the last MD80 out of Columbus as I planned. As it stands my last AA MD80 will be from 6/4/2019 on AA1492 flying N9626F.
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Old Aug 28, 2019, 11:04 pm
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Flew on N9681B Tues and N9621A Wed. It was a spur of the moment trip, which I'm glad I did now since I might not be able to make AA80 due to the impending hurricane hitting FL next week.
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Old Aug 29, 2019, 9:19 am
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We haven't had them in New York for ages (they hung around at EWR for a few years longer) but I routed a trip home from DFW through RDU back in January thinking it could be the last chance I would get and I'm glad I did. Flew N980TW - the 5th from the last MD-83 off the line at Long Beach, delivered new to TWA in November 1999, which appears to still be flying the line today / will be among the last batch to go next week. Sat in 6F thanks to a friend with SWUs to burn...
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Old Sep 1, 2019, 11:15 am
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Will be on the last flight to Roswell on Wednesday, excited but definitely a bittersweet moment in the history of American.
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Old Sep 1, 2019, 10:16 pm
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Originally Posted by bthotugigem05
Will be on the last flight to Roswell on Wednesday, excited but definitely a bittersweet moment in the history of American.
Can we ask you to share your impressions? Bon voyage.
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Old Sep 2, 2019, 12:02 am
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Originally Posted by JDiver
Can we ask you to share your impressions? Bon voyage.
Of course! Will be covering it for the blog, will have lots of pics and video.
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Old Sep 2, 2019, 10:27 am
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My last sighting of an S80 at CVG. It wasn't around here long but will be missed. DL doesn't fly MD-88s to CVG very much anymore so we're pretty much limited to 717s for MD-type T-tails.

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Old Sep 2, 2019, 10:58 am
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It has been confirmed that N984TW will operate flight 80 on Wednesday.

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Old Sep 2, 2019, 11:30 am
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I am surprised that people characterize the S80 as quiet. Due to the engine placements, I would agree that engine noise was lowered. But the air friction noise once cruising altitude was reached is much higher than on other narrow-body jets, like 737's and A319/320 family.

However, I do fondly remember backing out of gates using reverse thrust when tugs weren't available.. Now that was ... Super-noisy.
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Old Sep 2, 2019, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by SJCFlyerLG
I am surprised that people characterize the S80 as quiet. Due to the engine placements, I would agree that engine noise was lowered. But the air friction noise once cruising altitude was reached is much higher than on other narrow-body jets, like 737's and A319/320 family.
I completely agree with this. I just had my likely last flight on the S80 from MSY to DFW and my family of four was all operationally upgraded to first class. My kids are ten and loved the old style comfy seats and the ridiculous amount of recline. However, it was noisy as heck from air noise rushing outside the cabin. It was actually difficult to even have a conversation without raising your voice and I also had to turn my closed back headphone volume up several notches more than usual on a 737 or A3XX.
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