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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 AA’s traditional ‘round dial’ presentation and lone GFMS keypad. The TWA computers’ formats and functionality are different from those of the single units—the 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 737’s 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 aircraft’s final hub because of its maintenance capabilities and proximity to Tulsa’s repair and overhaul station... The aircraft’s 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 couldn’t accommodate rollaboards wheels first; these had to be stowed in the D-E-F side bins. MD-80 we’re 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


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

Old Feb 1, 2019, 7:51 am
  #31  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: New home in BOS
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I lived in MKE for a few years and only recently moved east. I probably flew almost every other week to DFW on the MD-80. They started putting in the occasional A319 or even E175 on the weekends, but still had 2 or 3 MD-80s daily. Summers are quite nice in MKE, plus the festivals and beer galore. The Brewers aren't half bad either if you're a baseball fan. You could easily fill a few days if you're looking for a quick trip.
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Old Feb 1, 2019, 8:02 am
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by no1cub17
Come on up to OKC. Most people are pleasantly surprised when they visit. I guess people don't expect much because it's Oklahoma, IDK. And if you're into basketball, our Thunder seem to be getting it together...
Agree, OKC isn't bad at all. I am surprised to see so few MD80 flights here though, I figured we'd be one of the last ones to have them. My last few flights have all been on 738s.
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Old Feb 1, 2019, 11:30 am
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by bchandler02
Agree, OKC isn't bad at all. I am surprised to see so few MD80 flights here though, I figured we'd be one of the last ones to have them. My last few flights have all been on 738s.
Yeah down to 1 S80 flight per day now I believe. Sad!
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Old Feb 1, 2019, 12:24 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by no1cub17
Yeah down to 1 S80 flight per day now I believe. Sad!
Used to be 7-8 a day. Today alone OKC has 738, A319, CR7, CR9, and the lone S80. Add in E-Jets to LAX and PHL and I imagine OKC has more narrow body types going to it than any other American destination of similar traffic.

And as JDiver said, the last comfortable 1st class seats in the narrow body fleet. Sad to see them go as the polished Super 80 is AA.
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Old Feb 2, 2019, 12:31 am
  #35  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Originally Posted by arc727
I'm really surprised all the MD80s are gone from the DFW-ORD route, as that's the only aircraft that was ever used
+1 Did so many of those 802 mile flights (mostly in coach because I didn’t want to use two stickers) when connecting from the west coast.

Last edited by _kurt; Feb 2, 2019 at 9:07 am
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Old Feb 2, 2019, 3:59 am
  #36  
 
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Last MD-83 Flight

If I were a betting man I would guess the last flight on the MD-83 will likely be a DFW-STL-DFW flight, given that there is a soon to close (as I understand it) pilot base in STL for the MD-83 as well as perhaps a bit of an historical hat tip to STL as the historical home to these former TWA birds (sans 1).
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Old Feb 2, 2019, 1:51 pm
  #37  
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Though I’ve left AA, the Super 80 will always be special to me. It’s a great aircraft and one that has been very reliable (at least for me flights). Luckily we still see a few to DFW here at MCI..

I’ve always enjoyed this Super 80 documentary...
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Old Feb 2, 2019, 3:56 pm
  #38  
 
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I flew the mad dog this week to Tulsa and back. Tulsa, by the way, is a neat city with GREAT restaurants. Hotels are sketchy except the Ambassador hotel downtown (Autograph collection I believe).
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Old Feb 2, 2019, 9:46 pm
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by canuckshark
I flew the mad dog this week to Tulsa and back. Tulsa, by the way, is a neat city with GREAT restaurants. Hotels are sketchy except the Ambassador hotel downtown (Autograph collection I believe).
People rag on Tulsa, it's a nice little downtown with good eats. And it's so much cheaper to see a concert there than anywhere else. Lol.
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Old Feb 2, 2019, 10:15 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: May 2018
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One of the MD80 holdouts here at CMH is AA1492 which today was serviced by the A319. Then I noticed tomorrow AA1257 and AA1492 are both serviced by the MD80. AA1257 was replaced by the A319 a while ago so interesting to see it swapped back.
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Old Feb 3, 2019, 8:17 am
  #41  
C46
 
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Originally Posted by FriendlySkies
I’ve always enjoyed this Super 80 documentary... https://youtu.be/S9bjcHgwfQI
He non-revved from our station once and I just couldn't figure out, why he looked familiar...and his name on the PALL as well.

Even asked him, if he has been at that station before, which he denied.

Nice guy, though!
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Old Feb 3, 2019, 11:21 am
  #42  
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Flew on N984TW (last MD80 ever built) yesterday from DFW to TUL. Slight maintenance delay at DFW but it was quick and easy. Great flight and TUL was pretty cool as well.
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Old Feb 4, 2019, 9:06 am
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Kent
And as JDiver said, the last comfortable 1st class seats in the narrow body fleet. Sad to see them go as the polished Super 80 is AA.
My first flights ever were on the Super 80, back in the late 1980s. I might have to try to get on one before they’re retired.
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Old May 24, 2019, 3:45 pm
  #44  
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Can someone explain AA's MD80 strategy? I am on one going between DFW and CVG (not that I am complaining, I booked it on purpose), but why does AA fly the MD80 on stage lengths like this?

The MD80 still works on relatively short stages such as DFW-IAH,AUS,SAT etc. Why not use them until EOL here?

About to get on another MD80. Back to back trips. #winning
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Old May 24, 2019, 3:54 pm
  #45  
 
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It's hard to swap another aircraft type easily as they just don't have enough of those A3xx or 738s.

I think AA would cede these routes to regional carriers, but they also have limits of availability and some of these frequencies need a bit more capacity.

And the minute they reduce a route frequency. I think WN or even DL are ready to bite.
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