American Airlines retiring the MD80

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by LoLPilot, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. LoLPilot

    LoLPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I know that many don't share my opinion, but I love the MD80, and so it makes me sad that American has announced the end of MD80 revenue service.

    September 4th will be the last flight - Flight 80 - From DFW to ORD.

    The MD80 was the first airplane I ever flew on and I still think that they are beautiful birds. The school I work and study at is on the departure and approach paths for STL, and I always look up when I hear the characteristic MD80 roar.

    I'm considering heading down to DFW on the 3rd and catching the last flight to ORD in the morning. Would anybody want to meet up in Dallas, grab dinner, and join?
     
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  2. kayoh190

    kayoh190 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I have about 2500 hours in various forms of the -80 (82/83/87/88). It was quirky, but a ton of fun to fly! It’ll be a bummer to not see them around anymore - an end of an era. Next up: 757. :(
     
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  3. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Better check availability. At least one of the frequent flyer groups reports that the flight is already sold out.
     
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  4. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    I always felt they rode turbulence really well.. I have many flights in the MD80 (or a variant of) as a passenger and always appreciated how smooth and quiet they were, and how well they rode turbulence

    They were (are) indeed quirky, there's a pilot on youtube who made a video detailing all the reasons he loved it. It, to me, was one of the last old-school planes still flying around
     
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  5. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I always loved the 2x3 seating. It allowed my wife and I to sit next to each other without the awkward stranger next to us. We will miss it.
     
  6. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    MadDog had a good run.
     
  7. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    I think you can buy a run-out 80 for about the price of a new Baron.
     
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  8. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I never cared for the MD-80 as a passenger because I always got stuck next to the fan on one of the engines. A few times the fans let loose and killed passengers, although they’ve fixed that by now. I was a 727 fan.

    Still, the end of an era.
     
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  9. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    Doesn't Delta still have a few in service plus their 717s?
     
  10. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They might want to keep the MD going until the Max 737’s get back online.
     
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  11. LoLPilot

    LoLPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think that Delta is looking to phase out the 717’s too.
     
  12. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    According to Wiki (buyer beware), they have a large number of 88s and 90s that will be replaced by A321s (SAD) but still have a significant number of 717s. The 717s are not owned, but leased so they can probably shift those out pretty quickly if they decide not to renew whatever lease agreement they have.
     
  13. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    I always wondered, did this make the plane have a slight permanent left or right roll trim needed (depending on configuration)?
     
  14. creweite

    creweite Pre-takeoff checklist

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    After my recent experience on American, I don't want to ever fly on that airline again. Should have been on a flight to CLT and then FLL on Thursday. Eventually made it to FLL on Saturday, with a connection at CLT that left only 10 minutes from arrival to boarding the last leg. Arrive at teminal E, depart from terminal B which are a very long distance apart at CLT. With an arthritic knee had to resort to a pushchair with an energetic attendant, made it at the end of the boarding process.
     
  15. kayoh190

    kayoh190 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Ours were always so messed up rigging-wise it was impossible to tell one way or the other. :)
     
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  16. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    I gave them SIX (6) solid tries and each flight, other than getting safely from A to B, it was a miserable event (cancelled flights, delayed flights, lost luggage, rude attendants, a $200 charge for changing the name on my wife's plane ticket.. we bought the tickets before she changed her name pre marriage, then she changed her name, even when escalated to management they still charged a $200 change fee, etc.).. long story short.. AAL SUUUUCKKKKSSSS. I actively avoid traveling them and take every opportunity I have to discourage others from doing so also

    Mind you, the name change thing was the last straw, but the other events I chocked up to bad luck, etc., but eventually I gave up. With about 50 flights annually on DL now I would say that 9/10 of my flights are zero issue, arrive on time or early, etc. The 1/10 times something isn't perfect there is a concerted effort to make it up
     
  17. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    ha! So what you're saying is they fly similarly, in some aspects, to most beater club Skyhawks. The plane did have a very "workhorse" feel to it

    I do wonder the purpose of retirement, or rather, what factors into that decision. With these older planes (theoretically) fully paid off and depreciated their cost to the airline must be pretty low outside of the direct fuel, maintenance, and personnel costs. I would imagine if maintenance is not abnormally high and fuel burn is not an offsetting issue these things would keep flying for years to come

    The DL 717 thing is interesting, those planes are leased, and they seem to be in great shape. Boeing had put some money into those planes with new engines, upgraded flight deck, etc., so short of some major refocus I imagine DL will keep flying theirs for a while longer
     
  18. Stephen Poole

    Stephen Poole Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Delta uses the 717s for many of the flights that my wife and I take. We love all of the old DC-9 derivatives, including the MDs. Big, comfortable, loud as a bomb, but comfortable.
     
  19. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    I'm not sure why would imagine that. Although more efficient than, say, a 727, they are still pigs compared to today's airplanes. They're replacing them for customer experience, fuel efficiency, maintenance cost, etc. Not even Allegiant will fly them anymore. Delta will be retiring theirs next.
     
  20. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Cleared for Takeoff

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    My friend flies the Mad Dog at Delta. He was explaining to me how the bird has no ailerons. And I think no GPS.
     
  21. Tantalum

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    Because I'm a brainless idiot

    -fuel efficiency:
    The MD-90 has the same engine as much of the Airbus fleet, the IAE V2500, used on A320, A319, A321. Granted the Airbus airframe is likely optimized better, but the difference is not that severe

    The hourly operating cost of a DL 717 is $5,121
    The hourly operating cost of a DL A320 is $5,542
    The hourly operating cost of a DL MD80 was $5,594
    https://www.planestats.com/bhsn_2014dec and yes, I believe everything I read on the internet /s but this site seems fairly legit citing US DOT data from more than 3,000 flights in 2014. I kept it to DL since they're flying the "newer" DC-9 variants

    -customer experience:
    Two things:
    a.) Why does everyone think that the interior of the airplane = airplane. The airline can outfit the inside of the aircraft however they want
    b.) The passengers don't give a damn what they're on... I bet you 9/10 people wouldn't even know if it was Boeing or Airbus. I've had people tell me they like Airbus because when they sat on JetBlue they had TVs

    -Allegiant
    Who knows what their operating cost structure is like, what their payoff amounts, loans, other debts and deals are, etc. It's not all equal.. it might make sense for me to refinance my house, or sell it, but not for you.. my action's don't entail those of my neighbors'


    I would think having an older, paid off, clean fleet would make more sense than perpetually carrying loans and leases. But I don't run an airline, so who knows.
     
  22. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    It most certainly does. The MU-2 and B52 don't have ailerons. What is unique is that you're not actually controlling the aileron and elevator directly, but rather the little tabs that in turn aerodynamically drive the surfaces. This is why at the gate, and taxiing out, you'll see the elevators on the MD-80s in all sorts of cockamamie orientations
     
  23. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Good airplane and it is always a bit sad to see a legendary airframe retire. I felt the same way about the B727 and L1011. Those were two that I busted a lot of knuckles on and cursed at the time but I did love them.
     
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  24. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Don't be so hard on yourself.

    Now you're moving the goalpost because I didn't say anything about the MD-90, although my understanding is that Delta wants to retire those also.

    Next.
     
  25. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    a true technological marvel that was, unfortunately commercially foiled by the delays in Rolls Royce and that piece of crap DC-10 that we had to live with

    There's a guy on YouTube called Mustard who did it really cool video on it, in fact, he does lots of neat flying things, check him out:
     
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  26. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Cleared for Takeoff

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    You’re right. I was misremembering the conversation. We were talking about how they are not hydraulically actuated. It was just a trim tab.
     
  27. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    I didn't realize there were any still in passenger service, thought they were all freighters at this point

    NOOO! That's my favorite airliner ever! I haven't been on one in a long time, they don't seem to go on the routes I do. I used to fly them from Atlanta to various ski areas out west, which may have something to do with the fondness I have for them.

    Delta uses them for some odd routes, like Atlanta to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. I was on that flight recently. I think they use some of their older planes on routes where the airplane stops at an airport for a few hours occasionally. That makes sense since the capital cost starts to weigh in more than the direct operating cost when the airplane doesn't fly as many hours.
     
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  28. Tantalum

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    if you check the entire post I did also specifically mention the md-80 and there as well. I brought the md-90 up because it uses the same engines as A320 so it's a good litmus to see how the operating costs differences are and aerodynamic improvements versus just the engines alone

    interestingly at least in Delta's case these airplanes all cost virtually the same to operate, so my question still stands, how the executives and bean counters decide which airplanes to retire and when

    It's kind of a cop out to just say maintenance and fuel, without seeing the hard numbers are the true rationale
     
  29. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Tax effects of depreciation on fixed assets and capital/operating leases can play a huge part in the decisions to own vs lease. I'm sure the bean counters have a pretty complex calculation for each airframe that details typical cost of maintenance, both routine and extraordinary, and the impact that has on the bottom line. Just like with smaller aircraft, there comes a point when the total cycles on the airframe justify selling off the aircraft while it still has some market value versus running it into the ground (figuratively) and selling it for scrap.
     
  30. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    What is the point of your litmus test? I mean, what difference does it make whether the MD80's fuel consumption is due to its aerodynamics or its engines? They're not making MD90s anymore either or anything else with the same airframe so it's a moot point.

    I don't know what you mean by cop out, what other reason would there be? I don't know what you expect us to do, write a 100-page financial cost/benefit analysis for you? No one here is qualified to do that.
     
  31. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Which is actually pretty cool... I always wondered though how the plane felt hand flying it
     
  32. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Wondering what I'm missing is all. The hourly operating cost of these planes, based on that site, appears largely comparable, or actually better in many cases, even for the older MD-80s. The aircraft are proven technology with all the infrastructure in place to support and service them. It's really just the maintenance headache and maybe higher fuel burn where they may lose out. But some newer models don't always have better maintenance stats on them

    Don't need 100 pages, but the response given by FormerHangie above made sense, that these aircraft, even if older, have value being placed on thinner routes where having them sit a few hours is less of a financial burden.. maybe it's the other aircraft maturing and coming down in costs to work on these routes that factor in the decision as well. You'll see one airline sell a plane and another pick it up, and it's not always a garbage LCC. Like I said, don't need 100 pages, but if the shareholder documents or calls divulge some decision making points it'd be a cool thing to look at

    There are smart people on here would be interesting to know what factors AA used to decide *this* was the year they'd retire the MD-80. It's more a business curiosity.

    But c'est la vie

    **So will this flight get water cannon salute and all that, or is that reserved for other festivities? Do they pick a special crew for it, or is otherwise just a standard revenue flight? I remember the last Lufthansa A300 flight was a fairly big deal in Europe when that took place
     
  33. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Aging aircraft and mandatory corrosion inspections play into this heavily. Those MD-80's are getting more expensive by the day to maintain. Add in also that Boeing would like to see these planes go away, and parts inventories are dwindling.

    These aren't GA airplanes that get a quickie annual and get put back on the line. I would suspect a D check coupled with the corrosion and aging aircraft inspections run into a few million each. It wouldn't surprise me that when they were coming up on a D check is when they were ferried to the desert. The last remaining ones are probably getting close to their D checks as well.
     
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  34. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Those MD 80's of AA are more than likely headed fr the desert to be scrapped. With the exception of a few third world countries that will continue to fly them, they are only worth scrap at this point.
     
  35. dmspilot

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    The reasons given on shareholder calls are the ones I listed, which you called a cop out. You are welcome to pore over company materials yourself but you're not going to find much more than that.
     
  36. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I’d say that’s just it. Airlines spend a fortune keeping these old kerosene burners in the air compared to the new, efficient engines being produced today. It’s just not cost effective.
     
  37. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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  38. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Per the site you referenced, American's costs, including cost per seat mile, not just per hour, are considerably less favorable for the MD80.

    Nauga,
    who walked the line
     
  39. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I always loved the Mad Dog, but I always made sure not to sit in the back.

    In First, it was the magic silent plane.
     
  40. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    WHAT? SPEAK UP! WHAT?

    The one and only MD95/717 I ever flew in has the distinction of being the worst smelling airplane I have ever flown in. It gave truth to the nickname "whistling ****can'.

    Nauga,
    and a different kind of cabin dump
     
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