Posts Tagged ‘Mad Dog aircraft’

Delta Retires Last ‘Mad Dog’ Jets

June 5, 2020

The crew of a Delta Air Lines flight 1114 from Atlanta has deployed the thrust reversers as their MD88 lands on runway 28R at John Glenn Columbus Airport in Dec. 7, 2019.

A chapter in U.S. aviation history closed this week when Delta Air Lines operated its last flights using the MD88 and MD90 jetliners.

The last flight of a “Mad Dog” was Delta flight 88 from Washington Dulles International Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Tuesday morning.

The plane received a water cannon salute at both airports, which marked the last scheduled domestic passenger flight of a McDonnell Douglas designed and produced jetliner in the United States in daily service.

Flight 88 was the last of a handful of Delta flights using aircraft from the MD80 family of jetliners to land in Atlanta on the morning of June 2.

The last MD90 arrived from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport as Delta flight 90.

Other last MD88 flights landed in Atlanta from Hartford, Pittsburgh, Sarasota, Norfolk, Richmond and Raleigh-Durham.

Over the course of 24 hours earlier this week Delta flew “Mad Dogs on several routes from Atlanta, including to Columbus and Indianapolis on Monday.

The last MD88 to serve John Glenn Columbus Airport landed at 10:58 p.m. on Monday and departed without passengers at 10:55 a.m. on Tuesday for Blytheville, Arkansas, where Delta is storing its retired MD88 and MD90 aircraft.

Delta was the last U.S. airline to fly the MD80 family of aircraft. American Airlines retired the last of its MD80s in September 2019 while Allegiant Air retired its MD80s in November 2018.

The Mad Dogs of all three carriers were regular users of Northeast Ohio airports in recent years.

An American MD80 flew from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth on Sept. 4, 20190, the last day of operation by that carrier of an MD80.

Delta flew MD88 aircraft to Cleveland from Atlanta until earlier this year. During the COVID-19 pandemic Delta began using Boeing 717s on the Cleveland-Atlanta route in place of MD88s.

Until about a year ago, Delta also flew MD88 aircraft between Akron-Canton Airport and Atlanta.

At one time, Delta had four flights a day between CAK and Atlanta with MD88 equipment.

That was later trimmed to three daily roundtrips. Delta then began using regional jets on two of those three roundtrips.

The MD80 traces its heritage to the 1965 introduction of the DC-9 jetliner by Douglas Corporation for which Delta was the launch customer.

The MD80 was a stretched version of the DC-9 that was rebranded as MD80 after Douglas merged with McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in 1967.

The Boeing 717 is a smaller member of the MD80 family and was initially designated the MD95 until being rebranded after McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing in 1997.

The MD88 and MD90 once were the backbone of Delta’s domestic flight network with the carrier operating 120 MD88s and 65 MD90s.

Delta had planned to retire both aircraft at the end of 2020, but accelerated their retirements due to a dramatic drop in airline traffic during the pandemic.

Delta, like most carriers, has grounded much of its fleet, parking half of the 1,316 planes used in Delta mainline and Delta connection service.

Aviation authorities said that during the 33-year operating life of the MD80 the fleet of 1,191 aircraft built flew 750 million passengers and logged 12 million hours in the air.

Delta once operated 900 MD88 flights a day and flew them to nearly every U.S. Airport that it served.

The last Delta MD88 flight was a subdued affair. Due to social distancing restrictions just 84 of the 149 seats aboard Delta flight 88 were filled.

Balloons and banners decorated the departure gate at Dulles and passengers and crew posed for a group portrait with most of them wearing masks.

The flight used aircraft N900DE, which was the 100th MD88 to be delivered to Delta.

It landed in Atlanta at 9:55 a.m. and later that day departed for Blytheville.

The Mad Dog moniker was applied in part because of the plane’s model initials and because pilots said it took off from the runway like a rocket or a mad dog.