Posts Tagged ‘MD80 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.

American Makes Aviation History This Week with Last ‘Mad Dog’ Flight From Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth

September 5, 2019

This American Airline flight landing in Cleveland on March 9, 2019, would be the last time that I photographed one of the carrier’s MD80 aircraft. The remaining “Mad Dogs” were retired on Wednesday after their final revenue flights.

Aviation history was made in Northeast Ohio this week when an American Airlines MD80 lifted off from Cleveland Hopkins Airport on the last day of revenue service of the jet that many affectionately called “Mad Dog.”

On Sept. 4, American operated the last of its 26 MD80 aircraft for the final time.

The jet had been a mainstay on the Cleveland/Dallas-Fort Worth route for several years although Boeing 737 and Airbus 319 aircraft had begun to replace the Mad Dogs.

Cleveland was one of 13 cities at which an MD80 jet originated in the early morning hours to fly to DFW on the final day of service.

Flight 2200, an MD83, left Hopkins at 5:49 a.m., taking off seven minutes early. It landed at DFW at 6:58 a.m. Central Daylight time.

The last MD80 to fly with paying passengers aboard was flight 80, which left DFW just after 9 a.m. en route to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

That flight was sold out although a writer for an airline industry website who was aboard said there was one empty seat due to a last-minute cancellation.

After aircraft N984TW landed at O’Hare, it departed for an aircraft bone yard in Roswell, New Mexico, to join several other MD80s that flew in from Dallas after completing flights from Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Wichita, San Antonio, Raleigh-Durham, Omaha, Destin-Ft. Walton Beach (Florida), McAllen (Texas), Pensacola (Florida), Lubbock (Texas) and Amarillo (Texas).

Roswell is also where many Boeing 737 MAX jets are being stored until federal regulators give the approval for that plane to fly again.

American began flying the MD80 in October 1982. At one point it accounted for 49 percent of the carrier’s fleet.

The 362 MD80s that American had in 2003 was nearly a third of those built by McDonnell Douglas. Many of those jets American inherited after merging with Trans World Airlines in 2001.

American referred to the planes as Super 80s.

It was been well publicized in recent years that American planned to retire the MD80 fleet in 2019.

Given those plans, I made it a point to photograph MD80s as they made their final approach over Olmsted Falls en route to Hopkins whenever I was there and aircraft were landing to the northeast.

I made my last photograph of an American MD80 on March 9 of this year.

Because American planned to phase out its MD80 fleet it never repainted them into its current livery.

All of American’s MD80s flew their last miles in the polished aluminum livery, also known as the tri-color look.

American’s retirement of its MD80s leaves Delta Air Lines as the last major U.S. domestic operator of the Mad Dog.

Some of Delta’s flights between Cleveland and Atlanta use MD88 or MD90 equipment.

Until about a week ago, the carrier also flew an MD88 into Akron-Canton Airport nightly from Atlanta, although that flight is now being covered by a Boeing 737.

Delta has said it will phase out its fleet of MD88s in 2020 and its MD90s fleet in 2022.

Low fare carrier Allegiant Air also flew MD80 aircraft to Cleveland and Akron-Canton at one time before it retired its fleet of Mad Dogs in November 2018 in favor of Airbus equipment.

Planes Were the Objective Along With the Trains

May 1, 2017

Having picked up a third unit, the motive power set of the 20R is returning to its train, which was parked east of CP 194.

When I saw the weather forecast for Sunday, April 23, I knew I just had to get out someplace trackside.

The winds were going to be northeasterly, which sealed the deal on going to Olmsted Falls. Why? Because aircraft landing at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport would be landing on runway 6 left and that would put their final approach path just to the west of the depot.

I could photograph trains and planes. Maybe I would get lucky and get a heritage plane as well as an NS heritage unit.

It turned out that I got neither. All of the motive power was standard NS black. All of the planes were in their usual colors and markings.

Not a single foreign unit led a single train during my nearly nine hours there.

I did succeed, though, in photographing for the first time Allegiant Air, which began flying into Hopkins in February. That same month Allegiant stopped serving the Akron-Canton Airport.

I also got an American Airlines MD80 in its original livery. American plans to phase the MD80 out of its fleet later this year so those planes are flying on short time.

This outing had something in common with the ARRC’s Dave McKay Day back on April 1.

On McKay Day, NS train 20R had to pick up another locomotive. The same thing happened on this day, too.

The 17N cut off its power and dropped a spare unit at the far west end of the Berea siding. The 20R power set ran light through the Falls to pick it up.

Otherwise, it was a pretty routine day, but even a routine day can be a good day when you are trackside on a nice spring day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Eastbound 22K passing a budding tree by the depot.

The crew of NS train 17N returns to its train after dropping off a unit for the 20R in the Berea siding.

A stack train with a colorful set of containers approaches the Olmsted Falls depot.

I believe this is NS train 206.

Big wheels keep on turning. Tractors hitch a ride on eastbound NS train 14A.

An Allegiant MD80 is lined up to land on at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Catching Allegiant for the first time was at the top of my objective list for this outing. This flight is inbound from Orlando Sanford Airport.