McDonnell Douglas DC-9


NWA DC-9 (278668845).jpg
A Northwest Airlines DC-9-31
Role Narrow-body jet airliner
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
McDonnell Douglas
First flight February 25, 1965
Introduction December 8, 1965, with Delta Air Lines
Status In limited service
Primary users USA Jet Airlines
Aeronaves TSM
Northwest Airlines (historical)
Delta Air Lines (historical)
Produced 1965–1982
Number built 976
Variants McDonnell Douglas C-9
Developed into McDonnell Douglas MD-80
McDonnell Douglas MD-90
Boeing 717

The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 (initially the Douglas DC-9) is an American single-aisle airliner designed by the Douglas Aircraft Company. After introducing its heavy DC-8 in 1959, Douglas approved the smaller, all-new DC-9 for shorter flights on April 8, 1963. The DC-9-10 first flew on February 25, 1965 and gained its type certificate on November 23, to enter service with Delta Air Lines on December 8. With five seats across in economy, it had two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D low-bypass turbofans under a T-tail for a cleaner wing, a two-person flight deck and built-in airstairs.

The Series 10 are 104 ft (32 m) long for typically 90 coach seats. The Series 30, stretched by 15 ft (4.5 m) to seat 115 in economy, has a larger wing and more powerful engines for a higher maximum takeoff weight (MTOW); it first flew in August 1966 and entered service in February 1967. The Series 20 has the Series 10 fuselage, more powerful engines and the -30 improved wings; it first flew in September 1968 and entered service in January 1969. The Series 40 was further lengthened by 6 ft (2 m) for 125 passengers, and the final DC-9-50 series first flew in 1974, stretched again by 8 ft (2.5 m) for 135 passengers. When deliveries ended in October 1982, 976 had been built. Smaller variants competed with the BAC One-Eleven, Fokker F28 and Sud Aviation Caravelle, and larger ones with the original Boeing 737.

The DC-9 was followed by the MD-80 series in 1980, a lengthened DC-9-50 with a larger wing and a higher MTOW. This was further developed into the MD-90 in the early 1990s, as the body was stretched again, with V2500 high-bypass turbofans and an updated flight deck added. The shorter, final version, the MD-95, was renamed the Boeing 717 after McDonnell Douglas's merger with Boeing in 1997, powered by Rolls-Royce BR715 engines.

Design and development


During the 1950s Douglas Aircraft studied a short- to medium-range airliner to complement their higher capacity, long range DC-8. (DC stands for Douglas Commercial.)[1] A medium-range four-engine Model 2067 was studied but it did not receive enough interest from airlines and it was abandoned. In 1960, Douglas signed a two-year contract with Sud Aviation for technical cooperation. Douglas would market and support the Sud Aviation Caravelle and produce a licensed version if airlines ordered large numbers. None were ordered and Douglas returned to its design studies after the cooperation deal expired.[2]

A DC-9's two-person flight deck
Four-across business class and five-across economy class seating on a DC-9

In 1962, design studies were underway. The first version seated 63 passengers and had a gross weight of 69,000 lb (31,300 kg). This design was changed into what would be the initial DC-9 variant.[2] Douglas gave approval to produce the DC-9 on April 8, 1963.[2] Unlike the competing but larger Boeing 727 trijet, which used as many 707 components as possible, the DC-9 was an all-new design. The DC-9 has two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofan engines, relatively small, efficient wings, and a T-tail.[3] The DC-9's takeoff weight was limited to 80,000 lb (36,300 kg) for a two-person flight crew by Federal Aviation Agency regulations at the time.[2] DC-9 aircraft have five seats across for economy seating. The airplane seats 80 to 135 passengers depending on version and seating arrangement.

The DC-9 was designed for short to medium routes, often to smaller airports with shorter runways and less ground infrastructure than the major airports being served by larger designs like the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. Accessibility and short field characteristics were called for. Turnarounds were simplified by built-in airstairs, including one in the tail, which shortened boarding and deplaning times.

The tail-mounted engine design facilitated a clean wing without engine pods, which had numerous advantages. For example, flaps could be longer, unimpeded by pods on the leading edge and engine blast concerns on the trailing edge. This simplified design improved airflow at low speeds and enabled lower takeoff and approach speeds, thus lowering field length requirements and keeping wing structure light. The second advantage of the tail-mounted engines was the reduction in foreign object damage from ingested debris from runways and aprons. However, with this position, the engines could ingest ice streaming off the wing roots. Third, the absence of engines in underslung pods allowed a reduction in fuselage ground clearance, making the aircraft more accessible to baggage handlers and passengers.

The problem of deep stalling, revealed by the loss of the BAC One-Eleven prototype in 1963, was overcome through various changes, including the introduction of vortilons, small surfaces beneath the wing's leading edge used to control airflow and increase low speed lift.[4]


The DC-9 entered service with Delta Air Lines on December 8, 1965.

The first DC-9, a production model, flew on February 25, 1965.[5] The second DC-9 flew a few weeks later,[3] with a test fleet of five aircraft flying by July. This allowed the initial Series 10 to gain airworthiness certification on November 23, 1965, and to enter service with Delta Air Lines on December 8.[5] The DC-9 was always intended to be available in multiple versions to suit customer requirements;[6] the first stretched version, the Series 30, with a longer fuselage and extended wing tips, flew on August 1, 1966, entering service with Eastern Air Lines in 1967.[5] The initial Series 10 would be followed by the improved -20, -30, and -40 variants. The final DC-9 series was the -50, which first flew in 1974.[3]

The DC-9 was a commercial success with 976 built when production ended in 1982.[3] The DC-9 is one of the longest-lasting aircraft in operation. Its last successor, the Boeing 717, was produced until 2006.

The DC-9 family was produced in 2441 units: 976 DC-9s, 1191 MD-80s, 116 MD-90s and 155 Boeing 717s.[7] This compares to 8,000 Airbus A320s delivered as of February 2018[8] and 10,000 Boeing 737s completed as of March 2018.[9]

Studies aimed at further improving DC-9 fuel efficiency, by means of retrofitted wingtips of various types, were undertaken by McDonnell Douglas. However, these did not demonstrate significant benefits, especially with existing fleets shrinking. The wing design makes retrofitting difficult.[10]


The DC-9 was followed by the introduction of the MD-80 series in 1980. This was originally called the DC-9-80 series. It was a lengthened DC-9-50 with a higher maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), a larger wing, new main landing gear, and higher fuel capacity. The MD-80 series features a number of variants of the Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofan engine having higher thrust ratings than those available on the DC-9. The series includes the MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-88, and shorter fuselage MD-87.

The MD-80 series was further developed into the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 in the early 1990s. It has yet another fuselage stretch, an electronic flight instrument system (first introduced on the MD-88), and completely new International Aero V2500 high-bypass turbofan engines. In comparison to the very successful MD-80, relatively few MD-90s were built.

The final variant was the MD-95, which was renamed the Boeing 717-200 after McDonnell Douglas's merger with Boeing in 1997 and before aircraft deliveries began. The fuselage length and wing are very similar to those of the DC-9-30, but much use was made of lighter, modern materials. Power is supplied by two BMW/Rolls-Royce BR715 high-bypass turbofan engines.

China's Comac ARJ21 is derived from the DC-9 family. The ARJ21 is built with manufacturing tooling from the MD-90 Trunkliner program. As a consequence, it has the same fuselage cross-section, nose profile, and tail.[11]


Series 10

The original DC-9 (later designated the Series 10) was the smallest DC-9 variant. The -10 was 104.4 ft (31.8 m) long and had a maximum weight of 82,000 lb (37,000 kg). The Series 10 was similar in size and configuration to the BAC One-Eleven and featured a T-tail and rear-mounted engines. Power was provided by a pair of 12,500 lbf (56 kN) Pratt & Whitney JT8D-5 or 14,000 lbf (62 kN) JT8D-7 engines. A total of 137 were built. Delta Air Lines was the initial operator.

The Series 10 was produced in two main subvariants, the Series 14 and 15, although, of the first four aircraft, three were built as Series 11s and one as Series 12. These were later converted to Series 14 standard. No Series 13 were produced. A passenger/cargo version of the aircraft, with a 136-by-81-inch (3.5 by 2.1 m) side cargo door forward of the wing and a reinforced cabin floor, was certificated on March 1, 1967. Cargo versions included the Series 15MC (Minimum Change) with folding seats that can be carried in the rear of the aircraft, and the Series 15RC (Rapid Change) with seats removable on pallets. These differences disappeared over the years as new interiors were installed.[12][13]

The Series 10 was unique in the DC-9 family in not having leading-edge slats. The Series 10 was designed to have short takeoff and landing distances without the use of leading-edge high-lift devices. Therefore, the wing design of the Series 10 featured airfoils with extremely high maximum-lift capability in order to obtain the low stalling speeds necessary for short-field performance.[14]

Series 10 features

The Series 10 has an overall length of 104.4 feet (31.82 m), a fuselage length of 92.1 feet (28.07 m), a passenger-cabin length of 60 feet (18.29 m), and a wingspan of 89.4 feet (27.25 m).

The Series 10 was offered with the 14,000 lbf (62 kN)-thrust JT8D-1 and JT8D-7.[12][13] All versions of the DC-9 are equipped with an AlliedSignal (Garrett) GTCP85 APU, located in the aft fuselage.[12][13] The Series 10, as with all later versions of the DC-9, is equipped with a two-crew analog flightdeck.[12][13]

The Series 14 was originally certificated with an MTOW of 85,700 lb (38,900 kg), but subsequent options offered increases to 86,300 and 90,700 lb (41,100 kg). The aircraft's MLW in all cases is 81,700 lb (37,100 kg). The Series 14 has a fuel capacity of 3,693 US gallons (with the 907 US gal centre section fuel). The Series 15, certificated on January 21, 1966, is physically identical to the Series 14 but has an increased MTOW of 90,700 lb (41,100 kg). Typical range with 50 passengers and baggage is 950 nmi (1,760 km), increasing to 1,278 nmi (2,367 km) at long-range cruise. Range with maximum payload is 600 nmi (1,100 km), increasing to 1,450 nmi (2,690 km) with full fuel.[12][13]

The aircraft is fitted with a passenger door in the port forward fuselage, and a service door/emergency exit is installed opposite. An airstair installed below the front passenger door was available as an option as was an airstair in the tailcone. This also doubled as an emergency exit. Available with either two or four overwing exits, the DC-9-10 can seat up to a maximum certified exit limit of 109 passengers. Typical all-economy layout is 90 passengers, and 72 passengers in a more typical mixed-class layout with 12 first and 60 economy-class passengers.[12][13]

All versions of the DC-9 are equipped with a tricycle undercarriage, featuring a twin nose unit and twin main units.[12][13]

Series 20

The Series 20 was designed to satisfy a Scandinavian Airlines request for improved short-field performance by using the more-powerful engines and improved wings of the -30 combined with the shorter fuselage used in the -10. Ten Series 20 aircraft were produced, all as the Model -21.[15] The -21 had slats and stairs at the rear of plane.[citation needed]

In 1969, a DC-9 Series 20 at Long Beach was fitted with an Elliott Flight Automation Head-up display by McDonnell Douglas and used for successful three-month-long trials with pilots from various airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the US Air Force.[16]

Series 20 features

The Series 20 has an overall length of 104.4 feet (31.82 m), a fuselage length of 92.1 feet (28.07 m), a passenger-cabin length of 60 feet (18.29 m), and a wingspan of 93.3 feet (28.44 m).[12][13] The DC-9 Series 20 is powered by the 15,000 lbf (67 kN) thrust JT8D-11 engine.[12][13]

The Series 20 was originally certificated at an MTOW of 94,500 lb (42,900 kg) but this was increased to 98,000 lb (44,000 kg), eight percent more than on the higher weight Series 14s and 15s. The aircraft's MLW is 95,300 lb (43,200 kg) and MZFW is 84,000 lb (38,000 kg). Typical range with maximum payload is 1,000 nmi (1,900 km), increasing to 1,450 nmi (2,690 km) with maximum fuel. The Series 20, using the same wing as the Series 30, 40 and 50, has a slightly lower basic fuel capacity than the Series 10 (3,679 US gallons).[12][13]

Series 20 milestones
  • First flight: September 18, 1968.
  • FAA certification: November 25, 1968.
  • First delivery: December 11, 1968 to Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS)
  • Entry into service: January 27, 1969 with SAS.
  • Last delivery: May 1, 1969 to SAS.

Series 30

USAir DC-9-31

The Series 30 was produced to counter Boeing's 737 twinjet; 662 were built, about 60% of the total. The -30 entered service with Eastern Airlines in February 1967 with a 14 ft 9 in (4.50 m) fuselage stretch, wingspan increased by just over 3 ft (0.9 m) and full-span leading edge slats, improving takeoff and landing performance. Maximum takeoff weight was typically 110,000 lb (50,000 kg). Engines for Models -31, -32, -33, and -34 included the P&W JT8D-7 and JT8D-9 rated at 14,500 lbf (64 kN) of thrust, or JT8D-11 with 15,000 lbf (67 kN).

Unlike the Series 10, the Series 30 had leading-edge devices to reduce the landing speeds at higher landing weights; full-span slats reduced approach speeds by six knots despite 5,000 lb greater weight. The slats were lighter than slotted Krueger flaps, since the structure associated with the slat is a more efficient torque box than the structure associated with the slotted Krueger. The wing had a six-percent increase in chord, all ahead of the front spar, allowing the 15 percent chord slat to be incorporated.[17]

Series 30 versions

The Series 30 was built in four main sub-variants.[12][13]

  • DC-9-31: Produced in passenger version only. The first DC-9 Series 30 flew on August 1, 1966, and the first delivery was to Eastern Airlines on February 27, 1967 after certification on December 19, 1966. Basic MTOW of 98,000 lb (44,000 kg) and subsequently certificated at weights up to 108,000 lb (49,000 kg).
  • DC-9-32: Introduced in the first year (1967). Certificated March 1, 1967. Basic MTOW of 108,000 lb (49,000 kg) later increased to 110,000 lb (50,000 kg). A number of cargo versions of the Series 32 were also produced:
    • 32LWF (Light Weight Freight) with modified cabin but no cargo door or reinforced floor, intended for package freighter use.
    • 32CF (Convertible Freighter), with a reinforced floor but retaining passenger facilities
    • 32AF (All Freight), a windowless all-cargo aircraft.
  • DC-9-33: Following the Series 31 and 32 came the Series 33 for passenger/cargo or all-cargo use. Certificated on April 15, 1968, the aircraft's MTOW was 114,000 lb (52,000 kg), MLW to 102,000 lb (46,000 kg) and MZFW to 95,500 lb (43,300 kg). JT8D-9 or -11 (15,000 lbf (67 kN) thrust) engines were used. Wing incidence was increased 1.25 degrees to reduce cruise drag.[18] Only 22 were built, as All Freight (AF), Convertible Freight (CF) and Rapid Change (RC) aircraft.
  • DC-9-34: The last variant was the Series 34, intended for longer range with an MTOW of 121,000 lb (55,000 kg), an MLW of 110,000 lb (50,000 kg) and an MZFW of 98,000 lb (44,000 kg). The DC-9-34CF (Convertible Freighter) was certificated April 20, 1976, while the passenger followed on November 3, 1976. The aircraft has the more powerful JT8D-9s with the -15 and -17 engines as an option. It had the wing incidence change introduced on the DC-9-33. Twelve were built, five as convertible freighters.
Series 30 features

The DC-9-30 was offered with a selection of variants of JT8D including the -1, -7, -9, -11, -15. and -17. The most common on the Series 31 is the JT8D-7 (14,000 lbf (62 kN) thrust), although it was also available with the −9 and -17 engines. On the Series 32 the JT8D-9 (14,500 lbf (64 kN) thrust) was standard, with the -11 also offered. The Series 33 was offered with the JT8D-9 or -11 (15,000 lbf (67 kN) thrust) engines and the heavyweight -34 with the JT8D-9, -15 (15,000 lbf (67 kN) thrust) or -17 (16,000 lbf (71 kN) thrust) engines.[12][13]

Series 40

The DC-9-40 is a further lengthened version. With a 6 ft 6 in (2 m) longer fuselage, accommodation was up to 125 passengers. The Series 40 was fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines with thrust of 14,500 to 16,000 lbf (64 to 71 kN). A total of 71 were produced. The variant first entered service with Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) in March 1968. Its unit cost was US$5.2 million (1972)[19] (equivalent to US$24.59 million in 2019)[20] .

Series 50

DC-9-51 of Swissair

The Series 50 was the largest version of the DC-9 to enter airline service. It features an 8 ft 2 in (2.49 m) fuselage stretch and seats up to 139 passengers. It entered revenue service in August 1975 with Eastern Airlines and included a number of detail improvements, a new cabin interior, and more powerful JT8D-15 or -17 engines in the 16,000 and 16,500 lbf (71 and 73 kN) class. McDonnell Douglas delivered 96, all as the Model -51. Some visual cues to distinguish this version from other DC-9 variants include side strakes or fins below the side cockpit windows, spray deflectors on the nose gear, and thrust reversers angled inward 17 degrees as compared to the original configuration. The thrust reverser modification was developed by Air Canada for its earlier aircraft, and adopted by McDonnell Douglas as a standard feature on the series 50. It was also applied to many earlier DC-9s in the course of regular maintenance.[21]

Military and government


A total of 30 DC-9 aircraft (all variants) were in commercial service as of July 2018. Operators include Aeronaves TSM (8), USA Jet Airlines (6), Everts Air Cargo (4), Ameristar Charters (4) and other operators with fewer aircraft.[22][23]

After acquiring Northwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines operated a fleet of DC-9 aircraft, most of which were over 30 years old at the time. With severe increases in fuel prices in the summer of 2008, Northwest Airlines began retiring its DC-9s, switching to Airbus A319s that are 27% more fuel efficient.[24][25] As the Northwest/Delta merger progressed, Delta returned several stored DC-9s to service. Delta Air Lines made its last DC-9 commercial flight from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Atlanta on January 6, 2014 with the flight number DL2014.[26][27]

With the existing DC-9 fleet shrinking, modifications do not appear to be likely to occur, especially since the wing design makes retrofitting difficult.[10] DC-9s are therefore likely to be further replaced in service by newer airliners such as Boeing 737, Airbus A320, Embraer E-Jets, and the Bombardier CSeries.[28]

One ex-SAS DC-9-21 is operated as a skydiving jump platform at Perris Valley Airport in Perris, California. With the steps on the ventral stairs removed, it is the only airline transport class jet certified to date by the FAA for skydiving operations as of 2016.[29]


Type Total 1982 1981 1980 1979 1978 1977 1976 1975 1974 1973 1972 1971 1970 1969 1968 1967 1966 1965
DC-9-10 113 10 29 69 5
DC-9-10C 24 4 20
DC-9-20 10 9 1
DC-9-30 585 8 10 13 24 1 12 16 21 21 17 42 41 97 161 101
DC-9-30C 30 1 6 4 1 3 5 7 3
DC-9-30F 6 4 2
DC-9-40 71 5 6 3 2 4 27 3 2 7 2 10
DC-9-50 96 5 5 10 15 18 28 15
C-9A 21 8 1 5 7
C-9B 17 2 1 2 4 8
VC-9C 3 3
Total 976 10 16 18 39 22 22 50 42 48 29 32 46 51 122 202 153 69 5

Accidents and incidents

As of June 2018, the DC-9 has been involved in 276 aviation occurrences, including 145 hull-loss accidents,[31] with 3,697 fatalities combined.[32]

Accidents with fatalities

Itavia DC-9 (I-TIGI) was destroyed in an accident at Ustica. Shown in the "Museo della Memoria" opened in Bologna in 2007.
  • On June 27, 1980, Itavia Flight 870, a DC-9-15, broke up mid-air and crashed into the sea near the Italian island of Ustica. All 81 people on board were killed. The cause has been the subject of a decades-long controversy, with either a terrorist bomb on board or an accidental shootdown during a military operation blamed for the accident.
  • On July 27, 1981, Aeroméxico Flight 230, a DC-9 ran off the runway in Chihuahua. Thirty passengers and two crew of the 66 on board were killed. Bad weather and pilot error were the causes of the accident.
  • On June 2, 1983, Air Canada Flight 797, a DC-9 experienced an electrical fire in the aft lavatory during flight, resulting in an emergency landing at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. During evacuation, the sudden influx of oxygen caused a flash fire throughout the cabin, resulting in the deaths of 23 of the 41 passengers, including Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers. All five crew members survived.
  • On December 7, 1983, the Madrid runway disaster took place where a departing Iberia Boeing 727 struck an Aviaco Douglas DC-9 causing the death of 93 passengers and crew. All 42 passengers and crew on board the DC-9 were killed.
  • On September 6, 1985, Midwest Express Airlines Flight 105, operated with a DC-9-14, crashed just after takeoff from General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The crash was caused by improper control inputs by the flight crew after the number 2 engine failed, and all 31 aboard were killed.
  • On August 31, 1986, Aeroméxico Flight 498 collided in mid-air with a Piper Cherokee over the city of Cerritos, California, then crashed into the city, killing all 64 aboard the aircraft, 15 people on the ground, and all three in the small plane.
  • On April 4, 1987, Garuda Indonesia Flight 035, a DC-9-32, hit a pylon and crashed on approach to Polonia International Airport in bad weather with 24 fatalities.[49]
  • On November 15, 1987, Continental Airlines Flight 1713, a DC-9-14, crashed on takeoff from Stapleton International Airport in bad weather with 28 fatalities. This accident was attributed to a combination of confusion at the ATC, exceeding allowed time-limit for takeoff after de-icing the wings, and inexperienced crew.
  • On November 14, 1990, Alitalia Flight 404, a DC-9-32, crashed into a hillside on approach to Zurich Airport, killing all 46 persons on board. The crash was caused by a short circuit, which led to a failure of the aircraft's NAV receiver and GPWS system.
  • On December 3, 1990, Northwest Airlines Flight 1482, a DC-9-14, taxied onto the wrong taxiway in dense fog at Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Michigan. It entered the active runway instead of the taxiway instructed by air traffic controllers. It was then struck by a departing Boeing 727. Nine people were killed.[50][51]
  • On March 5, 1991, Aeropostal Alas de Venezuela Flight 108, a DC-9-32, crashed into a mountainside in Trujillo State, Venezuela, killing all 40 passengers and five crew aboard.[52]
  • On July 2, 1994, USAir Flight 1016, DC-9-31 N954VJ crashed in Charlotte, North Carolina while performing a go-around because of heavy storms and wind shear at the approach of runway 18R. There were 37 fatalities and 15 injured among the passengers and crew. Although the airplane came to rest in a residential area with the tail section striking a house, there were no fatalities or injuries on the ground.
  • On May 11, 1996, ValuJet Flight 592, DC-9-32 N904VJ crashed in the Florida Everglades due to a fire caused by the activation of chemical oxygen generators illegally stored in the hold. The fire damaged the plane's electrical system and eventually overcame the crew, resulting in the deaths of all 110 people on board.
  • On October 10, 1997 (1997-10-10), Austral Flight 2553, a DC-9-32 registration LV-WEG, en route from Posadas to Buenos Aires, crashed near Fray Bentos, Uruguay, killing all 69 passengers and five crew on board.[53]
  • On February 2, 1998, Cebu Pacific Flight 387, a DC-9-32 RP-C1507 crashed on the slopes of Mount Sumagaya in Misamis Oriental, Philippines, killing all 104 passengers and crew on board. Aviation investigators deemed the incident to be caused by pilot error when the plane made a non-regular stopover to Tacloban.
  • On November 9, 1999, TAESA Flight 725 crashed a few minutes after leaving the Uruapan Airport en route to Mexico City. 18 people were killed in the accident.[54]
  • On 10 December 2005, Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 from Abuja crash-landed at Port Harcourt International Airport, Nigeria. There were 108 fatalities and two survivors.[55]
  • On April 15, 2008, Hewa Bora Airways Flight 122 crashed into a residential neighborhood, in the Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo,[56] resulting in the deaths of at least 44 people.[57]
  • On July 6, 2008, USA Jet Airlines Flight 199, a DC-9-15F, crashed on approach to Saltillo, Mexico, after a flight from Shreveport, Louisiana. The captain died and first officer was seriously injured.[58]

Hull losses

  • On November 27, 1973, Eastern Airlines Flight 300, a DC-9-31, landed too far down the runway at Akron-Canton Airport in light rain and fog and ran off the end of the runway over an embankment and the aircraft was severely damaged and written off. All 21 passengers and 5 crew survived with various injuries.[59]
  • On April 18, 1993, Japan Air System Flight 451, a DC-9-41 JA8448 crashed while landing at Hanamaki Airport in Japan. There were 19 injuries, though all 77 aboard survived. The aircraft was written off.[60]
  • On October 6, 2000, Aeroméxico Flight 250, a DC-9-31 en route from Mexico City to Reynosa, Mexico, could not stop at the end of the runway and crashed into houses and fell into a small canal. Four people on the ground were killed. None of 83 passengers and 5 crew members were killed. The DC-9 was heavily damaged and classified as a loss. The runway had seen heavy rainfall as a result of Hurricane Keith.[61]

Other incidents

  • On June 27, 1969, Douglas DC-9-31 N906H of Hawaiian Airlines was struck on the ground by Vickers Viscount N7410 of Aloha Airlines at Honolulu International Airport. The Viscount was damaged beyond repair. The DC-9 was repaired and flew with Hughes Airwest, Republic Airlines, and Northwest Airlines until 2002.[62]
  • On May 10, 2005, a Northwest Airlines DC-9-50 collided on the ground with a Northwest Airlines Airbus A319 that had just pushed back from the gate at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport after losing its steering ability. The DC-9 suffered a malfunction in one of its hydraulic systems in flight. After landing, the captain shut down one of the plane's engines, inadvertently disabling the remaining working hydraulic system. Six people were injured and both planes were substantially damaged.[63]

Security incidents

  • On January 26, 1972, JAT Flight 367 from Stockholm to Belgrade, DC-9-32 registration YU-AHT, was destroyed in flight by a bomb placed on board. The sole survivor was a flight attendant, Vesna Vulović, who holds the record for the world's longest fall without a parachute when she fell some 33,000 ft (10,000 m) inside a section of the airplane and survived.
  • On November 10–11, 1972, Southern Airways Flight 49 was hijacked while departing Birmingham, Alabama's airport by three armed men. The hijackers then proceeded to fly the passengers and crew to multiple locations in the United States, Canada, and Cuba, including Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the less-than-demanded ransom money was delivered, the now-defunct McCoy Air Force Base in Orlando, Florida, where the FBI shot out two of the DC-9's four main landing wheels, and Havana, Cuba, where the 30-hour and 4,000 miles (6,400 km) odyssey came to an end with no fatalities or injuries among the passengers and crew members. This incident is notable for being the first hijacking in which an aircraft left Cuba with the hijackers on board.[64]

Aircraft on display

President of Italy Sandro Pertini and members of the Italian national soccer team aboard MM62012 after their win at the 1982 World Cup


DC-9 airplane characteristics[86]
Variant -15 -21 -32 -41 -51
Cockpit crew[87]: 66  Two
1-class seating: 15–18  90Y@31-32" 115Y@31-33" 125@31-34" 135@32-33"
Exit limit[87]: 80  109 127 128 139
Cargo: 4  600 ft³ / 17.0m³[a] 895 ft³ / 25.3m³[b] 1,019 ft³ / 28.9m³ 1,174 ft³ / 33.2m³
Length: 5–9  104 ft 4.8in / 31.82 m 119 ft 3.6 in / 36.36 m 125 ft 7.2 in / 38.28 m 133 ft 7 in / 40.72m
Wingspan: 10–14  89 ft 4.8 in / 27.25 m 93 ft 3.6 in / 28.44 m 93 ft 4.2 in / 28.45 m
Height: 10–14  27 ft 7 in / 8.4 m 27 ft 9 in / 8.5 m 28 ft 5 in / 8.7 m 28 ft 9 in / 8.8 m
Width 131.6 in / 334.3 cm Fuselage,: 23  122.4 in / 311 cm Cabin: 24 
Max. takeoff wt.: 4  90,700 lb / 41,141 kg 98,000 lb / 45,359 kg 108,000 lb / 48,988 kg 114,000 lb / 51,710 kg 121,000 lb / 54,885 kg
Empty: 4  49,162 lb / 22,300 kg[a] 52,644 lb / 23,879 kg 56,855 lb / 25,789 kg[b] 61,335 lb / 27,821 kg 64,675 lb / 29,336 kg
Fuel: 4  24,743 lb / 11,223 kg 24,649 lb / 11,181 kg
Engine (2×)[87] JT8D-1/5/7/9/11/15/17 -9/11 -1/5/7/9/11/15/17 -9/11/15/17 -15/17
Thrust (2×)[87] -1/7: 14,000 lbf (62 kN), -5/-9: 12,250 lbf (54.5 kN), -11: 15,000 lbf (67 kN), -15: 15,500 lbf (69 kN), -17: 16,000 lbf (71 kN)
Ceiling[87]: 67  35,000 ft (11,000 m)
MMo[87] Mach 0.84 (484 kn; 897 km/h)
Range: 36–45  1,300 nmi (2,400 km) 1,500 nmi (2,800 km) 1,500 nmi (2,800 km) 1,200 nmi (2,200 km) 1,300 nmi (2,400 km)
  1. ^ a b -15F Cargo: 2,762 ft³ / 78.2m³, Empty: 53,200 lb / 24,131 kg
  2. ^ a b -33F Cargo: 4,195 ft³ / 119.0m³, Empty: 56,430 lb / 25,596 kg
Comparison of McDonnell Douglas DC-9, Boeing 717, and different McDonnell Douglas MD-80 derivatives

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



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  • Becher, Thomas. Douglas Twinjets, DC-9, MD-80, MD-90 and Boeing 717. Ramsbury, Marlborough, UK: The Crowood Press, 2002. ISBN 978-1-8612-6446-6.
  • "Super 80 For the Eighties". Air International, Vol 18 No 6, June 1980. pp. 267–272, 292–296. ISSN 0306-5634.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1966.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1976. ISBN 0-354-00538-3.

External links

  • Boeing: Historical Snapshot: DC-9/C-9 Transport
  • "DC-9 history page on". Archived from the original on March 4, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  • McDonnell Douglas commercial history page for DC-9 series
  • DC-9-10/20/30 on and DC-9-40/50 on
  • DC-9 History on