Smaller than the
DC-8, the trim DC-9 has a distinctive high-level horizontal
stabilizer atop the rudder, commonly called a "T" tail. Two engines
mounted on the aft fuselage power the aircraft at cruising speeds
exceeding 500 mph (800 km/h) and altitudes over 30,000 feet (9,144
and production of the DC-9 was centred in Long Beach, Calif., at
what is now the Long Beach Division of Boeing Commercial Airplanes,
where 976 of the twin jets were built during an 18-year production
run. The first flight was Feb. 25, 1965; the final DC-9 was
delivered in October 1982.
There are five basic
DC-9 versions, designated Series 10, Series 20, Series 30, Series 40
and Series 50. Several models in each series provide operators
maximum efficiency for diverse combinations of traffic density,
cargo volume and route distances to more than 2,000 miles (3,218
km). All models use variants of the reliable workhorse Pratt &
Whitney JT8D engine.
The first in the twinjet family, the fuselage length of the Series
10 DC-9 is 104.4 feet (31.8 m), accommodating up to 90 passengers
with 600 cubic feet (16.9 m3) of cargo space below the
floor. Wingspan is 89.4 feet (27.2 m). Engines can be JT8D-5s or
JT8D-7s, with takeoff thrust ratings up to 14,000 pounds.
The DC-9 Series 20, although numbered second in the sequence of
models, actually is the fourth member of the family. This
high-performance version was announced in December 1966, and the
first delivery was made in December 1968. The Series 20 is designed
for operation from very short runways. It combines the fuselage of
the DC-9 Series 10 with a high-lift wing developed for the Series
30. Power is provided by two JT8D-9s with 14,500 pounds thrust each,
or 15,000-pound JT8D-11s.
Fuselage of the Series 30 DC-9, actually second developed, is nearly
15 feet longer than the Series 10, at 119.3 feet (36.3 m), providing
seats for up to 115 passengers and cargo space to 895 cubic feet
(25.3 m3). Series 30 wingspan was increased to 93.3 feet
(28.4 m), and a high-lift wing system of leading edge slats gives
the Series 30 excellent short-field performance. The first of the
type began airline service in February 1967.
Most of the Series
30s are powered by either JT8D-7 or JT8D-9 engines. Others are
equipped with JT8D-11 or the JT8D-15, with 15,500 pounds of thrust.
The Series 30 is the most widely used member of the DC-9 family,
accounting for approximately 60 percent of the entire fleet.
To again meet airline demands for a DC-9 with more capacity, the
Series 40 was developed with a fuselage length of 125.6 feet (38.3
m). Seating is available for up to 125 passengers, 10 more than the
popular Series 30s. Below-floor cargo space totals 1,019 cubic feet
(28.8 m3). The Series 40 uses the same wing as the Series
30. Series 40 engines are JT8D-9s, JT8D-11s or JT8D-15s. The model
entered service in March 1968.
The fifth and largest DC-9 version is extended to 133.6 feet (40.7
m) long, permitting installation of five more rows of seats than the
Series 30. Maximum passenger capacity is up to 139, with cargo
capacity increased similarly. Wingspan is the same as for the Series
30. Engines are either JT8D-15s or JT8D-17s, which are rated at
16,000 pounds. Airline operations with the Series 50 began in August
Common to all versions of the DC-9 are the features that make them
ideal for short- and medium-range flights providing direct service
between small or large airports. All have built-in boarding stairs
for use where jetways are not available. The low ground clearance
puts the lower deck cargo bays at waist height, to allow loading and
unloading without a conveyor or loading platform. The cockpit is
designed for a two-member crew.
Passenger cabins of
the DC-9s are designed for optimum passenger comfort and
convenience. Economy class seating is five across -- an arrangement
consistently preferred in passenger surveys to the six-across
seating in other single-aisle jetliners. A "wide look" interior
introduced in 1973 provides a greater feeling of spaciousness than
in earlier models and offers enclosed overhead racks for carry-on
Thirty years after
beginning operations and more than a decade after the final aircraft
rolled off the assembly line, DC-9s remain a mainstay in many
airlines, still building a worldwide reputation for reliability and
durability unmatched by any other aircraft. The fleet makes more
than 3,500 flights per day, with each aircraft averaging more than
five hours of revenue service daily.