By the end of the 1970s, the DC-9 had been in operation for 15 years, so MDD decided to open a new page in its history. The MD-80 family of elongated liners echoed the success of its predecessor, serving as the basis for the creation of the MD-90 / Boeing 717.
In 1973, the Douglas Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, which at that time was completing work on the DC-9 Series 50, began to study the possibility of creating a new version based on it. Various proposals were considered – all based on Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines (installed on all DC-9s). Finally, in October 1977, with the receipt of an order for 15 cars from Swissair, the DC-9 Super 80 liner was officially launched. Keeping the external similarities with its predecessors, the Super 80 was, in reality, a completely new aircraft, so the McDonnell Douglas even applied the new designation MD-80 to the machine.
Compared to the DC-9 Series 50 family, the new Super 80 / MD-80 had a fuselage elongated up to 45 m – there were a 3.9 m insert (eight frames) in front of the wing, and there was a 0.5 insert in the rear of the fuselage m (one frame). The aircraft was designed to carry 137 passengers in a mixed layout and 172 in a dense, economical layout. Under the cabin floor, cargo compartments with a volume of 36.6 m3 were located.
The MD-80 wing had a new center section and an additional end section on each console 0.6 m long, as a result of which the wingspan increased by 4.4 m, and the area – by 28%. For the new airliner, the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-209 engine with a high bypass ratio was selected, the engine thrust was 83.25 kN (plus a reserve of 3.38 kN in case of engine failure).
The Sundstrand’s digital electronic flight control system, integrated with automatic traction control and Sperry digital automatic landing system (CAT 1IIA), became the main feature of a two-pilot-designed cockpit. A Honeywell electronic flight indicator with CRT indicators was available as an option instead of electromechanical instruments. Since 1983, the aircraft began to install an electronic performance management system (Performance Management System), similar to the one that was created for the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. The system associated with autopilot and automatic traction, allows you to automatically control the pitch angle and engine thrust to ensure optimal speed and fuel consumption during the climb, cruising and lowering.
The first Super 80 / MD-80 family airliner, the MD-81 N980DC, made its first flight from the Douglas Aircraft Company airfield in Long Beach, California, on October 18, 1979, and then on December 6, 1979, and February 29, 1980, the second and third airliners (N1002G and N1002W) took off. The Swissair company, which received its first car on September 12, 1980, became its starting customer, and on October 5 it completed its first flight along the Zurich-Frankfurt route.
- MD-80: first mass production modification
- MD-81: (originally Super 81) – the main version with two JT8D-209 turbofan engines with a thrust of 82 kN. The maximum take-off weight of 29,200 kg, carries from 125 to 146 passengers.
- MD-82: (originally Super 82) – Equipped with advanced Pratt & Whitney JT8D-217 217 engines delivering 89 kN of thrust. The maximum take-off weight is 67900 kg. First flown January 8, 1981, passenger capacity 137-146 people; also licensed in China since 1986.
- MD-83: equipped with additional fuel tanks, heavier (maximum take-off weight of 72,600 kg), with an increased flight range, the MD-83 made its first flight on December 17, 1984. MD-83 has powerful Dash 219 engines with a thrust of 93 kN, more energy-intensive chassis, and brakes. Like the previous models, it is equipped with airborne navigation and electronic indication systems, an automatic flight control system with wind well detection by Honeywell.
- MD-87: a smaller version of the MD-80, the fuselage is shortened by 5.3 m. The aircraft seats from 109 to 130 passengers. The first flight took place on December 4, 1986, the first deliveries to Finnair and Swissair companies in November 1987.
- MD-88: standard MD-82, but with advanced instrumentation: with indicators on cathode ray tubes and a slip warning system; the first flight was on August 15, 1987; the first sample was handed over to Delta Airlines in January 1988.
- Modification: MD-80
- Wingspan, m: 32.80
- Length of aircraft, m: 45.00
- Aircraft height, m: 9.00
- Wing Area, m2: 118.00
- Weight kg: empty loaded aircraft 35629; maximum take-off 67900
- Engine type: 2 turbojet engine Pratt Whitney JT8D-200
- Rod, kN: 2 x 89.00
- Maximum speed, km / h: 925
- Cruising speed, km / h: 872
- Economic speed, km / h: 814
- Practical range, km: 3800
- Crew: 2
- Payload: up to 172 passengers in the mixed class.