September 4 is going to be a date many of us will remember. That day American Airlines will retire its remaining 26 McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft, ending a 37-year-long flying career.
Unveiled by McDonnell Douglas in 1977 as an evolution of the DC-9-50, the MD-80 was nicknamed “Mad Dog” while keeping the “Super 80.” American became the first U.S. carrier to order it, after leasing 142 MD-80s to replace its Boeing 727 fleet.
Along with its comfort and performance, both the MD-80 and the Boeing 767 introduced a new paradigm within AA’s operations: a two-pilot cockpit. And while the carrier absorbed airlines and fleets, its Mad Dog fleet grew to become the largest in the world.
Due to that fleet size, the phase-out of the model has been a long, multi-year effort. The schedule is up for travelers and nostalgic aviation geeks to check:
Flight 80 will mark the end of the road for the almighty Super 80. On that day, we will say farewell to an aircraft that has seen 40 years of aviation history, and that has been an important part of it.
This story was updated on June 25, 2019 at 10:43 p.m. ET. The polished aluminum livery will remain in American’s fleet on N921NN, a Boeing 737-800, which is listed as a retro jet.
Technology and systems expert, occasional spotter, not-so-dynamic midfielder, blogger, husband, father of three cats; he believes that Latin America's aviation industry past, present, and future offer a lot of stories to be told.
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