MD-90 experiences

From:         Steve Lacker <>
Organization: applied research laboratories
Date:         14 Jul 96 22:43:23 
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Well, I have now logged a whole day's travel exclusively on MD-90's. If this
keeps up, the plane may just win me over, after 20 years of absolutely
detesting every DC-9 and derivative that came along. Even though its still too
cramped for me (especially for the Washington National to DFW flight I made on
one yesterday), the quiet and smoothness are wonderful.

A few observations and questions:

Do IAE V2500's leak a lot of oil? Most of the MD-90s I rode or saw on the
runways (all Delta ships) have fairly badly stained engine nacelles, with lots
of black streaking. The older 727s and MD80s with JT8D's tend to have much
cleaner nacelles than the MD90's. Is it exhaust carbon due to the different
thrust reverse mechanism? But I didn't think the IAE V2500 reversed the core
flow anyway...

Delta does seem to have some problems with MD 90 dispatch reliability. The
flight I took from National to DFW was late, due to mechanical repairs needed
on an earlier leg during the day.  When I arrived at DFW, my flight to Austin
had been cancelled- "mechanical trouble." An hour or so later, a second MD90
was being prepped for boarding, and the scheduled boarding time passed. Pretty
soon the news was announced- "mechanical trouble". We finally got home on a
flight that came in from Salt Lake at midnight (another MD-90), and was prepped
for the short hop down to Austin. So, 3 out of 4 MD90s I came in contact with
in one day had some sort of glitch. Quite a few passengers were very annoyed
with Delta, McDonnell Douglas, and the fates in general last night.

On the whole, I'm still favorably impressed with the plane. I'm sure most
teething problems will clear up.  As someone posted on another thread, the well
maintained older planes are actually the creampuffs, and especially it seems
when it comes to dispatch reliability.

Steve Lacker	/	Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas
512-835-3286	/	PO Box 8029, Austin TX 78713-8029