Re: MD-80: Lawn Dart or Efficient Design?

From:         Steve Lacker <>
Organization: applied research laboratories
Date:         05 Aug 96 23:32:58 
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Dave Benjamin <> wrote:
>Let me say up front that the MD-80 is among my favorite airliners to fly

>But I can't get over the far aft positioning of the wings, negative
>incidence of the stab, and positive incidence of the thrust.  How do all
>of these combine to make the MD-80 an efficient flying machine (or do
>they not)?

As one of the more vocal MD-80 haters around, I'll stand up and defend it :-)

It *is* a pretty efficient machine. The rearward placement of the wings is
simply a result of the rearward placement of the engines. The engines
themselves are a relatively efficient design. It doesn't have THE most
efficient wing, THE most efficient engine, etc., but its a good combination
overall. What it lacks in efficiency in the air, it tends to make up for in its
reliability and apparently good serviceability (any airline mechanics here who
can comment on that?). No doubt it could be more efficient if it had been
designed from scratch as a 150+ pax airliner instead of being a mercilessly
stretched DC-9, but all in all its done well for itself.

But I still smash my head everytime I stand up in one :-)

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