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

From: (Mark J. Bushnell)
Organization: Openix
Date:         11 Aug 96 00:03:58 
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In article <airliners.1996.1609@ohare.Chicago.COM>,
Steve Lacker <> wrote:
>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.

In my experience of working on Boeing and Douglas aircraft, I've found that
they each have their good and bad points.  I prefer the Boeings, since I've
worked on them more often & am more familiar with them.  One area that I
definitely do not care for on the DC-9/MD-80 is the air conditioning
system.  It's located in the tail of the aircraft, on either side of the
aft stairway.  It's very cramped, no ventilation, and the exhaust duct from
the APU runs right thru the area occupied by the right air conditioning

On the Boeings, the airconditioning system is located in the bottom of the
aircraft, just ahead of the main landing gear.  It's accessed by opening
doors or panels located in the belly of the plane.

Speaking of APU's, I do wish that Douglas would figure out where to locate
the APU exhaust opening.  On the DC-9/MD-80, it's on the side of the
aircraft, just above the right (#2) engine.  If one should open up the #2
engine upper cowling while the APU is running (or start up the APU with the
#2's upper cowl open), you are going to have a hole burned into the
composite material of the cowling in very short order from the APU exhaust
heat.  On the DC-10, the exhaust is also at the back of the aircraft, but
pointed down at about a 45 degree angle.  Every time a person walks around
the back of the aircraft, they are going to be hit by a blast of hot air
from the APU.