Douglas DC-9

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Douglas DC-9
Finnair DC-9-51 OH-LYT at EGLL 19761211.jpg
Finnair's McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 , 1976
Type: Twin-engine narrow-body passenger aircraft
Design country:

United StatesUnited States United States

First flight:

February 25, 1965


December 8, 1965

Production time:

1965 to 1982

Number of pieces:


The Douglas DC-9 or McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin - engine narrow -body aircraft produced by the US aircraft manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company (from 1967: McDonnell Douglas ) for short and medium-haul flights . It is a twin - engine low -wing aircraft with jet engines attached to the side of the stern, a pressurized cabin, a retractable landing gear and a T- tail unit . The DC-9 was completely redeveloped by Douglas after the experience with the four- engine long-range machine DC-8 in order to complement it.


The first drafts for the future DC-9 were created in 1961 as Douglas Model 2086, which already came very close to the final design and provided a wing sweep of 24 °. The fuselage cross-section corresponded to the conception of the double-circle cross-section of the Douglas DC-8 , but was smaller than this, which in the long term would prove to be a competitive disadvantage compared to the Boeing models 727 , 737 and 757 , which took over the fuselage of the 707 directly. The use of turbofan engines was planned from the start. Initially the Pratt & Whitney JTF10A-2 and the Rolls-Royce Spey were discussed . Depending on the seating, there should be space for 56 to 77 passengers. Design details were launched and published in the trade press as early as April 1962, assuming a market of 400 to 1,000 aircraft in this segment for the next ten years.

The decision to develop the aircraft, now known as the DC-9, was announced on April 9, 1963, and detailed engineering work began in July 1963. The original design was lengthened by about three meters to accommodate up to 83 Passengers seat. The first orders for the new model were Bonanza Airlines and Delta Air Lines in the summer of 1963 .

Douglas DC-9 cockpit

The first of a total of five prototypes took off on its maiden flight on February 25, 1965 . The take-off weight was limited to 37,400 kg so that the aircraft could be operated with a cockpit crew of only two pilots in accordance with the regulations at the time. The engines used were Pratt & Whitney JT8D 5 turbofans with a thrust of 55.6 kN . The approval by the Federal Aviation Administration took place on November 23, 1965. On December 8, 1965, the Delta Air Lines began regular service with the DC-9-10.

The successor models of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series , the MD-90 and finally the Boeing 717 were derived from the DC-9 . However, the official type designations in the respective type approval remained, i.e. DC-9-81, -82, -83 and -87. Only the MD-88 and the later MD-90 were officially approved under these designations.

The later type designation MD comes from the fact that Douglas merged with McDonnell in 1967 to become McDonnell Douglas . McDonnell Douglas in turn was taken over by Boeing in 1997 , which modernized the last version of the DC-9 again and sold it as the Boeing 717 .

The DC-9 family achieved a total production of 2,438 units by the time a Boeing 717 was last delivered on June 23, 2006. 976 of these were on the DC-9, 1,191 on the MD-80, 116 on the MD-90 and 155 on the 717. This makes it one of the most successful passenger aircraft.

Major operators in 2013 were Delta Air Lines (15), the US Navy (12) and USA Jet Airlines (10), and in November 2017 American Airlines (46) and Allegiant Air (39). Delta Air Lines used DC-9, which was taken over by the former Northwest Airlines . By the end of 2008, the fleet (still by Northwest) was reduced from 103 to 68 copies and has been reduced since then. The DC-9-30 was retired in October 2010, the DC-9-40 at the end of 2010. The 50-series versions remained in the fleet, but were also successively replaced and finally retired in January 2014.


From 1965 to 1982, 976 aircraft of the DC-9 series were produced in Long Beach.

Civil variants

DC-9 Series 10

Delta Air Lines DC-9-10

The Series 10 , often referred to simply as the DC-9-10, was the first model series of the DC-9. It offered space for 90 passengers and made its maiden flight on February 25, 1965, after which the first aircraft was handed over to its first customer Delta Air Lines on September 18, 1965 . It can transport 90 passengers over 2340 km.

The Series 10 comprised the sub-versions DC-9-11, -12, -13, -14, -15 and the cargo version -15F, whereby the DC-9-15F only combined with subsequent conversions of passenger DC-9 - or Passenger and freight versions of the DC-9 - emerged and were not produced from scratch. The DC-9-11 to -15 differed almost exclusively in the variants of the Pratt & Whitney engines used (JT8D-5 or JT8D-7). Over time, almost all of the Series 10 DC-9s were upgraded to the DC-9-15 standard. A total of 137 DC-9-10s had been produced by the last delivery at the end of 1968.

DC-9 Series 20

DC-9-20 the Aeropostal

The Series 20 or DC-9-20 is nominally the second member of the DC-9 series, but it was developed and offered as the fourth, after the Series 10, 30 and 40. The Series 20 was developed as a high-performance version of the Series 10 developed; This meant a larger wingspan and more powerful engines (Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9 or JT8D-11), in order to be able to take off from short runways and high-altitude airports, and the range increased to 3,430 km, over which 90 passengers now flown can be.

The Series 20 has only one model, the DC-9-21. The only customer was the Scandinavian SAS , which received 10 copies between December 1968 and May 1969.

DC-9 Series 30

DC-9-30 of the Cebu Pacific

The Series 30 or DC-9-30, which was about 4.50 meters longer than the basic model, was the second version of the DC-9. With a total of 621 copies produced, it was the most successful type of the original DC-9 family. The first delivery took place in January 1967 to Eastern Air Lines . Due to the extended fuselage, the DC-9-30 offered space for up to 115 passengers. The wings of the Series 30 were also lengthened and equipped with a new type of slat flap system to enable take-offs and landings on short runways . The range is 3030 km.

The Series 30 comprised the sub-variants DC-9-31 and -32, as well as the freight versions -32F and -33F. For the first time, six units of the DC-9 were produced ex works as a freighter as part of the Series 30 . The various variants of the Series 30 were powered by Pratt & Whitney JT8D -7, JT8D-9, JT8D-11 or JT8D-15 engines. In August 2006, 294 of the 621 DC-9-30s were still in service.

DC-9 Series 40

DC-9-40 of the SAS Scandinavian Airlines

In order to meet the demand for higher passenger capacity, McDonnell Douglas offered the Series 40 or DC-9-40 as the third variant of the DC-9 , which in turn had an extended fuselage with space for a maximum of 125 passengers and an increased range of 3,120 km. The wing was identical to that of the Series 30 . The first delivery took place at the end of February 1968 to SAS . Although the 40 series consisted of only one sub-variant - the DC-9-41 - different engine variants (Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9, JT8D-11 or JT8D-15) were available.

Only two customers - the aforementioned SAS and the Japanese TDA Toa Domestic Airlines - ordered a total of 71 copies of the DC-9-41, the last of which was delivered on March 7, 1979.

DC-9 Series 50

The fifth variant of the DC-9, the Series 50 or DC-9-50, had a 40.70 m stretched fuselage in which up to 130 passengers could be accommodated. The range is 3030 km. As with the DC-9-40, the wing has been taken over from the DC-9-30. The Series 50 also consisted of only one series, the DC-9-51, powered by Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15 or JT8D-17. The first copy went to Swissair on August 14, 1975 . A total of 96 DC-9-50s left the McDonnell Douglas factory in Long Beach .

Military variants

US Air Force DC-9-C9A
US Navy C-9B Skytrain II
C-9A Nightingale

The DC-9-C9A is a specially equipped DC-9 Series 30 ambulance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force . The guy was named after Florence Nightingale . 23 of these were built and used from 1968 to transport patients and personnel. The last of these machines (serial number 876) was decommissioned in September 2005.

C-9B Skytrain II

17 Series 30 and Series 40 aircraft were supplied with the designation C-9B (officially: DC-9-C9B ) as transport aircraft for the US Navy and the US Marine Corps .


A total of three copies of the DC-9-30 with the designation VC-9C (officially: DC-9-VC-9C) were produced as a VIP aircraft for the United States Air Force .


A DC-9 is used by the Californian skydiving operator Perris Valley Skydiving to drop skydivers. For this purpose, the passenger door in the extension of the central aisle in the rear of the aircraft was modified so that it can be opened during the flight.


As of July 2018, 44 units of the DC-9 are still registered, most of them freight aircraft.

Civil operator

Passenger planes

As of July 2018, there are still four airlines from two countries worldwide that are using a total of seven DC-9s on commercial passenger flights:

operator country model series Construction year Mark annotation
Fly-SAX Kenya DC-9-14 1966 5Y-SAZ
5Y-XXA inactive
African Express Airways DC-9-32 1968 5Y-AXF
Global Aviation South Africa 1967 ZS-GAG
1979 ZS-GAU
Pheobus Apollo 1968 TN-AJG inactive
1969 ZS-PAK
Other passenger planes

A passenger aircraft of the type DC-9-15, built in 1966, with the aviation registration number N8860 has been in service as a service aircraft for the US news broadcaster Mercury Radio Arts since 2015 . It is a former passenger aircraft in a retrofitted VIP version.

Another former passenger aircraft of the type DC-9-31, built in 1971, N932ML, has been in operation as a test aircraft at Hawker Beechcraft since 2014 .

The Texan company Waterworld Jet Aviation owns a DC-9-32, built in 1972, N10876 with VIP equipment, which was formerly in service with the US Air Force. The company had the machine, which is currently in storage, painted in the colors of Air Force One .

Cargo machines

As of July 2018, seven airlines from three countries are operating 30 DC-9 freighters:

operator country model series Construction year Mark annotation
Aeronaves TSM Mexico DC-9-15 1967 XA-UXP
XA-TIG inactive
DC-9-32 XA-UQT
1969 XA-UUT
DC-9-33 1968 XA-DHL
1969 XA- inactive
Ameristar United States DC-9-15 1966 N782TW
1967 N783TW
Astral Aviation Kenya DC-9-34 1976 5Y-SAN
Everts Air United States DC-9-32 1967 N904CE inactive
DC-9-33 1968 N930CE
1969 N935CE inactive
1970 N932CE
Kalitta Charters II DC-9-15 1967 N915CK
DC-9-33 1968 N916CK
Skyway Enterprises DC-9-15 1967 N112PS
USA Jet Airlines DC-9-15 N195US
DC-9-32 1968 N208US
1976 N205US
DC-9-33 1969 N327US

Military and government operators

As of July 2018, four machines in one country are still approved for military users and authorities:

operator country model series Construction year Mark annotation
United States Marine Corps United States DC-9-32 1982 161529 military variant C-9B Skytrain II
NASA DC-9-33 1969 N932NA former passenger plane, later converted for the US Navy to the military
variant C-9B Skytrain II, after renewed conversion
at NASA used as an aircraft for parabolic flights ; inactive
National Nuclear Security Administration DC-9-32 1969 N45NA Former passenger plane, later converted for the US Navy to the military
variant C-9B Skytrain II

Former military and government operators

ItalyItaly Italy
KuwaitKuwait Kuwait
MexicoMexico Mexico
United StatesUnited States United States
United NationsU.N. U.N.


Of the 973 Douglas DC-9s produced, 93 had to be written off as total write-offs by February 2019 because they were destroyed or damaged by accidents or criminal influences. This corresponds to about 9.53 percent of all DC-9s produced. 49 of these incidents resulted in fatalities, including 2,133 people. With 0.78 accidents per million take-offs, the average safety of the Douglas DC-9 corresponds to that of comparable aircraft series (Boeing 727 with a value of 0.73, Boeing 737-100 / 200 with 0.89).

Technical specifications

Parameter DC-9-10 DC-9-21 DC-9-30 DC-9-40 DC-9-50
length 31.80 m 36.60 m 38.30 m 40.70 m
span 27.20 m 28.40 m
height 8.38 m
Wing area 86.80 m² 93.00 m²
Max. Takeoff mass 41,177 kg 44,492 kg 49,940 kg 51,756 kg 54,934 kg
Cruising speed approx. 900 km / h
Cabin width 3.11
Max. Passengers 90 115 125 139
Range 2,340 km 3,430 km 3,030 km 3,120 km 3,030 km
drive two P&W JT8D -7
thrust 2 × 62.3 kN 2 × 66.7 kN 2 × 68.9 kN 2 × 71.2 kN

See also


  • Günter Endres: McDonnell Douglas DC-9 / MD-80 / MD-90 . In: Modern Civil Aircraft . No. 10 . Ian Allan Ltd., 1991, ISBN 0-7110-1958-4 (English).
  • W. Borgmann: Die Flugzeugstars: Douglas DC-9 , Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2018, ISBN 978-3-613-04039-7
  • W. Fischbach: The DC-9 and its descendants. In: FliegerRevue X , No. 82 from 2020, pp. 70–85

Web links

Commons : Douglas DC-9  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Flight February 1, 1962.
  2. ^ Flight April 18, 1963.
  3. planespotters (English), accessed on November 11, 2017.
  4. Pacific Business News: Northwest Airlines to ditch DC-9s (January 21, 2008)
  5. Delta sends last DC-9 into retirement , December 25, 2013.
  6. ^ Historic C-9 heads to Andrews for retirement. United States Air Force , September 24, 2005, accessed October 10, 2012 .
  7. a b c [1]
  8. a b see accident statistics for various aircraft types at Boeing (PDF, status: end of 2017) p. 19
  9. See the statistics on Aviation Safety Network for the DC-9-10 , DC-9-20 , DC-9-30 , DC-9-40 and DC-9-50