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Douglas DC-9 / C-9 Nightingale



McDonnell Douglas's only four-engined civil jet airliner, the DC-8, preceded the company's very successful DC-9 twin-jet, which first flew at Long Beach, California, on February 25, 1965.

By 1962 Douglas’s Model 2086 had become a firm design, and the subject of negotiations with several operators. At last Delta agreed to buy a fleet and the Model 2086 became the DC-9 on 8 April 1963. In April 1963 the company announced that it would build the DC-9 and John Brizendine, who ten years later became President of Douglas Aircraft, was named programme manager. The programme was given top priority with more than 40,000 man-hours a week expended on the project. The primary aims of the project were to produce a simple and reliable, easy to operate and maintain airliner. Construction of the prototype began in July 1963 and the first DC-9 flew from Long Beach on 25 February 1965. US airlines made no advance orders. Douglas’ own capital was tied up in modifications to the DC-8, so the company reduced the risk by utilizing the DC-8’s flight deck, and persuading major suppliers to design and manufacture different parts, receiving payment only as each aircraft was delivered to a customer. De Havilland Canada produced the complete wing, rear fuselage and tail. Later, the Douglas Aircraft Company bought part of their Toronto factory, and continued production there. By producing a series of stretched versions, to stay abreast of the demand for larger capacity aircraft, Douglas outsold all competitors in the same category.

A big manufacturing programme was launched, with DH Canada making the wings, rear fuselage and tail. From the start Douglas planned to offer different versions, and the original DC-9 Series 10 could weigh anything from the basic 77,000lb with JT8D-5 engines of 12,000-lb thrust to 90,000 lb with extra fuel and 14,000-lb JT8D-1 or -7 engines. The first off the line flew a month early, on 25 February 1965, and services began with Delta on 8 December the same year. A total of 137 were built.

Douglas offered a stretched ‘DC-9B’ and on 25 February 1965 and won an Eastern order. The designation was changed to DC-9 Series 30, with 14,500-lb engines and a con-siderable stretch both to the span and length. The weight was 98,000 lb, matched by full-span slats and double-slotted flaps. The first Srs 30 flew on 1 August 1966. Subsequently the Srs 30 (503 sold) grew to 108,000 lb with more powerful engines, seating up to 115.

Then came the Srs 20, for operation out of difficult airports by SAS. It combined the wings and engines of the Srs 30 with the original short fuselage. On 28 November 1967 Douglas, by now part of McDonnell Douglas, flew the DC-9 Srs 40, with engines of up to 16,000-lb thrust, enabling weight to rise to 122,000lb. The fuselage was stretched yet again, to seat up to 132. To meet airline demand for a DC-9 with larger capacity the -40 was developed with a longer fuselage enclosing a 132-seat configuration. Below floor cargo space was also increased. This version entered service in March 1968.

Last of the original DC-9 variants was the Srs 50, first flown on 17 December 1974. This introduced many attractive new features, but the main difference was that, still keeping at 122,000-lb weight, the body was stretched yet again to seat 139. The -50 began airline operation in August 1975.

Each DC-9 was, in practice, a stretched version of the Series 10. The -20 carried 115 passengers and featured a longer wingspan and a high-lift wing system of leading edge slats for short field performance. The -30 was the most widely used. US Air Force versions were designated C-9A Nightingale and VC-9C and C-9B Skytrain for the US Navy.

Douglas also offered various cargo and convertible versions. A total of 649 DC-9s had been delivered by 1 February 1972. This includes the C-9A variant for the 375th Aeromedical Wing of the USAF MAC. Important orders were also placed by the US Air Force and Navy (Marines) for the C-9A Nightingale aeromedical aircraft, the C-9B Skytrain II (longest-ranged of all versions) and VC-9C for VIP missions. Each of the C-9A can carry 30-40 litter patients, two nurses and three aeromedical technicians, and have intensive care compartments. Ten were converted. The final aircraft off the assembly line, a DC-9-30, was transferred to the US Navy as a C-9B in October 1982.
Thrust for the 976 DC-9s completed over an 18-year production run was provided exclusively by the Pratt & Whitney JT8D family of engines. In mid-1998 there were in excess of 870 of the type being flown by over 70 operators worldwide.

A new version was launched as the DC-9 Super 80, with an order from Swissair, closely followed by Austrian and Southern, in October 1977. The first aircraft flew on 18 October 1979. Changes included a further (and very large) stretch to the fuselage, an extension to the span at both the wing roots and tips, a digital electronic flight guidance system, a further increase in fuel capacity and, not least, fitting the JT8D-200 series engine. The refanned engine, used initially in -209 form at 18,500-lb thrust, dramatically reduced noise and eliminated worries over impending noise legislation. Seating capacity was typically up to 172.

In 1983 the company at last abandoned the famed ‘DC’ and adopted ‘MD’ for its designations, McDonnell Douglas launched the MD-80.

Altogether Douglas sold 976 DC-9s, production being completed in September 1982.

DC-9 Srs 10
Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-5 turbofans, 12,250 lb / 53.4kN thrust each.
Length: 31.8 m / 104 ft 4.75 in.
Wingspan: 89 ft 5 in.
Height: 8.3 m / 27 ft 3 in
Wing area: 85.9 sq.m / 924.62 sq ft
Max take-off weight: 35245 kg / 77702 lb
Max. speed: 895 km/h / 556 mph
Ceiling: 25,000 ft.
Range 1,311 mls.
Pax cap: 90.
Crew: 2
Passengers: 65-90

Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-1 or -7, 12,000-14,000 lb.
Length: 104 ft 4 ¾in.
Pax capacity: up to 90.
MTOW: 77,000-90,000 lb.

Engines: 2 x 14,000 lb. (6,350 kg.) thrust Pratt & Whitney JT8D.
Length 119.25 ft. (36.37 m.)
Wing span 93.4 ft. (28.47 m.)
Weight empty 52,935 lb. (24,010 kg.)
Max cruise: 565 m.p.h. (909 kph)
Range: 1,725 miles (2,775 km.) with 50 passengers.

Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D.
Length: 104 ft 4 ¾in.
Pax cap: 90.
Entered service: 1968.

Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D, 14,000 lb.
Pax capacity: up to 115.
Max wt: 108,000 lb.
Length: 119.3 ft.
Entered service: 1967.

Wing span: 93 ft 5 in (28.47 m).
Length: 119 ft 3.5 in (36.37 m).
Height: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m).
Max level speed: 565 mph (909 kph).

Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D, 15,500 lbs.
Pax capacity: up to 132.
Max wt: 122,000lb.
Length: 125.6 ft.
Entered service: 1968.

Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D, 16,000 lbs.
Pax capacity: up to 139.
Length: 133.5 ft.
Entered service: 1975.

Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-209, 18,500 lbs thrust.
Length: 147 ft 10 in.
Pax capacity: up to 172.
MTOW: 108,000 lb.
Entered service: 1980.

McDonnell Douglas C 9 A Nightingale
Length : 117.126 ft / 35.7 m
Height : 26.903 ft / 8.2 m
Wingspan : 91.535 ft / 27.9 m
Max take off weight : 107163.0 lb / 48600.0 kg
Weight empty : 59224.1 lb / 26859.0 kg
Cruising speed : 501 kts / 928 km/h
Cruising altitude : 34797 ft / 10606 m
Range : 1739 nm / 3220 km
Engine : 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9, 64501 N / 6575 kp
Crew : 8
Payload : 40 Pax



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