The DC-9 has been a workhorse in our domestic fleet while providing a reliable customer experience
Delta Airlines retired today the oldest plane in U.S. fleet, the McDonnell Douglas DC-9. The route was linking Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport MSP to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport ATL. Built in 1965, the aircraft had 65 passenger seats and will now join the annals airline archaeology and aviation musems. This is the way of many used airliners.
Delta was the launch customer for the original 65-seat version of the DC-9 in 1965 as the airline replaced propeller aircraft on high-frequency, short-haul domestic routes. Most airlines retired the DC-9s by the 1990s, but Delta kept a dozen.
According to the Aviation Safety Network, DC-9s have suffered 110 “hull loss” accidents with 3,462 fatalities. Delta suffered three of them, the worst a 1972 crash in Boston, blamed on pilot and air traffic control errors, that killed all 88 aboard.
In an era when planes all have digital instruments, the DC-9 cockpit stands out for its dials. The plane doesn’t have a flight management computer that handles many of the routine flying tasks on newer planes