Being the last version of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series, the MD-88 has the most updated details in comparison to the previous aircraft of its type. It also features the EFIS cockpit rather than the conventional analog flight deck of earlier MD-80s.
On January 23 1986, the last variant of the MD-80 series was announced.
On August 15 1987, the MD-88 made its first flight. On December 8, the aircraft was granted the Federal Aviation Administration type certification. On December 19, first delivery of the aircraft to Delta Airlines, a legacy carrier of the United States based in Atlanta, Georgia took place. First eight aircraft of Delta Air Lines were produced as MD-82s then later improved to MD-88 specifications.
On January 5 1988, it entered into service.
On June 25 1997, the aircraft was last delivered to Onur Air, a low-cost airline headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey.
The MD-88 has a long body structure with an external length of 45.06 meters. It has a fuselage length of 41.58 meters, which is 4.62 meters longer in comparison with the DC-9-50. It has a tail height of 9.02 meters and a fuselage diameter of 3.34 meters. The aircraft’s wing has a span of 32.82 meters that is 4.4 meters longer than the initial DC-9s. Its wing area is 112.3 square meters. The MD-88 is designed with tricycle landing gear that provides better visibility on the ground. It has a wheelbase of 22.05 meters.
Other modifications added into the MD-88 consist of an airborne wind shear warning system that is used to detect wind shear conditions, and general modernization of the aircraft’s cabin interior.
MD-88 Cabin and Flight Deck
The MD-88 can accommodate 135 passengers for a mixed-class configuration with 12 first class passengers, that has four side by side seating. For an economy class, it can seat up to 123 passengers, then 155 passengers for an all-economy set-up. A high density configuration can accommodate 167 passengers.
The aircraft cabin has a length of 30.78 meters from cockpit door towards the bulkhead, has a width of 3.14 meters from trim to trim, and a cabin height of 2.05 meters.
The flight deck is equipped with Electronic Flight Instrument System that presents information by the use of Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) technology. It also features a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and a Wind Shear Warning System.
MD-88 Engine and Performance
The Md-88 is powered by two Pratt and Whitney JT8D-200 turbofan engines with a maximum thrust of 21,000 lbf each. A typical range of 2,050 nautical miles can carry 155 passengers, while having two more auxiliary fuel tanks will increase the range to 2,504 nautical miles. It has a fuel tank capacity of 7,000 US Gal and a maximum payload of 16,600 kg. Its maximum take off and landing weight are 72,600 and 58,967 respectively.
The aircraft has a service ceiling of 37,000 feet and a maximum cruise speed of 472 knots. It has a rate of climb of 2,700 feet per minute. The take off distance is 2,400 meters and 1,585 meters for the landing.
MD-88 Notable Accident and Incident
On July 6 1996, a Delta Air Lines flight 1288 suffered an uncontained, catastrophic turbine engine failure during an attempt to take off from Runway 17 at Pensacola Regional Airport in Florida. It led the debris from the front compressor hub of the left engine number one to enter the left aft fuselage. Two passengers died on the accident, and two others were extremely injured.
On March 5 2015, a Delta Air Lines flight 1086 from Atlanta skid off a snowy runway shortly after it landed at La Guardia Airport in New York. The aircraft was extremely damaged and written off. There were twenty-four people who suffered injuries in the incident. No fatalities recorded.