McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 Series

The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 is a series of twin-engine, short- to medium-range, single-aisle commercial jet airliners. The engines are mounted on the rear of the fuselage of the "T-Tail" aircraft.

It was lengthened and updated from the Douglas DC-9. This series can seat from 130 to 172 passengers depending on variant and seating configuration.

The MD-80 Series later evolved into the MD-90, and the Boeing 717.

McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 Series Models

Known early as the "DC-9 Series 80"  or the "DC-9 Super 80", it would ultimately include the:

  • MD-81 - originally named the DC-9 Super 81, and DC-9-81
  • MD-82 - similar to the MD-81 but with more powerful engines
  • MD-83 - longer range version of the MD-81/82 with stronger engines and more fuel capacity
  • MD-87 - shortened variant (by about 17 feet)
  • MD-88 - similar to the MD-82/83 with various technical and cockpit electronics improvements

The MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, and MD-88 all have the same fuselage length of 147' 8" (45m), as seen in the table below comparing the lengths of the MD series.

Aircraft Length
MD-81 147' 8"
MD-82 147' 8"
MD-83 147' 8"
MD-88 147' 8"
MD-87 130' 4"
MD-90-30 152' 7"
MD-95 / B717-200 124' 0"

All models include two exit doors over the wing.

All models have forward cabin doors on both sides of the fuselage. All models, except the MD-87, have an additional door on the right, aft side of the fuselage in front of the engine.

See spotting chart below showing a side-by-side comparison of a MD-83 and a MD-87.

Spotting guide for the McDonnell-Douglas MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-87 and MD-88 airliners


A total of 1,191 of the MD-80 series were produced.

Later introductions were the MD-90 and MD-95/Boeing 717.

McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 Series Model Comparisons

Photo comparison of the McDonnell-Douglas MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-87 and MD-88 airliners

MD-90: A Follow-Up to the MD-80 Series

Shown below is a McDonnell-Douglas MD-90-30 of British Jet, 5 feet longer than the MD-88. A total of 116 MD-90 airliners were built. The engines of the MD-90 are larger than the thinner engines found on the MD-80 series.
Photograph of a McDonnell-Douglas MD-90-30 of British Jet

DC-9, MD-80 Series, MD-90 and Boeing 717 Spotting Guide

The DC-9 series features a "pointed" tail cone, while the MD-80 series aircraft have what appears to be a "flat" tail cone. The MD-90 has larger engines than the MD-80 Series. The Boeing 717 has engines which are longer in length than the MD-90.
Side-by-side comparison of the DC-9, MD-80 Series, MD-90 and Boeing 717

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