Higher, Faster, Further: 1970-1996

McDonnell Douglas Corp. ... Goshawks and MDs

Serving the military, in 1978, McDonnell Douglas and British Aerospace teamed to develop the T-45A Goshawk jet trainer as the heart of the T45TS, the first totally integrated training system developed for Navy undergraduate jet pilot training. The T-45A aircraft is a carrier-suitable version of the British Royal Air Force Hawk T1 jet trainer. The T-45A made its first flight in 1988 and entered service in 1992. Flight training began in 1994 at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas.

In December 1982, McDonnell Douglas retroactively redesignated all the DC-9 Series 80 passenger jets built or delivered since 1980 as the MD-80. These twinjets were popular with airlines and, during the 1980s, there were more MD-80s produced than all of the DC-9s. MD-80s were built in five models: the basic MD-81 and MD-82, the long-range MD-83, the smaller MD-87, and the advanced MD-88 with advanced cockpit systems and avionics. By the early 1990s, the American Airlines fleet of MD-80s was the largest twin-jet fleet for a single airline in the world.

The next derivative of the MD-80 was the MD-90, developed as a stretched version of the MD-88. It combined that plane's advanced flight deck with two high bypass turbofan jet engines. The MD-90's fuel-efficient turbofans led to the MD-95 -- introduced only 14 months before Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged. Designed to meet the need for a small 90- to 110-seat jetliner that could economically fly short routes and make up to ten flights a day, the MD-95 was redesignated the 717. This number had been the original Boeing model number for the military KC-135 series of tanker jets but had never been used for a commercial airplane. Therefore, the MD-95 became the new Boeing 717.

The successor to the DC-10 was the MD-11, which was larger, had more powerful engines and a totally redesigned flight deck that featured a computerized cockpit. Though similar in shape to the DC-10, the MD-11 could be easily identified by its large winglets. It first flew Jan. 10, 1990. The last of 200 MD-11s was delivered on Feb. 22, 2001.

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