N557AN, an MD-82 spotted on the ramp at MCI in 2013.
Love them or hate them, American’s MD-80s are on the way out. This should not come as a shock as we’ve known for years the day was eventually coming. But late last month American Airlines announced details for the MadDog’s final day of operations. Mark your calendars, folks. September 4 is the day the “Super 80s” carry passengers off into the sunset one last time.
When I mention the upcoming retirement to friends, the majority of responses are positive. It seems the general consensus is that these DC-9 descendants have overstayed their welcome in the AvGeek and frequent flyer worlds. While few folks seem willing to admit they will miss the MD-80s, I fully expect it will only be a matter of time. For decades the MadDogs were ubiquitous. Airports just won’t be the same without them.
No matter how we feel, these retirement dates tend to sneak up on us. The official final flight on September 4 is sold out, but there remain many options to get out for a goodbye flight, including many options on the final day of operation…
The last United Boeing 747 sitting at SFO – registrationÂ N118UA
It is okay to get emotional over an airplane. That is what I kept telling myself anyhow as I experienced United’s final 747 flight recently. I was sad that this was going to be a huge milestone for the retirement of Boeing 747 passenger service. I was also happy and excited to be a part of this historic event. Turns out I was going to be able to experience a few firsts and quite a few lasts on my journey. This was to be my first time flying on a United 747 and this was also going to be my first time flying backwards.
Party at the gate
Pilot signing flight paperwork
Retro ticket holder, retro flight attendants
At one point I was asked something along the lines of, “There is one other U.S. airline (Delta) that is still flying the aircraft, not to mention British Airways and others. Why is this such a big deal?” At first, I almost felt insulted, but then I realized that from a non-AvGeek perspective, why make a big deal about this plane, with this airline?
First off, I think it is like visiting a really good friend or family member you don’t get to see very often and it is hard to say goodbye. You start out saying “well, I guess I better get going,” and three hours later you aren’t quite out the door yet and still sharing stories of good times before finally parting ways. This was the first goodbye stage between me and the 747.
The first Boeing 727 lifting off from Paine Field – Photo: Chuck Lyford and Jim Larsen
As many of you know, on March 2, 2016,Â the first Boeing 727 made its final flight successfully down to the Museum of Flight at Boeing field. It was much more than just a final flight or really even the plane. The 727 has become an icon of not just aviation history, but personal history as well. Seeing the aircraft, even for non-AvGeeks, is a time warp to the past.
Water cannon salute at Paine Field – Photo: Chuck Lyford and Jim Larsen
I have enjoyed covering the first 727 for quite a few years. Although getting access to see the inside of the aircraft has been amazing, my favorite part have been the personal stories that have been shared.Â I have been grateful that so many of you have taken the time to share your memories of the aircraft (the first and other 727s) in emails and comments on AirlineReporter. From those of you remembering it as your first flight as a kid to others who spent years behind the yolk. It seems that nothing can bring a group of AvGeeks together better than the iconic tri-holer.
The Boeing 727’s first flight – Photo: Boeing
The last flight of the first Boeing 727 is going to happen soon. This is no longer a dream, but a reality. The first 727Â has been in the process of being restored for many years and this is a beyond-exciting moment!Â It likely will fly the first week of March, traveling the short distance from Paine Field (in Everett, north of Seattle) to the Museum of FlightÂ at Boeing Field (in Seattle’s south side).Â
The first Boeing 727 being worked on and prepped for final flight
We recently had the opportunityÂ to chat with the man who will be Captain for the final flight, Tim Powell. Â He is a great guy, an amazing pilot, Â and an AvGeek. We wanted to learn more about why he was chosen, what excites him about the flight, how he likes still flying the 727, and if he has any concerns about the upcoming flight.
The last US Airways Boeing 767 flight, ready to go – Photo: Justin Cederholm | NYCAviation
This story was written byÂ Justin Cederholm for NYCAviation.com
AnotherÂ chapter in the longÂ historyÂ of US Airways was closed this past Thursday asÂ they operated the final flight of theirÂ Boeing 767-200ER.Â N252AU, which originally joined the USAir fleet in May 1990 as N652US, would be the aircraftÂ to doÂ the honor for todayâ€™s finalÂ flight. Â The morning started at Philadelphiaâ€™s gate A18 with flowers adorning the gate areaÂ and a table full of fresh fruit, drinks, and pastries for guests on this special flight.Â Flight 767 departed Philadelphia (PHL) bound for Charlotte (CLT) at 9 a.m. with a full load of passengers and a dozen or so aviation enthusiasts looking to be a part of this final flight.Â The short, uneventful hop down to Charlotte was greeted with a water canon salute from Charlotteâ€™s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) team.
US Airways employees celebrate the final 767 flight – Photo: Justin Cederholm | NYCAvation
Inside Charlotte gate D13 was decorated with balloons, a table draped with a â€˜Happy Retirementâ€™ table cloth and two retirement cakes for the Boeing 767.Â The final crew posed for photos and cake was distributed.Â Shortly thereafter boarding began for the final segment of Flight 767 back to PHL.Â At least two dozen enthusiasts and employees were on board this final fight which had roughly 100 open seats.Â Flight 767 departed CLT at noon for the final hour-long flight back to its hub.Â The light load of passengers allowed us to congregate in the aft coach cabin to reminisce on past flights on the 767 and discuss new aircraft joining the fleet of the â€œnewâ€ American Airlines.Â Before landing the pilot gave a speech on the history of the 767, its significance in the industry, and its history within the airline.
Continue readingÂ Saying Goodbye to the Last US Airways Boeing 767 on NYCAviation.com