rambaldi47 asked in TravelAir Travel · 8 years ago

Delta MD-88 airplanes?

How reliable are these planes considered to be? I took a flight with Delta yesterday that was supposed to fly on an MD-88, but firstly a new tire and some brake work was needed, and then after the plane was pushed out, the engines would not start due to a failure with one of the batteries that start the engines. Is this just a fluke or do people think that these planes are too old to be flying? Excuse me if I used any wrong vocabulary here, I am not an expert when it comes to planes.

Update:

http://grammarist.com/spelling/aeroplane-airplane/ To address the grammar point.

Delta took the plane back to the gate after the engines did not start, and we did deplane. I switched to another flight but that flight used an A319.

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  • 8 years ago
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    Both terms are correct so they are interchangeable. An airplane is a craft that flies within the Earth’s atmosphere; hence air. An aeroplane is an aircraft that uses aerodynamic forces in order to fly; therefore the terms are interchangeable and both correct in your usage.

    Now to your question! The MD-88 is a relatively new plane as far as airliner aircraft are concerned, which was certificated on December 8, 1987. The last aircraft delivered was in June 1997, so you can see this is considered new in aviation terms.

    It is also a fine airplane. While I never flew the -88 I did fly the earlier DC-9 series as well as the MD-81 and -82. When Boeing purchased McDonald Douglas, the in production model (the MD-95) was later called the Boeing B-717.

    But in your case you just had a bad string of luck. Tires are changed quite often as you could imagine. Every landing is like peeling out with a car at over 140 mph – lots of rubber. Sometimes when you change the tires engineers (mechanics in the USA) also change the brakes – especially if they see wear.

    As for the batteries, well that may just have been an oversight. Someone forgot to hook up them up properly. It is highly likely that your aircraft just came out of maintenance. And while it may seem unusual to you to have to change tires when it just comes from maintenance, there are reasons.

    Maintenance has so many hours to do something and so they do that. It is probably a big job and has a set amount of time. These tend to be routine checks required at specific intervals, so it is not about something being broken but a scheduled check for certain items.

    When they were finished, they put the aircraft back into service. Maybe the tires were ok but the line engineers (different guys from those in the hanger) probably saw the next several routes of the aircraft and decided to make the change of the tires and brakes now and not later.

    It is simple mathematics. The hanger guys got so many hours to do one thing and the line guys get a different set of hours. So the hanger guys put it on the line guys within limits but the line guys decided to change it now anyway. Nothing mean, just the way the business works.

    And that is where the battery comes in. If it were replaced (or more likely disconnected) in the hanger, someone just forgot to hook it up again.

    In reality what happened is quite common and nothing to worry about. Airlines are very complicated entities and the various checks are there just for that reason. I bet your flight was fine thereafter and that is why those checks are there.

    But this is pure speculation based upon decades of experience in the business.

  • 8 years ago

    These three things are no indication of reliability of a plane. These things are maintenance items. If a car has a bad battery, needs brake work or tires, that is no indication of how it performs in service.

    Ian, local spelling is always correct; besides, powered flight was invented in the US, not the UK.

  • 8 years ago

    so what happen you dont explain

    are you stil on the same plane? why didnt you get off why are still on the same plane

    i think it just might be fluke

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