In the early 1980s American ordered the first of what was to be 280 MD-80s (nicknamed Super 80s in service but informally known as Mad Dogs) to begin replacing its 727 fleet, with the first (N203AA) arriving in May 1983. Deliveries ran until August 1992 and no other type defined American so much throughout the 80s and 90s.
It wasn’t until third quarter 2012 that the type was surpassed in numbers by 737-800s and even then there were still 190 in the fleet. The height of MD-80 numbers came as late as 2001 when nearly a hundred aircraft were added as part of the TWA takeover to give a fleet of 362. Even with further 737s and Airbus deliveries it is still expected that there will be 45-60 in service in 2016. None however look set to get the new AA colours which is probably just as well!
Still American MD-80s wore several livery variations throughout their careers - check out this thread to see the various AA MD-80 schemes.
N473AA (above), delivered in 1988, remains in service though she replaced her classic tailcone with a screwdriver one after 2007. This is the Dragon wings example which is something of a rarity.
Gemini's recent 2014 release of an American MD-80 (N573AA) was however a major disappointment. I'm not usually so disappointed with a model I've bought that I feel the need to banish it from my collection but Gemini's recent new Mad Dog is such a disaster from the forward door to the nose that I couldn't bear it stinking up the 1980s shelf any longer. She's up for sale and that makes two new models I've sold on this year actually compared to none before.
Fortunately the one good thing that's come from the Gemini release is that the retail value of the Dragon version (N473AA above) has decreased. I'd seen it for sale at well over $100 before but I just managed to pick it up from Waffle for $40 and even better it is the old non-screwdriver tail version which better suits my classic leanings. Here are the two models together - check out my DC-9 mould review to see what i mean about the Gemini.
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I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: