End of an Era: Delta’s DC-9 Completes Final Scheduled Flight – Airchive


A Delta Airlines DC-9

A Delta Airlines DC-9 departs as NWA1430 from Runway 24R at Cleveland, for a short flight to Detroit. Photo: DJ Reed – OPShots Contributor //


ATLANTA, January 6 Airchive – Appropriately tagged as Delta flight 2014, the last scheduled U.S. commercial DC-9 flight landed at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 7:32PM EST. The touchdown of flight 2014 marks the end of the DC-9′s 48 year career of scheduled commercial flight in the United States. Although saying farewell to the airplane is bittersweet for aviation enthusiasts, the final flight is a welcome step for Delta as they continue a trend of replacing older aircraft with newer, more efficient frames.

A small but vibrant ceremony complete with balloons and cake greeted passengers in Minneapolis as they arrived for an otherwise mundane flight to Atlanta. The significance of the final flight number, 2014, along with the penultimate flight number of 1965, did not go unnoticed by many. Any DC-9 fan can tell you the airplane entered service in ’65, leaving today in 2014.

And there were no shortage of ‘Dirty-Niner’ (the plane has several nicknames), fans on hand. Dozens of DC-9 enthusiasts traveled from across the US for one last ride, many trekking through the deep freeze that has gripped the nation over the past few days. They gathered at the gate and on board, swapping stories, taking photos, and otherwise basking in the glory of being one of the last to fly aboard the cozy two-three configured cabin.

The two hour flight passed quickly once aloft, and was decidedly low-key. The high moment came when a bottle, or two, of champagne was passed around the cabin. A toast to the airplane was made, after which it was back to business as usual on board. The flight landed on time in a comparatively warm Atlanta, effectively ending 48 years of scheduled passenger flights in the US.

A nod to the airplane’s days plying the skies over the North Central US, the last two flights made sure to work in former Northwest DC-9 hubs Detroit DTW and Minneapolis/St. Paul MSP. It was perhaps fitting, then, that the airplane made its last visit to both as temperatures plunged well below zero, conditions the venerable aircraft had faced on a daily basis for years.

Despite the final flight today, the airplane will continue to serve Delta for up to two more weeks on an ad hoc basis. Come the end of the month, it will be gone for good.

via – End of an Era: Delta’s DC-9 Completes Final Scheduled Flight

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Cole Goldberg

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