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  • 26

Delta Will Promote Pilots to Captain—If They Can Fly This Aging Plane

Soumis
 
Since almost the beginning of the commercial airline business, junior pilots have had to toil years in the second chair waiting to win a pair of captain’s wings. Now Delta Air Lines Inc. is offering them the chance to vault into a captain’s seat in as little as six months. The catch? The promotion requires flying an unloved, aging plane nicknamed the “Mad Dog” that Delta plans to retire in three years. (www.bloomberg.com) Plus d'info...

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patpylot
patrick baker 5
it is not so much if you can fly this aircraft but rather if you are willing to fly this aircraft. This is a more active participation machine, with a cluttered and cramped cockpit. This article is misleading, because this aircraft is not exactly like the stearman that military pilots had to master before getting their wings many years ago. it is a workhorse, not a polo pony, and a serious contributor to delta's profits for many years.
avalon280
mark seabrook 2
The Age of a lot of the US airline fleet should be a global embarrassment. Flying domestically in the US these days is hell.
picturetaker
I like the MD-80.
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
so...what happens to a captain on the MD88s when they're all retired?
dutchheavener
Micah Heavener 1
The MD-88 is shared with the MD-90. So they will either just fly MD-90's or just switch to a different plane.
tbpera
Tom Pera 0
once a captain, always a captain? of go back to first officer?
30west
30west 0
No. not "once a captain, always a captain".

Furloughs, a/c type no longer in the fleet, Delta's planned manning of the Mad Dogs as they are retired, etc. all have the possibility of causing the loss of the left seat. Company seniority effects EVERYTHING in an airline. It's whatever your seniority can hold..... seat, a/c type, base, monthly trips, vacaion, etc., all come into play. If you are a very junior captain (company seniority) when your a/c is retired, you bid whatever you want, but will be awarded only what your seniority can hold, in many cases moving to the right seat as an FO. A pilot senior to another will not be affected by a junior pilot bidding his seat, his type or his base, et al.
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
thought so...thanks
30west
30west 1
My pleasure!
canuck44
canuck44 0
Delta will have to figure something out in that case to retain this group. After these pilots rack up PIC hours, they will be in great demand in Asia at premium pay and benefits flying very new aircraft.
JULESY
Ahhhh the VC-10, now you're talking, and sadly no longer flying - they were retired quite recently after 50 years of service and some are on display at Bruntingthorpe in the UK, clearly visible on google earth, along with various other types. The Royal Air Force scooped up and modified the remaining ones that were worth having for tanker duties and I was lucky to have worked on both passenger and tanker variants in the 80s as a flight systems tech. The VC-10 C1 flying display is one of the most amazing spectacles and compares with any passenger aircraft display that I've seen.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrGAaUqGbn0 is relatively tame compared to some practice displays I watched at RAF Brize Norton in the early 80s but they had more fatigue life then...
Sorry, didn't intend to high-jack this squawk, just felt compelled to comment when I saw "...VC-10"!
trickster356
Michael Hoare 0
There is a very big difference between this aircraft and a VC10 ..for most is the extra 2 engines at the back plus the overall size of a VC10 compared to this aircraft.
bjohnson09
Bryce Johnson 1
Didn't Delta just implement a 1 year seat lock recently because they were having pilots upgrade in as little as a few months?
indy2001
indy2001 1
Pilots complain these days about the fact that they're little more than systems monitors and don't get to do much actual flying. They should love the MD-80 family of aircraft. These aircraft have an interesting mix of analog and digital equipment. Enough automation has been added since they were built so that they can do almost anything the newer aircraft can do. There's an interesting tribute on YouTube from an MD-80 pilot who is moving to Boeing aircraft. The video's ID is 'S9bjcHgwfQI'.

From a passenger's perspective, it's still one of my favorites. There's no IFE, but you can bring your own smart phone or tablet to keep you entertained. The seats are comfortable and most airlines give you a couple of inches more pitch than on newer aircraft in their fleets. And they look like they absolutely want to get into the air, a smaller version of the beautiful 4-engined Vickers VC-10 that flew in the 60s and 70s. When we flew AA through Dallas, I always looked forward to the IND-DFW and DFW-IND segments because they were all flown on MD-80s. Sadly, all but one flight per day have been converted to B737-800 service. I guess that's progress, but I'll miss the Mad Dogs.
2018paulrobbinx
Paul Robbins 0
I would totally jump on that! I've never heard a pilot complain about anything with MD in front of it.

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