About the MD-80

By , Special To The Christian Science Monitor

The American Airlines Super MD-80, which crashed off the edge of a runway at Little Rock, Ark., National Airport late Tuesday, is a narrow-body jet derived from a DC-9.

*Designed by McDonnell Douglas, it's a twin-jet plane with a single aisle and an engine on each side of the tail.

*The MD-80 went into service in 1980, and has been flown by many US and international airlines on short to medium trips.

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*American Airlines operates the largest number of MD-80s, a fleet of 260.

*The Boeing Co., which bought McDonnell Douglas, announced in November 1997 it would phase out the manufacture of MD-80 passenger aircraft. Boeing's Web site says 1,167 planes of various MD-80 versions have been delivered to airlines and other customers.

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