Ok you guys…what is it about the MD-90 that makes you all seem to want a template of it so badly? I mean, this was never really a very popular aircraft with the major airlines, and if it weren’t for Delta Airlines, every last one of them would’ve probably been chopped up and converted into beer cans by now. That can of Redbull sitting next to you on your desk? Yup, that would likely have started it’s life as a McDonnell Douglas MD-90 if it weren’t for Delta’s quirky habit of acquiring older aircraft which every other airline can’t seem to get rid of fast enough.
Let’s look at the numbers. According to Wikipedia, there were only 116 of these things built over the span of seven years (1993-2000), and at the time of this writing, Delta Airlines is the sole remaining operator. They’ve got 61 of these airplanes still in service, and that number is dwindling more and more with each passing year. Oddly enough, I’ve been getting requests to create side view templates of the MD-90 at the rate of roughly one per week for the past year and a half (mostly from different people but there have been a few repeats). If you’re good at math, you’ll know that that is roughly 75 requests for what is essentially an aircraft that was never very popular and is all but extinct. What gives?
Is it safe to assume that the MD-90 has a cult following that I didn’t know about? I’m a fairly regular reader of airliners.net, and I’m usually in tune with what’s going on in the world of commercial aviation, but I’m not seeing the fascination with this aircraft on the forums over there. Perhaps there really is a secret underground cult following of the MD-90, and if that’s the case, my only conclusion is that you guys aren’t vocal enough. Somebody needs to start a website called md90love.com or something to take advantage of this hugely untapped market. It sounds stupid, I know, but smelling a business opportunity here is the only thing that pops into my head when trying to decipher the data.
Anyway, on to the templates! I knew right from the beginning that this MD-90 illustration wouldn’t be all that much different from my MD-80 template, as they are basically the same aircraft differentiated by a few minor changes. The biggest change, of course, is that the MD-90 has much bigger and better looking engines then it’s predecessor. The V2500 engines give the MD-90 a really stout and tough looking appearance (especially from a front three-quarter view), which unfortunately makes the MD-80 look absolutely weak and pathetic in comparison. Maybe it’s just because I’m a guy, but judging an aircraft based on how big the engines are and how strong it looks is…well…such a guy thing to do. Size matters!
Another difference which I didn’t know about is the fact that the MD-90 has the same squared-off vertical stabilizer as the Boeing 717. I had originally thought that it was Boeing who created that sharper vertical stabilizer, but it was actually McDonnell Douglas right before the merger. Oddly enough, that’s probably the most interesting tidbit of info that I learned from creating this template. There’s always something, and that’s what makes these templates so dang fun.
So there you have it. The MD-90 templates are now complete, which does make me feel pretty good for getting them done and out of the way. Not as good as realizing that it will stop the inflow of email and requests that I get for this aircraft though! I never could understand the fascination with this oddball aircraft, but I imagine these templates are going to make a lot of you happy. My sincere apologies for the long wait!