I may be slow, but at least I’m consistent! It was over two weeks ago since my last post when I promised these McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40 side view illustrations “soon”, and…well…sorry for the slight delay.

The main reason for the delay is that I had to go back and modify the engines on the -50 template. It turns out that I depicted them slightly larger than they were in real life, and since I am such a stickler for accuracy, I couldn’t proceed forward without going back and fixing that little goof.

In a nutshell, I incorrectly assumed that the engines were the exact same size as they were on the MD-80, but it turns out that isn’t the case. Oh well – as you can see, I’m learning a lot about individual aircraft types by creating these templates!

McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40 side view templates

Just as I predicted, creating the side view illustrations / blueprints of the DC-9-40 was a relatively simple process. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that I’d be able to tell the difference between a -40 and a -50 if I didn’t see the two of them together side-by-side. They are nearly identical aircraft, minus a few little details and overall fuselage length.

All white McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40 side view
All white McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40 side view
All white McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40 side view with bare metal engines
All white McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40 side view with bare metal engines
DC-9-40 blueprint
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40 line drawing

buy the dc-9-40 source file airliner templates

As you can see, I decided to create two versions all-white template. From doing all the research (and looking at hundreds of pics), I noticed that the vast majority of the DC-9-40s had bare metal engines. Airline liveries of the time didn’t feature painted engines like we see these days, so I thought it was best to provide of a bare-metal option as well.

I’d also like to mention that I know my illustration style is somewhat on the “exaggerated” side of the spectrum. Yeah, the way I illustrated the bare metal engines is slightly inaccurate, as I’m showing a high-gloss finish which wasn’t actually the way it was in real life.

If you’re looking for 100% accuracy in your illustrations, I would suggest blurring out the hard reflection that runs down the length of the engine (just so it doesn’t look so glossy and shiny). Of course I could’ve done that in these templates, but my personal style favors “bling” wherever possible, and I’m totally diggin’ the hard-gloss look.

What is the DC-9-40, and how did they differ from previous versions?

Launched in 1968 with Scandinavian Airlines, the DC-9-40 was essentially an evolution of the DC-9-30. A total of 71 were produced.

Anyway, from what I can tell, there weren’t many differences between a DC-9-30 and the DC-9-40. The only major change was fuselage length, along with slightly different (more advanced) engine option. For the record, the fuselage length increase was exactly 6 ft 6 in (2 m). Not a huge stretch, but it was enough to increase passenger capacity up to 125.

Do be sure to read my post about the DC-9-50 illustrations, where I talked a little bit about how the DC-9-40 differed from the -50 series.

What are all the visual differences between a DC-9-40 and a DC-9-30?

As I just mentioned, there really isn’t all that much. Here are a few specific visual differences that I noticed while creating these templates:

  • There were five more windows per side on the DC-9-40
  • Some of the sensors and the access panels in the fuselage are different

Other than that, pretty much everything else is the same (in terms of external visuals). The wing, horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, landing gear, etc. are all nearly identical.

What is the next Norebbo aircraft template going to be?

The big daddy of them all, of course: the DC-9-30. Well, when I say “big daddy”, I am referring to the overall popularity of the series – and not the size of the actual aircraft. As we all know, the DC-9-30 was just a baby (although not the smallest in the DC-9 family), and it was far and away the best selling McDonnell Douglas aircraft of all time. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, and I need to save all those juicy details for that post…

I also need to mention a reminder that these side view aircraft templates are just a side project for me. While it wouldn’t be all that difficult for me to bang out the -30 within a day or two, I do have a lot of other projects that I’m working on, and I need to tend to those first before getting back into aircraft illustrations again. I’m just saying this to set expectations, that’s all. Based on my current schedule and all the other things that I’ve got going on in my life, I expect I’ll have the -30 templates posted within 2 to 3 weeks from now.

That’s quite ideal IMHO, since it’ll give you plenty of time to take these DC-9-40 (as well as the -50 templates) and work on some killer livery illustrations of your own. Do be sure to tag me on Instagram (@norebbo) if you post your illustrations using my templates. I always love seeing the amazing work that you guys and gals do!

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  1. Hi my name is Francisco Tames first A320 captain to retired from Volaris Airlines in Mexico. I also flew DC-9s for 19 years in Aero California Airlines based in La Paz Baja California

    1. Hola Francisco! I remember seeing Aero California DC-9’s at LAX all the time (back in the late 90s), and I sure do miss them. I regret not ever having a chance to fly on one of them either.

      Someday (if I can ever find the time) I’ll do an entire post dedicated to the Aero California livery. That should be fun…

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