McDonnell Douglas MD-87 blank illustration templates

By Norebbo •  6 min read

In what might be quite possibly the most boring Norebbo update ever, I present to you blank illustration templates of the McDonnell Douglas MD-87. However, before you completely die of boredom, I’d just like to say that it was either this or nothing this week!

Although things have been really busy for me lately, I’m trying to make it a point to spend at least an hour on aircraft template creation every day. I didn’t have a ton of time this week, but it was enough to create another variant of my existing MD-80 template. Anyway, I know that there are at least two of you who have been waiting for this, so at least I know that I’ve made two people happy.

Scratch that. Make it three, because I feel pretty good knowing that I’ve filled another gap in my existing airliner template collection.

MD-87 side view

Side profile illustration of an all white McDonnell Douglas MD-87 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

MD-87 blueprint

Technical side profile line drawing of a McDonnell Douglas MD-87

buy the McDonnell Douglas MD-87 source file airliner template

Where exactly does the MD-87 fit into the MD-80 family of aircraft?

The most difficult part about creating this specific template was trying to figure out how the MD-87 differs from every other aircraft in the MD-80 lineup. I didn’t realize it before, but even though that there are 5 main variants (MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-87, and MD-88), there aren’t really all that many visual / external differences between each of them. Here’s an extremely simplistic breakdown of how different they are from one another:

  1. MD-81 – Essentially just a stretched DC-9-50
  2. MD-82 – A modified MD-81 which included the following: a flat edged “screwdriver-like” tailcone (which also became a common upgrade for most existing MD-81s that had already been built). New engines were added as well.
  3. MD-83 – Visually identical to the MD 82
  4. MD-87 – This was the shortest aircraft in the MD-80 family, which was achieved by cutting four rows of seats. In addition to a multitude of internal technical advancements, an all new 717-style vertical stabilizer was added.
  5. MD-88 – Visually identical to the MD 82 and 83, this model received extensive technological advancements such as an all glass cockpit.

In summary, it was only the MD-87 which looked significantly different than all of the other variants. The MD-82, 83, and 88 were visually identical, and the MD-81 was extremely close with the only visual difference being a pointed tail cone.

A brief history of the McDonnell Douglas MD-87

By far the most interesting thing about the MD-87 was how it got it’s name. Announced in January 1985 with a planned launch in 1987, the aircraft was given the “87” designation to mark the year it would enter service (which is how the other aircraft in the MD-80 series were named as well). Pretty neat, huh?

Anyway, the first flight was on December 4, 1986, and true to its name, it entered service with American Airlines on November 27th, 1987. I guess I had no idea how close this aircraft came to being called the MD-88!

The last delivery went to Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) on March 27th, 1992. There were 75 MD-87s built.

What what is it like to fly on the MD-87?

To be honest, I can’t recall if it was all that different from a DC-9 or 717. According to my personal flight log. I’ve flown on 2 different MD 87’s over the years, both with Scandanavian Airlines in January 2003.

The most notable thing about this aircraft is that it wasn’t as quiet as the MD-80 in the forward section. The MD-80 was known for being whisper-quiet when seated up front, but I specifically remember that the MD-87 wasn’t exactly the same way. This is obviously due to the shorter fuselage – and at the time I was thinking how much more interesting it was because…well…noisy airplanes are a lot more fun!

Other than that, it was hard to feel a difference from the other variants from a passenger perspective.

The next aircraft template in the growing Norebbo collection will be…

Likely not one that you’ve been waiting for! Well, there may be a small number of you who will appreciate my uploads over the next couple weeks, but for the most part anyone dying for an all new template for me it’s going to be somewhat disappointed.

In order to keep the momentum going, I’m going to continue doing these smaller projects which have been on my drawing board for far too long. As I mentioned in my last post, there are a lot of holes in my collection at the moment, and I really need to go back and create templates for some key aircraft that I never got around to.

This includes things like all the variants of the 777 series (not including the 777X), the E195, the CRJ-1000, the MD-81, etc.

My goal is to tackle as many of these as I can over the next two weeks, because I really want to start an all new template in July. I’ll be traveling again for the entire first week of July, but I hope to return from that trip being ready and inspired to do something really cool. As of this exact moment, I’m thinking about doing another Russian aircraft. That Tu-154 I recently did was a ton of fun and it has really inspired me to do more.

Anyway, I appreciate your patience as I work through some of these gaps in my collection over the next two weeks. I’m not sure if I’m going to create a blog post for each one, as that takes a lot of time away from doing illustration work. But I’ll definitely post on my social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) to let you know when they have been added to my online store.

I may even distribute the free lower-resolution versions via my email list. If you’re not already subscribed, I suggest you do (via the form below) so that you don’t miss out!


My name is Scott, and I started in the design industry over 20 years ago with a bachelors degree in Industrial Design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI. I have an extensive background in both 2D and 3D illustration, and these days, I spend a majority of my time creating aircraft templates and airliner art. I’m basically an airplane dork.

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