Company Gives New Life to the DC-9

 - January 11, 2012, 2:43 PM
Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services replaced the ‘steam gauge’ cockpit with a glass cockpit in four months.

Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services is no stranger to taking an older airplane from analog to digital. According to principal engineer Greg Smith, the DC-9 cockpit went from “steam gauges” to digital in a matter of four months and the airplane rolled out with a glass cockpit sporting four 10-inch Universal Avionics EFI 890 flat-panel displays; Universal UNS-1LW flight management system; L-3 integrated standby units combining airspeed and attitude in a single unit; and Cobham audio panels. The job required stripping the cockpit “to the bare bones” and equipment and installation cost $2.5 million, said Smith. An earlier project saw the installation of EGPWS and weather radar, and the airplane is now RVSM compliant. The twinjet, a DC-9-15 known casually as “a Baby Nine,” came off the assembly line in 1967, has been in the owner’s family since 1971 and has 19,000 hours. It has the original Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7 engines but with hush kits to meet Stage 3 noise-abatement requirements.