2nd of September 1998
It was on this day in aviation history that the Boeing 717 made its first flight.
The Boeing 717 that is referred to here was actually the third aircraft that was identified as a Boeing 717!
The first airframe to be designated as Boeing 717 that occurred in the 1950s was the Boeing C-135 Stratolifter, this aircraft was identified internally by Boeing as the Boeing 717. Also, the Boeing 720 had the designation Boeing 717 during its development, The Boeing 717 we look at here is the twin-engined jet that was originally marketed by McDonnell Douglas as the MD-95. This aircraft finds its origin in the DC-9-90 a development of McDonnell Douglas in the early 1980s. During its development, several configurations of fuselage length and engines were considered. Finally, it was decided that the aircraft would have a fuselage length of 122' 6" (37.34 meters). It would have a range of 2060 nm (3815 km) and a gross weight of 112.000 lbs (51.000 kg). Powerplants considered were the CFM56-3 and the 17.000 lb version of the JT8D-200. When a recession hit the aviation industry in the 1980's further development was halted. In 1991 at the Paris Airshow McDonnell Douglas announced the development of a 105 seat aircraft, the MD-95. 3 years later the MD-95 made its first public appearance, similar to the DC-9-30, Its length, span, weight and fuel capacity being nearly identical to the DC-9-30. Later on (after being considered also for a life extension program of the DC-9-30, the DC-9X project) the BMW Rolls Royce BR700 was selected as the sole engine option for the MD-95.
It can be said that the MD-95 is a DC-9-30 with new engines, a modified flight deck and modernised systems. Engines (re)considered were the JT8D-200 and the RR Tay 670 as an alternative.
Orders didn't really poor in, and for a period of two years, only start-up low-cost carrier ValuJet placed an order for 50 MD-95's and 50 options. When Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997 it was expected that the MD-95 project would be cancelled, however, this did not happen and Boeing decided to rebrand the aircraft as a Boeing 717. As the designation "Boeing 717" was not previously used to market a Boeing model (they skipped it when after the Boeing 707 the following aircraft were designated Boeing 720 and Boeing 727).
Previous usages were designations as 717-100 and 717-200 for the Stratolifter and the Boeing 720, however as they were only used internally with Boeing the designation 717 remained available.
Comparison of the different McDonnel Douglas aircraft and the Boeing 717.
Several versions of the B717 were proposed but only one made it to production, remarkably it was known as the Boeing 717-200. Powered by Rolls-Royce BR715A1-30 engines (Basic version of the Boeing 717) or BR715C1-30 engines (High gross weight version), it had seating for a maximum of 134 passengers. 155 were built between 1998 and 2006. Some specifications for the two Boeing 717 variants;