Delta to Upgrade MD-88 and MD-90 Fleet

US carrier Delta Air Lines plans to outfit its fleet of 182 MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft, as well as several flight simulators, with standardised glass cockpits and GPS navigation.  The changes are hoped to improve efficiency, reduce environmental impact and position the aircraft to take advantage of procedural improvements outlined in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Next Generation Air Transportation System.
The avionics suite, developed by Innovative Solutions & Support (ISS), will allow the aircraft to fly shorter flight paths and take advantage of continuous-descent, required navigation performance (RNAV) approaches to reduce fuel consumption, carbon emissions and noise levels.  The addition of GPS capabilities alongside the incorporation of Data Link and ADS-B will allow pilots to fly safer as the three systems aid flight crews in identifying nearby air traffic, weather and terrain on flat panel displays in the cockpit.
The reduced-weight equipment will reportedly decrease CO2 emissions by 80 million pounds annually and halve the aircraft noise footprint.  The standardised flight decks will improve situational awareness for flight crews and are expected to increase operational flexibility, simplify maintenance and improve dispatch and on-time reliability.
Installation of the systems is due to begin in early 23014 and will be completed by ISS technicians at Delta TechOps facilities.  The process is expected to take approximately two years.
(Image:  Delta)