The McDonnell Douglas MD-94X was a planned propfan-powered airliner, intended to begin production in 1994. Announced in January 1986,[1] the aircraft was to seat between 160 and 180 passengers,[2] possibly using a twin-aisle configuration.[3] An all-new design that was investigated internally since at least 1984,[4] the MD-94X was developed in the mid-1980s to compete with the similar Boeing 7J7. The price of oil would have to be at least US$1.40 per gallon for McDonnell Douglas to build the plane, though.[5] Configuration was similar to the MD-80, but advanced technologies such as canard noseplanes,[6] laminar and turbulent boundary layer control, side-stick flight control (via fiber optics), and aluminum-lithium alloy construction were under consideration.[7] Airline interest in the brand-new propfan technology was weak despite claims of up to a 60% reduction in fuel use, and both aircraft were canceled.[citation needed]

Under development at the same time were two propfan-powered commercial variants of the MD-80. The "MD-91X" would have seated 100-110 and entered service in 1991. The "MD-92X," a 150-seat aircraft targeted for service entry in 1992,[2] was originally to be a 76 in stretch (1.9 m) of the MD-80.[3] Existing DC-9s and MD-80s would also have been eligible for an upgrade to the new propfan powerplants.[8]

A propfan-powered military variant of the MD-87 or MD-91X, called the P-9D, was also proposed as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft. The P-9D was intended for use in the United States Navy's Long Range Air ASW-Capable Aircraft (LRAACA) program, which was to initially replace the existing fleet of 125 Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft.[9] In October 1988, the Navy selected a derivative of the P-3 Orion (which was later renamed Lockheed P-7A) as the LRAACA aircraft over the P-9D.[10]


A desktop scaled model of the proposed McDonnell Douglas MD-91 propfan airliner.

See also

  1. ^ Ramsden, J. M. (February 22, 1986). "Propfans—'the genie is out of the bottle'" (PDF). Air Transport. Flight International. Vol. 129 no. 3999. New Delhi, India. p. 8. ISSN 0015-3710. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Haggerty, James J. (1987-08-01). "Toward future flight". Spinoff (PDF) (1987 ed.). NASA (published August 1987). pp. 30–33. hdl:2060/19880002195. OCLC 17914180. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009.
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    Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era