The DC-9 is one of the historical aircrafts with a huge commercial success.

Built in the ’60 it evolved to satisfy markets needs untill it became known under its new company as the MD80.

i had the pleasure to spend some time in the cockpit of a DC-9 at Amsterdam Schiphol airport.

I played a bit with it and found some surprising things that I want to share with you.

The Cockpit of the DC-9

The first thing you notice when you enter, are the dimensions. Not a big space.

It’s comfortable even if not that big, once seated you feel you have everything in the right place around you, but it’s definitely not a modern 737.

The second thing you notice is the absence of screens. Every instrument is analogic, like you would expect in an old cockpit.

A lot of instruments that you will find also in a Cessna 172.

It was a nice experience going back in time thinking of how pilots used to fly.


As you can see there is no Navigation Display – ND.

Navigation in the past was very different compared to today. I won’t go into details because I don’t really know how pilots used to navigate in the ’60, but as you can see NDB’s and VOR’s were used.

Besides these instruments you can see the classic climb and descent speed indicator, altimeter, speed indicator and artificial horizon.



On the right side you can see the four fuel level indicators. In the center you can see all the engine instruments and at the extreme right you can see the co-pilots instruments.

In the other images you can see also some details of the ILS and VOR instrument and of the Overhead panel.

Have a look at the autopilot that they used use. It wasn’t as precise as today’s autopilot and its position was not on the front panel, but on the radio panel between the pilots. In place of todays autopilot, in the DC-9 you will find the lights switches.

Going in cockpits like this one you will understand better how far aviation has gone in a short time to be where we are today.

For sure in 40 years from now we will go inside the cokpit of an A380 and someone will say how strange cockpit were in those years.

Even if technology is advancing, human kind is not following the same rhythm and this is bringing to more pilot and management errors that conclude in air disasters.

cabina dc9

vor dc9

overhead dc9

pilota automatico dc9