Flying on a DC-9 used to be very common in the United States. Delta, Northwest, Eastern, Midway, Continental, TWA, Hughes, US Air, Ozark, Midwest Express and many others had the workhorse in their fleet. The planes were rugged, overbuilt and could take off on relatively short runways. Over the past few years, almost all the passenger DC-9s in the US have been retired. Even Delta airlines, known for flying more ‘experienced’ jets retired their last DC-9-50 in 2013. It is now nearly impossible to fly in a passenger DC-9 in the US.
Above is an approach plate into Chicago’s Midway airport. The profile is similar to the ones flown by the pilots in the video. Today, Midway has runway 31L and 31C. The center runway used to be known as 31L. The video shows the pilots flying the approach from the southwest. Once they have the airfield in sight, they begin a right turn to set up for a left base to runway 22L. This type of approach, known as a circling approach, is still very common today at Midway Airport. Flying this approach keeps Midway’s air traffic away from O’hare’s arrival corridor to the north when winds are out of the South and West. With circling approaches fairly rare, it also makes for great #avgeek spotting of airplanes maneuvering close to the ground.