Tag Archives: Ship 9885

Part of Delta’s retired DC-9-51 N401EA lives on at the refurbished T5 at Los Angeles International Airport

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has decided to make of horizontal stabilizer of McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 N401EA (msn 47682) “ship 9885” as part of the newly refurbished Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport.

The airline issued this statement and photos:


There’s plenty to see at Wednesday’s (June 10) unveiling of Delta’s $229 million refurbishment of Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport. But don’t miss the unusual reception desk Delta is using to honor its past by incorporating it into its state-of-the-art LAX expansion.

The three-year renovation of T5 features Delta’s first exclusive check-in area, officially named Delta ONE at LAX, and includes a dedicated curbside drop-off, a private check-in, expedited security and personalized customer services.

The T5 debut is creating excitement among media, customers and employees, including buzz about the reception desk sitting in Delta ONE. The desk is actually the top of the DC-9-51 Ship 9885 horizontal stabilizer – also referred to as the back T- tail.

Delta DC-9-51 horizontal stabilizer (Delta)(LR)

Photos above: Delta Air Lines.

Ship 9885 (above) had a long airline career and a Southern California history, befitting of its new home at LAX. Built in Long Beach by McDonnell Douglas in 1975, the DC-9 was the largest of the original DC-9 series. Delta was an original operator of the DC-9 starting in 1965.

While Delta’s Product Development and Brand Communications teams were brainstorming a concept for Delta ONE’s reception desk, the idea surfaced to fashion it out of material from a reclaimed aircraft.

The Delta team contacted MotoArt in El Segundo, Calif., just minutes away from LAX, which recycles vintage airplane parts into futuristic furniture, including beds, coffee tables, chairs and desks. MotoArt was hired to make the desk for Delta ONE.

A crew was dispatched to the Arizona desert, where the DC-9 had been resting since retirement in 2013, to dismantle the tail from the airplane and truck it directly to the studio.

“Kevin Cowart [Delta’s Manager of Asset and Project Management for Technical Operations] is in the group that manages our stored aircraft and also handles the recycling of permanently retired aircraft,” said Jeff Coons, Delta’s Manager of Customer Experience. “He was instrumental in helping us identify the airplane and ensure that the team at Marana Aerospace properly remove the tail and prepare it for transit to the MotoArt team.”

The tail was removed in March and the artistic folks at the studio did their thing.

“When I designed this piece, I wanted to truly keep the sensation of flight when you first saw it,” said Dave at MotoArt Studios. “The vertical and horizontal lines on the DC-9 wing stabilizer make it look as if it’s actually taking off. We couldn’t be happier with the final outcome.”

The reception desk sits at the entry to Delta ONE and will be used daily by the Elite Services team to assist customers who are eligible to use the check-in area.

“The design and customer experience for Delta ONE is unique and high touch – and includes several elements local to Southern California,” said Jeff. “Designing and implementing this desk is an excellent way for us to celebrate Delta’s history by using components from a retired Delta aircraft. It also brings a part of that airplane home. The DC-9 production line was just a few short miles from LAX at the Long Beach Airport and was repurposed by the craftsmen at a studio less than a mile from LAX. It’s the ultimate round-trip journey for Ship 9885.”

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured McDonnell DC-9-51 N401EA (msn 47682) came to Delta from the Northwest Airlines merger and is pictured in their colors. However the airframe was delivered new to Allegheny Airlines as N920VJ on October 10, 1975. The airliner was swapped to Eastern Airlines (1st) on November 16, 1978 and became N401EA. Both Northwest and Delta retained the Eastern registration. N401EA was retired by Delta and was flown to Marana, Arizona for storage and disposal on January 5, 2013.