Roll-out of E1 (N7001U) from Boeing Renton Plant, 27 Nov 1962 - Photo: Bob Bogash

Roll-out of E1 (N7001U) from Boeing Renton Plant, 27 Nov 1962 – Photo: Bob Bogash

More than 27 years after it was gifted to the Museum of Flight, the first Boeing 727 is still being restored at the museum’s Restoration Center at Paine Field in preparation for its last flight down to Boeing Field.

This plane first rolled out of the factory on November 27, 1962, and took its first flight (from Renton Field to Paine Field) on February 9, 1963. It was then used for a year as a Boeing test flight aircraft before being delivered to United Airlines on October 6, 1964.

With United, it flew 64,495 hours, with 48,060 take-offs and landings. After being repainted to its original livery, N7001U flew, in January 1991, from Boeing Field to Paine Field, where it has been sitting ever since.

This is N7006U, but N7001U sported this same livery in 1964 - Photo: The Boeing Company

This is N7006U, but N7001U sported this same livery in 1964 – Photo: The Boeing Company

Restoration work has stopped and started more than once over the years. Some restoration work started in 1997, but was hampered by the lack of 727 parts. (United had removed any usable components to support their other 727s still in service at the time). Sadly, the plane was left open for several years after it was delivered, and many parts “disappeared” during that time, as well.

A new restoration effort started in May of 2004, after the donation of N124FE (aka Marcella) from FedEx. That plane had the majority of the components needed, but additional parts were taken from three other 727s as well.

Marcella, one of the 727s that FedEx donated, used to fly for Eastern. The nose is now with the Future of Flight - Photo: David Capodilupo

Marcella, one of the 727s that FedEx donated, used to fly for Eastern. The nose is now with the Future of Flight – Photo: David Capodilupo

“FedEx believes in giving back to both the industry and communities where we live and work.” David Sutton, FedEx Express managing director, Aircraft Acquisitions & Sales told AirlineReporter. “Given our relationship with Boeing and the fact we were the world’s largest 727 operator before retiring the fleet two years ago, this donation simply made sense for us. We’re honored to be a part of this historic occasion.” This is not the only FedEx 727 donated, 84 have been given to schools, fire departments and museums over the years.

Although FedEx has been instrumental in getting the 727 airborne again, a number of components have required a major effort to secure donations from many other contributors. While United and FedEx have made the most visible contributions, it does take a village for such a large restoration project to succeed. The good thing for N7001U is that there is quite the village looking for it to get some love!

The tail is sanded down and masked, ready for a new coat of paint. - Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

The tail is sanded down and masked, ready for a new coat of paint. – Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

Unfortunately, this 727 has been sitting outside, exposed to the elements. Obviously, Seattle isn’t exactly Victorville in terms of climate, so corrosion has been a major issue in the course of the restoration. It has been sad seeing the plane start to look worse and worse, but it was very exciting seeing the old bird get a new coat of paint.

During our visit last week, the 727 was in the process of being prepped and painted. Working outdoors presents challenges in the painting process, but they seemed to have a pretty good solution.

The underside of the wing has already been painted, since it's always in the shade. Also notice the mesh needed to keep out the birds - Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

The underside of the wing has already been painted, since it’s always in the shade. Also notice the mesh needed to keep out the birds – Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

Due to being outside, the paint must be rolled instead of sprayed. Rolling is more time-consuming, and also requires a different approach; they’re not just spraying one color at a time, like they would be in a hangar.

At the same time, the elements are also a factor in when the painting can be completed. It can’t be first thing in the morning, because of the dew, but later in the day, they also can’t paint the side of the plane that is in the direct sun. In more ways than one, getting the 727 re-painted truly is an art form.

Working in three teams of two, the painters applied the red, blue, and black paint to the tail at the same time - Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

Working in three teams of two, the painters applied the red, blue, and black paint to the tail at the same time – Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

TC Howard, the Crew Chief for the project, was excited to share about the history of the plane and the restoration work that has been completed so far. It was impressive to learn that the restoration work to date has been completed 100% by volunteers, except for the painting. Especially considering the number of years the restoration has been underway, it shows the level of commitment to the project by everyone involved.

An example of a corroded part removed from the 727 - Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

An example of a corroded part removed from the 727 – Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

After chatting, he toured us through the parts area on the way to the plane itself. Once we were outside, we watched the paint crew work while they were masking and painting the starboard side of the tail. Who knew that watching paint dry could be so fun?

BONUS: Additional photos of the Restoration Center+ the interior of the first Boeing 727

During the visit, Bob Bogash, the Project Manager, was also able to share his insight and experience with the plane. His personal website has a lot of great photos and detailed information about the history of the project, and it is obvious that he is very passionate about the aircraft. He told AirlineReporter that he has been personally involved with it since 1984, including his efforts to secure the donation from United originally.

The finished colors on the tail - Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

The finished colors on the tail – Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

The ultimate goal is to fly the aircraft one last time to Boeing Field, to be displayed at the Museum of Flight. However, there are still some significant items that need to be completed before a ferry flight is possible. For one thing, it would be awfully difficult to fly without engines. Fortunately, FedEx is donating engines removed from planes at Victorville, which are due to arrive this week. They are donating five engines, to allow for two spares.

The new engine mounts are waiting for the engines to arrive - Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

The new engine mounts are waiting for the engines to arrive – Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

Another major component is the horizontal stabilizer. It is already at the Restoration Center, but requires specialized help to install. That work is currently planned for September. In addition, the fuel tanks need to be cleaned out, a 727 flight crew must be secured, and additional work may be required on the wheels, brakes, and tires.

The horizontal stabilizer is ready to be installed - Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

The horizontal stabilizer is ready to be installed – Photo: Lauren Darnielle | AirlineReporter

With so many items left to complete, there isn’t yet a definitive date for the ferry flight, but hopefully it will be sometime in October. Safety is, of course, the primary consideration, so there is no rush to complete the work by a particular date.

Guy Amico and part of his crew of Global Jet Painting - Photo: Tom Cathcart

Guy Amico and part of his crew of Global Jet Painting, who re-painted the 727 – Photo: Tom Cathcart

This amazing piece of history has just sitting at Paine Field for a long time. There has always seemed to have been a plan to get the plane airborne again, but it seemed more like a dream than reality. However, with the hard work and passion coming from those who have been working on the 727, it is quite likely that the plane will have one last flight. We hope that is the case and of course we will be following the progress of the last flight, for the first 727.

View more photos of the first Boeing 727 paint work via our Flickr page.

Story written by Lauren Darnielle and David Parker Brown.

Related AirlineReporter Posts

This story was written by one or more of our AirlineReporter staff members. Email us: staff@airlinereporter.com

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Nope. I Will No Longer Fly Standby!
79 Comments

Always loved the 727, best-looking airliner there ever was (DC-10 is a close second). Sure hope they can get this bird up and running again.

There is just something special about the planes with the three engines!

David | AirlineReporter

Michael Restivo

Nice job Laura. The 727 is my favorite plane perhaps David can work it out that the ferry flight be part of AGF the year it is ready to be ferried. I would certainly jump at that provided they put an interior in it. One can dream

brianvanhorne

The interior is still intact, the orange, blue and yellow glory that it is. They have kept a dehumidifier on the airplane for the last 20 years. I volunteered at the restoration center for a few years, they were trying all they could to prevent as much corrosion, and damage to the interior as possible on this bird.

Yup, Brian is correct. The interior still looks pretty darn good! We weren’t able to get into it because of the work being done, but we will be sure to get back inside again soon. But there are some photos (scroll down) from out visit a few years back: https://www.flickr.com/photos/airlinereporter/sets/72157625941305440

David | AirlineReporter

Paul Davis

I went from Chicago to SFO to take the last commercial flight of this plane from SFO to Seattle. The crew were senior pilots who bid for the honor of taking the trip.

jb hagen

I believe the Captain was Dick Eckert, a new hire class mate of mine.

What a neat story! The 727 was always my favorite growing up (I loved the look of the three engines together) and I had the opportunity to fly a few times. Looking forward to watching the restoration progress!

Had the pleasure and good fortune to spend 13 years flying all 3 seats! Favorite airliner I worked on!

Hey Mark,

It is hard to think that flight engineers used to be in the flight decks — kind of a cool job. I loved seeing the initials in the flight deck of some of the old flight crew: https://www.flickr.com/photos/airlinereporter/5402704368/in/album-72157625941305440/

David | AirlineReporter

Danny Anderson

Even tough Lockheed is no longer in the airliner business, they should preserve and restore a complete L-1011 aircraft before they all disappear into beer cans. So advanced for its time, the L-1011 turned out to be one of the safest airliner and it deserves to be preserved for posterity.

Wendell Montague

There is a L1011 in Kansas City at the save a Connie museum

Hey Danny,

As Wendell pointed out, there is one in Kansas City at the National Airline History Museum: http://www.airlinehistory.org/?page=l_1011

Here was its last flight on AirlineReporter: http://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/02/lockheed-l1011-last-flight/

David | AirlineReporter

Rick Harris

They need to contact Tom Gregory the III , he was Fedex’es most senior 727 pilot when they retired the fleet. He is still flying for them on the Airbus. Tom is also an FAA Check Airman designee, a former Marine Aviator, he also flys the Collings Foundation TA-4F Skyhawk, ME 262, and is Chief pilot for Lone Star Flight Museum.

That sounds like a guy who I would love to chat with :).

David | AirlineReporter

Dave Kidney

Saw the first parts of this aircraft on the factory floor in Renton. Put my hand on a fuselage frame so I could say I touched it. Flew on this aircraft on it’s last flight with passengers – all UA employees from SEA to BFI. It was then ferried to PAE

Hey Dave,

That is awesome to have that sort of personal connection with the aircraft!

I can always tell when media or employees have a little AvGeek in them, if they touch the aircraft :).

David | AirlineReporter

David Graef

I have always been one that has to rub her under side when going around or under an airplane like rubbing my dogs belly, weird? Nah I just love airplanes!!

John Taylor

I worked at United in overhaul at SFO for a number of years a truly loved the 727. Great plane except for the stub wing design, too much vibration there working the fasteners. I did many wing root COAs on them. I’ll miss them when gone, we need one or two for posterity.

bernard merida

When I was a teenager in the 1960’s , I lived closed to Miami International and remember looking up at that beautiful 727 flying overhead . Little I knew that latter on my career I was going to fly the ” 72 ” for more than 15,000 hours . I was a pilot, check airman ,ground and simulator instructor on that awesome aircraft and after so many years of flying I still look up when a 727 goes by.
Yes the ” 72 ” still flies in the US . The last airline that I flew for has a fleet of over 12 727-200 in the cargo version and they look awesome.
I retired from the airlines almost at the same time the 727 was retired from passenger service and all I can say is , what a pleasure was to fly that all friend , the Boeing 727.

Hey Bernard,

Thanks for sharing! Being in MIA, I am sure you say a lot of the Easter 727s flying over… one might have been Marcella, which is part of the first 727 now!

And did you prefer flying the passenger or cargo versions? I have heard different pilots have different opinions.

David | AirlineReporter

David Graef

I worked in Dock 5 in San Francisco and had the privilege of working on this aircraft all the way through its last HMV visit and overhaul before going into retirement, Clyde Gibbs was training me as a new Sheetmetal mechanic and I remember well as we installed a skin doubler on the right side of the aircraft just above the nose wheel well as I lay cramped up in the tunnel fwd of the fwd E&E rack laying across the doghouse bucking rivets in almost impossible to reach places leaving knuckle skin and blood behind as proof we had been there. Sure would love to see her again!!!

Hey David,

If I were to look inside the aircraft, would I be able to see the work that you did? During my next visit, I might try to see if I can find it and snap a photo for you.

But the plane should be open for you to take a look at the Museum of Flight for a long time! Just have to make your way to Seattle.

David | AirlineReporter

David Graef

This would be an external skin doubler on rt side of fuselage towards the aft edge of the nose wheel well cut out between cabin floor level and top of NWW cut out somewhere . I believe it was basically rectangular in shape and 12 -15″ high and approx 2′ long/ wide. I hope this helps and thanks so much for being willing to look.

David Graef

I saw the pictures posted and my doubler is quite visible sticking down below the white paint slightly on the right side of the fuselage just behind the cockpit mid fuselage or about water line can’t wait to come see her again!

I visited the #1 727 at MOF last month. It is a beautiful restoration, but I would guess the interior still supports a 70’s motif. I was hoping for an original 60’s interior, but still a great attraction. A must-see.

Dan Goldzband

Never flew enough as a kid, but I grew up on 727’s, mostly on PSA. Had the chance to see this craft at AGF last February and had a picture taken of me “hugging” it (some people hug trees–I hug Boeings).

Alright Dan… you now have to share that photo :).

David | AirlineReporter

I spent eight years as a naval aviator flying fighter planes, some of them supersonic. I also spent 34 years on Pan American world Airways seniority list and flew everything from DC -4’s through the 747. I always felt like the Boeing 727 was the biggest fighter plane in the sky. It was so light on the controls that I am sure I could’ve done barrel rolls and loops with it.
Stu Apte

Hey Stu,

That is interesting since I hear many pilots say the same thing about the 757, which was partly designed to replace the 727.

Could you tell a difference between the 727-100 and 727-200(and Adv)?

David | AirlineReporter

Larry Whitman

FWIW, there are a handful of current airline pilots at AA and UA who flew ALL crew positions on the 727. I’m referring to flight attendants who went on to become pilots. One is a 777 captain at AA. There is another pilot at AA who was a UA flight attendant. I’m a former AA flight attendant and a current 121 pilot but never flew on the front side of the door in a 727.

Global Jet painting deserves to be mentioned for all their hard work on the #1 727 paint job.

Hey Craig,

Thanks for giving them a shout out. We were told they are the same folks that painted the first 747, City of Everett, and they did a fantastic job!

David | AirlineReporter

An PPG-Desoto for the paint. Yesterday, Global Painting finished the painting and I need to start put the placards/decals back on the airplane thast were furnished by GM Namplates in Seattle.

TC

A beautiful plane, glad to see it being restored. Also cool to read comments by former 727 pilots. My closest encounter with a 727 was at Maho beach in St. Maarten a couple of years ago watching a cargo 727 take off, it was meaner and louder than anything other than the KLM 747-400!

Steve Liewer

Beautiful airliner, looks like a beautiful restoration. I was lucky enough to get a peek inside a few years ago when it was parked at the Restoration Center (my dad is a volunteer there) and look forward to seeing it again in all its glory! Big shout out to all the folks who brought N7001U back to life!

Phillip Arroyo

We Unical Aviation Inc. would be honored to help and or see if we have parts to help in this historical event. please give me a call and or send me an email: parroyo at unical.com
or 253-244-1350

Philip,

I sent you an email as I welcome all support that we can get in the way of badly needed parts donated by the various companies that have supported us so far.

We appreciate any help that we can get in the way of donations.

Terry C. ‘TC’ Howard
727 Crew Chief & Quality Assurance
727 UAL E1 Restoration Project
Museum of Flight Restoration Project
2909 100th St. SW, Hanger C72
Paine Field, Everett, WA 98204

tch727 at aol.com

Juan Eizagaechevarria

My best congratulations to the crew is working on the restoration of the one of the best airplane build by Boeing B727-100/200 and fortunately I was able to fly many times for years in those planes.

Julie Airis

I was a flight attendant for UAL and along with then president George Keck
Represented United at the rollout ceremony in uniform. I married Bill Airis a United
Pilot who flew the 727 for years. Wow, I would love to be there to see it fly.

Hey Julie!

That is quite the connection. Well, be sure to keep an eye out, we will be sure giving updates on when the plane will fly again and even if you cannot make it out to Seattle, we will be sharing it live via multiple ways!

David | AirlineReporter

Julie Airis

Keep me apprised of the progress David. I live on Mercer Island
And would like to see the landing!

Julie Airis

We used a retired 727 at SFO for fire department training many times. It has stood up well over the years, it was built like a tank but gentle on the eyes. Damaged many forcible entry tools trying to simulate extractions. I believe its still there in front of super bay hanger. Ironic, serving us well long after its last flight.

Pertaining to your question about the difference between the Boeing 727-100s and the-200s. Pan Am never had any 727-200s but we did have a few 727-QCs (quick change)that could carry part freight and part passenger. Actually, I picked up the very first one from Boeing in Seattle and fluid nonstop from Seattle to Miami Florida. We called it the lead-sled because it weighed so much more than the regular 100’s.

Joe Cullen

I think the last revenue flight flown by Pan Am was by a 727-200 (N369PA Clipper Goodwill) in December 1991. I myself have been a passenger on Pan Am Boeing 727-200’s.

Joe Cullen

Whoops…it was N368PA!

Pan Am did have Series 200 727. At least 2 for sure. The ones they bought from Ozark Airlines in late 1979

Pan Am had at least 2 new 727-200 series aircraft that they purchased from Ozark Airlines in late 1979. At the end of Pan Am only 1 was still flying. The other one crashed and destroyed on landing. The OZA numbers were N720ZK and N721ZK. I don’t recall what PA changed the numbers to.

I FLEW THIS BIRD A FEW TIMES AT UAL. IT HAD A CERTAIN REMARKABLE FEEL TO IT. SEEMINGLY VERY NIMBLE, SOMEWHAT LIKE AN F-86E/F.

Capt. Robert A Vanderbilt

I was a UAL 727 F/O in the late 60’s.
The only time I ever had my parents on board, with me flying, was on this very plane. June 1969. As my Mom boarded she stuck her head in the cockpit for a moment. I turned around & told her she was on the very first 727 ever built & it was UAL’s oldest 727. “Couldn’t we get a newer one today?!” That got quite a laugh from the Capt & S/O.
Heck. She was ONLY about 7 yrs old with a long great life ahead of her thanks to so many dedicated aircraft lovers.

Duane Barnes

My daughter sent me this because I was always saying how I loved this plane. When it took off and gave that initial thrust, you KNEW it was going up! It always looked like it belonged in the sky

AgentGerko

Beautiful aircraft. What happened to rear engine aircraft? Once we had the Caravelle, BAC-111, Trident, 727, DC9, VC-10 and so on but they seem to be limited to a few bizjets these days. They were always the best looking planes. Luckily I have a Qantas B717 flight next month to remind me.

Sorry sounding blond, but what does corrision mean? I know about corrosion.
There is a sign board that reads “Major corrision”

Carl Hakenen

Great aircraft. Spent 31 years with United most of it on the B727 including this one. Flew all 3 seats. Glad to see the work done on it. Was always my favorite aircraft. Still flying a 3 engine aircraft, the DC10 for ORBIS INT. as a donation. Would love to fly the 727 again.

Put me on the mailing list about this plane as progress is done. Keep up the good work.

got my FE written for the 727.

mahamed

My firdt flight lesson wss wiyj a CFI who was a B728 FO.I did my 727 FEX exams with my FAA Commercial ticket back in 1990.I also learnt its Avionics during mv Avionics course in 1983. I nearly got my first flight job to FE this beautiful flying beast in 1993..I have trained and fliwn on FBW A320 and other modern glass cockpit like Legacy 650…but am still fixated on the 7twenty7.A friend of mine operates one as an African freighter and if God
Wills I might finally get the chance to bandke this dear jetliner after awaiting her for 25 years.I used to enjoy their majestic lift offs nose high noise abatement climbs off noidecdebditive airports.In Dusseldorf with Lufthansa in 1989 I experienced the only noise abatement landing early in the morning..no rrverde thrust..brakes did those brakes bite!!! Did you know the 727-200 had an optiom for nodewheel brake for short field landings..name me another plane with main and nose brakes! Those Krueger flaps were an original st the time.It was a Pilot’s plane and you flew a stabilized appriach strictly by the numbers..and boy at M,o.82 it gave other turbojets a run for their the 707 -320 perhaps outpaced it.
One if its greatest feats was during a humanitarian airlift in a war stricken samoa..it carried 280 souls.. And that was not counting those who stowed away in the landing gear and cargo bays.It flew gear down on the short haul just to evacuate those desperate folks. The picyute showed some clinging to the nose wheel LG. This was documented in ” 727 Handbook” which told the story from design to production to how the “3 holer” was flown. Yes that was its unoffivial name..3 holer..but who thought that almost 3 decades later this marvellous flying machine is still delivering goods? God bless MrBoeing..anf let’s not forget.. his partners in crime..MrPratt & Whitney! S moment if silence please….

Flew right seat on the 72 for a while, back in the 70’s. Pretty tough old bird, judging from some of the landings I made. Just when you think you had the secret to making a good landing down pat, it would jump up an bite you bad. It was also VERY noisy at high speeds and low altitudes. Also, DON’T get near the electric elevator trim wheel [located on either side of the pedestal]while trimming the elevator, with the manual trim handle extended. It was a real “knuckle buster”. Also believe a now deceased pilot by the name of “Hoot Gibson” ALMOST rolled one at altitude, but that’s another story. “Journey on, old girl”.

Jay Sprague

Why aren’t the intakes all round? Why is one oval and the other two round? On later models they all round.

Darrell

The 727-200 models had that distinct inlets on the #2 engine. Worked on many 3 holers. Even the one that was in Beirut that was held hostage. Worked for TWA as a A and P Mech.in STL.

Darrell

The 727-100 had the Oval and 200’s had the round.

Joe Cullen

I worked for Boeing on the late-model 727 as an aeronautical engineer. You may have noticed that the -100 oval center engine inlet is raised somewhat off the fuselage. That was to keep turbulent air in the boundary layer from entering the inlet. The -200 had a round inlet because the boundary layer along the stretched fuselage was going to be thicker when it reached the inlet and it was necessary to make it round to keep the turbulent air out of the inlet.

GEORGE VAL

Ex 737 Captain, PACE Airlines, flew B727-100 as FO for a short time at Viscount Air Service and as a Quality Control Supervisor at Continental Airlines. Would love to get involved!

Rob Campbell

If you need a F/E I am available 10000 Hrs on the 72.

Dan Miller

Unfortunately never flew for the airlines but enjoyed several years sitting in the left seat flying corporate clients both 727/100 and 727/200’s. Best flying airplane I have flown in my 23,000 hours. It has to be a restoration of total love to take on a project to restore the first 727/100. My hats off to those who are restoring this Boeing 727.

Barry Garsje

I was a Director Passenger Services (DPS) for Continental Airlines in 68 & 69. The position was a division of management on board. CO had a large 727-200 fleet so that was my primary work station.

Love that 727 plane, they (727-100/200) flew in Australia for many years.
There is something very pleasing about T-tail jets with rear mounted engines IMHO, there are still a lot at Perth airport, B717 and F100.
May they never go away!

George Eckhardt

Spent over a year of my life inside of the 727’s with AA. Flew all positions: FE, FE Check Airmen, F/O, Capt., Check Capt., and Flight Attendant. (was a F/A while in furlough during oil embargo). As F/E’s we sat sideways and learned how things were to be done,……or not done. A manly flying machine, flown by manly men!

Hey George,

It is a classic for sure. Have any good stories while flying on the 727 you want to share?

David | AirlineReporter

I too loved the 727. Any updates? I’m looking forward to seeing this one up close and personal at the MOF at Boeing.

Hey Paul,

The engines are still not in, there is not new date per-say, but they are still hoping to get it to fly shortly. I am hoping to do another follow up story with them soon.

David | AirlineReporter

I live in the PDX area of Oregon, a fellow bought a surplus 727 years ago, had it flown to Hillsboro airport where it was disassembled & trucked to a site south of town, then reassembled for use as a private home. Also, one of the most famous 727’s was used in the D.B. Cooper hi-jacking in the 70’s, he exited the aircraft by lowering the rear tail door to parachute out, never to be heard from again. After which a “Cooper latch” was installed on all 727’s to prevent this .

Something funny here:
I worked for Boeing at Everett in 1989. At that time, there was a 727 hulk in the factory training school. They had sold the aft section for repairs on an airliner. There was a sign posted next to it stating that was the first 727.

I started with UAL in 1957 same time ole 7001u she goes to the musemum I go to heaven

Jim Martin

I worked at UAL ORD Line Maintenance as a Clerk late 59 through 67 and remember passing messages along to the mechanics about problems, including N7001U, which came in from Dispatch and other Maint. depts. Watched her come and go through ORD many times and always cared for the 727’s as well as rode on them for a few employee passes, great plane. Back a couple years ago a friend who had worked in the flight kitchen at ORD (what’s that the milleniels say) and I were carousing around the MOF Everett facility and got a wonderful tour, by TC, in the ole’ gal as she was under reconstruction. Bill had loaded scores of meals (again what was that) on her during his few years working there.
When ORD became a check station for the 727’s sometime along the way I climbed up to the work platform for that high horizontal stab/elevator and took some pictures of the fuselage from that vantage point. Must find them and get them out for we AvGeeks to ponder.
Though not a flight crew on airliners we small plane pilots also appreciate the bigger brethern (sounds better than sistern) and I for one have also gently touched many of them in respect. Watched live on the internet when N7001U made her last flight to the MOF my Daughter came over from Mercer Island to watch that historic event for me. Thanks kid and many more thanks to all who put their bucks and sweat into getting her out in all her glorious original colors if only the exterior. Funny how mechanical contrivences can touch us. Caravelles and DC-8’s as well. Jim

Jim, very colorful history that I enjoyed reading. My brother and I both in our 50s visited the 727 in June at the MOF. It really is a thing of beauty although it is obvious that the interior was not the original but still a great exhibit and a historical one at that.

I remember starting what had to be the first C or D check on one of the FedEx ’27’s. Could be one in the picture. This was in ’88 or ’89. We had to pull insulation blankets in the nose area. The FedEx plane was part of the last batch out the door (built as freighters, no passenger windows). It was like a brand new plane. Now they are retired. And last year, the first 747-400 went to a museum. Worked at the factory refitting that one from flight test for delivery. Then I was hired by McDonnell-Douglas for the start of the C-17 program. Was there for first flight. That plane went to a museum a few months ago. Last program I worked on was the B-2.Remember first flight of that as well It’s a “mature” bomber. Crazy

Back in the early 60’s after graduating from high school near Seattle, I took a job with Boeing as an expediter and then later as a jig builder. I was fortunate enough to be hired for parts expediter for the “E-100”, designation for the first 727 rollout for UAL. Exciting times for a snot nosed kid back then and remembering being filled with pride as being a small part of the beginnings of a great plane. Later in the mid 2000’s, my job took me from Hawaii to Guam and Micronesia on a Contintental Air Mic 727, the primary aircraft was the 727 used on the island route to Guam. On each and every flight, I experienced that same sense of pride and accomplishment that I experienced as that “snot nosed kid” back in the 60’s. Also very proud to have been an employee of Boeing, one of the greatest aircraft companies in the world.

“If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going” I was hired at Everett as a “change incorp” mechanic. We were on the flightline refurbing the three original 747-400’s for delivery to customers. Great times, but I was growing webbed feet from the rain!. Got a supervisor spot at Douglas in Long Beach on the C-17. It was obvious they were in trouble, mainly from the top down. The “merger” with Boeing got the right leadership to turn the C-17 around. I was laid off before that happened, but kept in touch with my old boss. He was a Boeing transplant, and had been harassed for years with “we don’t give a damn about how they do it in Everett”. He told me of trips for Douglas supervision to Everett. He said they cried when shown a REAL aircraft factory. He also got all his Boeing time factored into his seniority and became The Man over the idiots who gave him grief in the old hierarchy. Payback is mean female dog at times.

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