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
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.
The 737-800, ready to be pulled
Earlier this week, I was invited by Alaska Airlines to watch the Alaska Plane Pull for Strong Against Cancer at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The two competing teams were led by Russell Wilson, quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks and Alaska’s “Chief Football Officer,” and actor and comedian Joel McHale, who grew up on Mercer Island (right outside of Seattle) and is known for his role in the series “Community” and as host of E!’s “The Soup.”
Each celebrity captain had 18 team members, comprised of employees from Alaska’s maintenance and engineering departments, as well as members of the community who were the lucky winners of Alaska’s Facebook contest.
Who could pull a 92,000-pound 737-800 25 feet in the least amount of time? I was there to find out!
NL93012, the Collings Foundation B-17G dubbed “nine-o-nine” taxiing at Boeing Field – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
This weekend only (June 26th-28th) if you want to see some warbirds, head down to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, put down a few bucks, and enjoy!
What, exactly, does the Collings Foundation offer? A little bit of what you see above, and then more of what you see below…
NX224J, known as Witchcraft, is the only flying B-24J out there – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Their most famous aircraft is the only remaining Boeing B-24J “Witchcraft.” You can fly in it for $450; that’s cheaper than a B-29 Superfortress! They also have the only fully dual-control TP-51C Mustang (dubbed “Betty Jane” in their employ). Though the rates to fly on that are a bit more expensive, and best acquired by contacting the Foundation directly.
On top of that, they are bringing their Boeing B-17G “Nine-O-Nine”, and a B-25 “Tondelayo.” You can fly on the B-25 for the reasonable price of $400. If you don’t feel like flying, you can still make a small donation to have a look around any of their visiting aircraft.
One of the AGF15 groups on the 747-8 factory floor – Photo: Boeing
It has been a while since we celebrated Aviation Geek Fest Seattle 2015 back in February, but I am still feeling the excitement. What an amazing two-day AvGeek event that was held here, in Seattle, WA on February 21 and 22.
This year, all 250 “Full” tickets sold out in less than 30 seconds. Less than 30% of the guests were from Washington state and the rest came from around the world. We had AvGeeks from Austria, Denmark, the UK, Dubai, India and, of course, our friends up north from Canada. It was a blast!
Paine Field is beyond beautiful – Photo: AvGeek Joe
For those of you not familiar with Aviation Geek Fest Seattle, it is a two-day event, where attendees get to have amazing aviation experiences with VIP access. This was our sixth time doing this, and I think the best one yet.