The Boeing 727's first flight - Photo: Boeing

The Boeing 727’s first flight – Photo: Boeing

The last flight of the first Boeing 727 is going to happen soon. This is no longer a dream, but a reality. The first 727 has been in the process of being restored for many years and this is a beyond-exciting moment! It likely will fly the first week of March, traveling the short distance from Paine Field (in Everett, north of Seattle) to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field (in Seattle’s south side). 

The first Boeing 727 being worked on and prepped for final flight

The first Boeing 727 being worked on and prepped for final flight

We recently had the opportunity to chat with the man who will be Captain for the final flight, Tim Powell.  He is a great guy, an amazing pilot,  and an AvGeek. We wanted to learn more about why he was chosen, what excites him about the flight, how he likes still flying the 727, and if he has any concerns about the upcoming flight.

I love the fact that so much love is out there for the first Boeing 727’s last flight. It will surely be a historic event. If you haven’t been keeping up with the aircraft, here are some things to take a look at (plus lots of sweet photos):

Now, here is our interview with Captain Powell about the 727 and his upcoming flight:

Captain Powell doing a few circuits & bumps in the Tigermoth on a visit to Duxford - Photo: Tim Powell

Captain Powell doing a few circuits & bumps in the Tigermoth on a visit to Duxford – Photo: Tim Powell

David Parker Brown (DPB): When did you know you wanted to be a pilot?
Tim Powell (TP): As long as I can remember.

DPB: What kind of plane did you first want to fly?
TP: Fighters… of course!

DPB: What kind of planes have you flown over the years? Which has been your favorite?
TP: J-3 Cub to the Boeing 777. 46 years of flying all the Boeings (except the 747). I still have a soft spot for the 707, as it was my first.

DPB: How did you feel when you found out you would become a 727 pilot?
TP: Very excited — as I had been a 727 second officer (flight engineer) at Western Airlines for eight years (flying sideways). I was very glad to be back in the pilot’s seat.

DPB: How does it feel being one of the few pilots still actively flying the 727?
TP: Very, very fortunate — not many are left.

The Boeing 727-100 that Caprin

The Boeing 727-100 that Captain Powell flies regularly – Photo: Heads Up Photography | FlickrCC

DPB: What is your favorite part of the 727?
TP: The hand flying characteristics of the airplane! Nice not to be just managing a Flight Management System (FMS) or autopilot.

DPB: How were you chosen to fly on the final flight for the first 727?
TP: I volunteered my time, as I have over 10,000 hours in the 727 and currently fly a 727-100 (1967 vintage, that is now a private jet). Recency of experience is important and there aren’t many of us left.

DPB: Were you hesitant at all, flying a plane that has been grounded for so long?
TP: No. Bob Bogash, TC Howard, and crew have done a thorough job of waking her up!

DPB: Who will the other flight crew be? Have you flown with them before?
TP: Captain Mike Scott (right seat) who is very experienced and current 727 pilot. The flight engineer will be Ralph Pascale, who has 30 years experience. We fly together on a regular basis on the 727.

A short flight from Paine Field to Boeing Field

A short flight, 26 miles direct, from Paine Field to Boeing Field – Image: GCMap.com

DPB: Will there be anyone else on the flight?
TP: I have asked to carry a safety pilot (who will be Bob Bogash) in the cockpit jump-seat for an extra pair of eyes — as we will be operating VFR (Visual Flight Rules) since some navigation radios are not current for IFR flight. We will also be at a fairly low altitude (2,500 feet) between Paine Field (KPAE) and Boeing Field (KBFI).

DPB: How will the final flight be different than your standard 727 flights?
TP: It will be very short — maybe 15 minutes. The landing gear will not be retracted, the flaps will be fixed at 15° (normally they are at 30°), a slightly higher nose up attitude on landing (due to the flaps), and maybe flying with a photo plane close by. 

727 Renton Flightline in 1966 - Photo: Boeing

727 Renton flightline in 1966 – Photo: Boeing

DPB: How does it feel knowing you will be the last person ever to captain the first 727?
TP: It is always a little bittersweet. I have done other similar last flights. After parking the plane, we always tell ’em, “you did a good job.”

Lew taken with N7001U the day before first flight - Photo: Boeing

Lew taken with N7001U the day before first flight – Photo: Boeing

DPB: What are you going to wear for the flight?
TP: I generally wear my A-2 flight jacket when working. I believe I will wear that with a white shirt and tie to honor Lew Wallick (the pilot who flew the 727 for the first time) as he appeared just before the plane’s first flight.

DPB: Will there be a Tex Johnston barrel roll or a wing wag?
TP: Nope — I just want to do a good, safe delivery! Maybe some air-to-air photography as well.

DPB: How much longer do you think you will be flying the 727?
TP: As long as they let me!

Stay tuned on AirlineReporter to get updates on the final flight and enjoy our continued coverage of the event! As always, please share your thoughts and memories of this amazing aircraft in the comments.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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19 Comments
phelpsr1717

This as an outstanding article on a simply great airplane! Thanks for a well done presentation!

Michael Lashchuk

Too bad they can sell seats on that last flight to help raise money for the restoration expense

phelpsr1717

I certainly agree with you Michael but whoever the insurer is for this flight might have restrictions on passengers unless they had a waiver for damages in the unlikely event something unexpected occurred with this move. I believe it will be a great event for all involved and all keeping track of this historic flight!

A great airplane that I rode on many times as I commuted weekly from DEN to LGA or to MSP. R-I-P great one!!

Anthony Caliri

I have had a fascination and loyalty to the 727 since I was a kid. It all started with Pan Am flying the small route from Rochester, NY to JFK. I always, and still hoped to co-pilot this beautiful breed of airplane. I also reveled where the rear galley is located. I wish you the best on this historic last flight.

Anthony Caliri

I have had a fascination and loyalty to the 727 since I was a kid. It all started with Pan Am flying the small route from Rochester, NY to JFK. I secretly hoped to co-pilot this beautiful breed of airplane. I also reveled where the rear galley is located. I wish you the best on this historic last flight.

A.L.Bowser

It is wonderful to see this first of a terrific aircraft being saved. I have had the great privilege to have flown this fascinating Boeing product in all three seats and as a maintenance rep. First with Eastern Airlines for
32 years, then for 17 more flying her in Corporate Livery. At last count my logbook showed over 20000 hours counting all seats in 727’s. It was a wonderful aircraft that demanded your full attention at times.
It had a bite for the unwary. For those who have flown her, I need not elaborate.
Many thanks to all who helped save this bird.

David, I was hoping the last flight would coincide with #AGFSEA16. That would have been an awesome treat. However, do you think the 727 will open to the public during AGF?
Cheers

Ive been lucky enough to fly on Boeings most iconic aircraft, namely the 727 & the 747. The 727 was even more memorable as it was on our first trip abroad (Im from India). The flight was NYC to Cleveland if I remember correctly, back in 1989. Newer planes might be more efficient, but nothing beats these wonderful old sky warriors

Oliver F. Jedlick, Jr.

Will there be a Flight Engineer (Mechanic) in the 3rd seat to keep it authentic?

Tim Powell

Yes – The 727 is, and always has been a 3 crew airplane. The Flight Engineer is a REQUIRED crew member. In scheduled airline operations the Flight Engineer was normally called a Second Officer ( a Pilot with a Flight Engineer Rating – but not necessarily a Mechanic ). In Non scheduled or Corporate operations the Flight Engineer is normally required to be an A&P mechanic , as well as being rated as a Flight Engineer ( known as a PFE – Professional Flight Engineer ).

I flew the 727 for 15 years at EAL. Great flying aircraft ! I have also flown the DC9, MD80, 757, & 747-400. I like the way the 727 handles.
Ideal aircraft would be a 727 with updated 2-man cockpit and -17 engines.

Tim Powell

Gerry,

The updated versions of the 727-100 that we fly in corporate operations ( Pic above ) has -217 ( MD-80 ) engines ( on 1 & 3 positions ), flap droop ( what Hoot Gibson was trying to achieve ), winglets, and 71,000Lb. fuel capacity ( 8 hours range ). With the additional thrust and flap droop we regularly operate at FL410.
We LIKE still having the 3rd man ! Our Professional Flight Engineer keeps things ship shape when on the road for extended periods

Ben Dudley

As a retired Dispatcher for United Airlines I have dispatched this aircraft many many times in years past. Are you sure you don’t need a dispatcher in the jump seat just one last time.

Bonnie Hausfeld

Congratulations Tim !

What a wonderful career, it’s not a surprise you’ve accomplished so much. I don’t know if you remember me or not but we skated on Dormbushes lake all winter, long time ago. You had great parents and I remember your sister ” Debbie ” ? I married a Lancers too ! It’s a shame you couldn’t go to the 50 th. Reunion. What a great time. Just wanted to say hello & the best to you ! Bonnie Huy Hausfeld

Tim Powell

Bonnie,

Of course I remember the days skating on Dornbushes pond. Great to hear from you ! Are you married to Tim Hausfeld ??

I thought I would be able to make it to the reunion – then my boss scheduled a long European trip. I really do need to “retire” some time soon.

Thanks for the best wishes, and please stay in touch either thru my

jim wray

Tim, good story about a great person.
bim

Tom Harrmann

Enjoyed reading about the last flight. Great story sounds like you’ve had a great career
Chuck

skytrim13_tech57

Dear Sir, we have volume of b727-200 spares for sale all must go interested please call or e-mail:mr.samuel t ponnu (managing partner)skytrim technology [email protected]+60193829430 

| | Interview With the Captain of the First 727’s Last Flight The Boeing 727’s first flight – Photo: BoeingThe last flight of the first Boeing 727 is going to happen soon. This is no longer a dream, but a reality. The first 727 has been in the process of being restored for many years and this is a beyond-exciting moment! It likely will fly the first week of March, traveling the short distance from Paine Field (in Everett, north of Seattle) to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field (in Seattle’s south side). The first Boeing 727 being worked on and prepped for final flightWe recently had the opportunity to chat with the man who will be Captain for the final flight, Tim Powell.  He is a great guy, an amazing pilot,  and an AvGeek. We wanted to learn more about why he was chosen, what excites him about the flight, how he likes still flying the 727, and if he has any concerns about the upcoming flight. – – The first Boeing 727 rolls out – Photo: Boeing – – The first Boeing 727 – Photo: Boeing – – The Boeing 727’s first flight – Photo: Boeing

I love the fact that so much love is out there for the first Boeing 727’s last flight. It will surely be a historic event. If you haven’t been keeping up with the aircraft, here are some things to take a look at (plus lots of sweet photos): – Current status and tons of great information from Bob Bogash – Video: Taxi test of the first 727 at Paine Field – Rare photos: The anniversary of the 727’s first flight – An AvGeek in the left seat — flying the Boeing 727 – Photo tour of the first 727 cabin — looks almost new – Background: The first Boeing 727 prepares for its last flight Now, here is our interview with Captain Powell about the 727 and his upcoming flight:Captain Powell doing a few circuits & bumps in the Tigermoth on a visit to Duxford – Photo: Tim PowellDavid Parker Brown (DPB): When did you know you wanted to be a pilot?
Tim Powell (TP): As long as I can remember.DPB: What kind of plane did you first want to fly?
TP: Fighters… of course!DPB: What kind of planes have you flown over the years? Which has been your favorite?
TP: J-3 Cub to the Boeing 777. 46 years of flying all the Boeings (except the 747). I still have a soft spot for the 707, as it was my first. – – Controls of the first 727 – – Cockpit of the first 727 – – Flight engineer station

DPB: How did you feel when you found out you would become a 727 pilot?
TP: Very excited — as I had been a 727 second officer (flight engineer) at Western Airlines for eight years (flying sideways). I was very glad to be back in the pilot’s seat.DPB: How does it feel being one of the few pilots still actively flying the 727?
TP: Very, very fortunate — not many are left.The Boeing 727-100 that Captain Powell flies regularly – Photo: Heads Up Photography | FlickrCCDPB: What is your favorite part of the 727?
TP: The hand flying characteristics of the airplane! Nice not to be just managing a Flight Management System (FMS) or autopilot.DPB: How were you chosen to fly on the final flight for the first 727?
TP: I volunteered my time, as I have over 10,000 hours in the 727 and currently fly a 727-100 (1967 vintage, that is now a private jet). Recency of experience is important and there aren’t many of us left. – – Engine work at the Museum of Flight’s Restoration Center – – JT-8D engine next to the Boeing SST mock-up – – The team working on one of the 727 engines

DPB: Were you hesitant at all, flying a plane that has been grounded for so long?
TP: No. Bob Bogash, TC Howard, and crew have done a thorough job of waking her up!DPB: Who will the other flight crew be? Have you flown with them before?
TP: Captain Mike Scott (right seat) who is very experienced and current 727 pilot. The flight engineer will be Ralph Pascale, who has 30 years experience. We fly together on a regular basis on the 727.A short flight, 26 miles direct, from Paine Field to Boeing Field – Image: GCMap.comDPB: Will there be anyone else on the flight?
TP: I have asked to carry a safety pilot (who will be Bob Bogash) in the cockpit jump-seat for an extra pair of eyes — as we will be operating VFR (Visual Flight Rules) since some navigation radios are not current for IFR flight. We will also be at a fairly low altitude (2,500 feet) between Paine Field (KPAE) and Boeing Field (KBFI).DPB: How will the final flight be different than your standard 727 flights?
TP: It will be very short — maybe 15 minutes. The landing gear will not be retracted, the flaps will be fixed at 15° (normally they are at 30°), a slightly higher nose up attitude on landing (due to the flaps), and maybe flying with a photo plane close by. 727 Renton flightline in 1966 – Photo: BoeingDPB: How does it feel knowing you will be the last person ever to captain the first 727?
TP: It is always a little bittersweet. I have done other similar last flights. After parking the plane, we always tell ’em, “you did a good job.”Lew taken with N7001U the day before first flight – Photo: BoeingDPB: What are you going to wear for the flight?
TP: I generally wear my A-2 flight jacket when working. I believe I will wear that with a white shirt and tie to honor Lew Wallick (the pilot who flew the 727 for the first time) as he appeared just before the plane’s first flight.DPB: Will there be a Tex Johnston barrel roll or a wing wag?
TP: Nope — I just want to do a good, safe delivery! Maybe some air-to-air photography as well.DPB: How much longer do you think you will be flying the 727?
TP: As long as they let me!Stay tuned on AirlineReporter to get updates on the final flight and enjoy our continued coverage of the event! As always, please share your thoughts and memories of this amazing aircraft in the comments.
Related AirlineReporter Posts Fun with Photos: What’s Wrong With this Eastern Ai… VIDEO: 1965 Eastern Airlines Commercial Driving Around Paine Field (KPAE) and Seeing Boein… FUN WITH PHOTOS: The Boeing 727 is the World’… Airline Livery of the (Mid)Week: American Airlines… VIDEO: Boeing 727 Lands at Chicago’s Miegs F… Reply to this email to add a comment. Your email address will not be shown.
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