The first Boeing 727 lifting off from Paine Field – Photo: Chuck Lyford and Jim Larsen
As many of you know, on March 2, 2016, the first Boeing 727 made its final flight successfully down to the Museum of Flight at Boeing field. It was much more than just a final flight or really even the plane. The 727 has become an icon of not just aviation history, but personal history as well. Seeing the aircraft, even for non-AvGeeks, is a time warp to the past.
Water cannon salute at Paine Field – Photo: Chuck Lyford and Jim Larsen
I have enjoyed covering the first 727 for quite a few years. Although getting access to see the inside of the aircraft has been amazing, my favorite part have been the personal stories that have been shared. I have been grateful that so many of you have taken the time to share your memories of the aircraft (the first and other 727s) in emails and comments on AirlineReporter. From those of you remembering it as your first flight as a kid to others who spent years behind the yolk. It seems that nothing can bring a group of AvGeeks together better than the iconic tri-holer.
The former American Airlines B727-223, N874AA, at Boeing Field in Seattle, now owned by the National Airline History Museum, Kansas City, Mo.
In early 2015, in preparation for the construction of its giant new Aviation Pavilion, Seattle’s Museum of Flight moved its Boeing 727 (formerly American Airlines N874AA) from the parking lot on the west side of East Marginal Way where it had been displayed along with other large aircraft. Instead of being towed to the museum’s air park with the other planes, it was towed all the way across King County International Airport (also known as Boeing Field) to a parking stall. Rumors swirled that it was headed for a new home, an unnamed museum in the Midwest.
And there it sat, and sat. And sat.
NAHM Executive Director John Roper in the cockpit of the B727 his museum recently acquired from Seattle’s Museum of Flight
On March 3, the mystery was solved when John Roper, the executive director/board member of the National Airline History Museum (NAHM) in Kansas City, Mo., signed the transfer paperwork alongside Museum of Flight CEO Doug King and COO Laurie Haag, officially transferring ownership of the aircraft to the Midwestern museum.
The elderly 727 now has a dedicated Facebook page, and, as of this week, the electrical systems were in the process of being activated and checked in preparation for the aircraft being flown to its new home. Roper said that, as long as the engines are sound, his goal is to get the plane to its new home in Kansas City by May 1.
The first Boeing 727 sits next to a brand new United 787-9 Dreamliner – Photo: Museum of Flight
It has finally arrived! The first Boeing 727 is scheduled to have its final flight today! Of course, this could change (it already did once), but we are super excited.
The 727 final flight basics
WHAT: Final flight of the first Boeing 727.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 2nd. Take off is scheduled to be 10:30am PST and landing shortly after.
WHERE: Lift off from Paine Field (KPAE) and landing at Boeing Field (KBFI).
WHY: Moving the plane from the Museum of Flight Restoration Center to be displayed at the Museum of Flight. And because it will be freak’n epic!
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
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.
Air-to-air photo of the Boeing 727’s first flight – Photo: Boeing
Today is the 53rd anniversary of the Boeing 727’s first flight. What a day. At the time, the 727 was a risk and important to the success of Boeing. Luckily for everyone, not only was the first flight a huge success, but the aircraft would go on to help redefine domestic air travel.
Its three iconic engines also helped to build aviation fans around the world; it is still a favorite among AvGeeks today.
BONUS: An AvGeek in the left seat – flying the Boeing 727
727 Renton flight line in 1966 – Photo: Boeing
To help celebrate the first flight’s anniversary, we reached out to Boeing to see if we could get some photos, and they delivered! We were told that some “haven’t seen the light of day in 50 years.” Rock on!
BONUS: VIDEO – A tribute to the Boeing 727