The first Boeing 727 sitting at Paine Field
Back in August, we connected with some of the fine folks that have been working to prepare the first Boeing 727 for its last flight. At the time, they were painting the plane and it looked damn good. Although a new coat of paint will make the plane look slick, it doesn’t exactly get it airborne. What does? Engines, of course.
Classic first class seats in the first Boeing 727
I heard that they took possession of a few Pratt & Whittney JT8D engines and I wanted to get an update on how things were going and also take a tour of the interior.
When the aircraft was donated to the Museum of Flight, it was almost fully restored to how it looked (inside and out), when it first flew for United Airlines. So, I headed to the Museum of Flight Restoration Center at Paine Field and see how things were progressing.
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.
Boo ya! Got my first Paine Field Passport stamp at the Future of Flight. Now on to the others.
Visiting all the aviation attractions at Paine Field (KPAE) just got a bit cooler. Not only can you visit the Future of Flight, Museum of Flight Restoration Center, Flying Heritage Collection and the Historic Flight Foundation at Paine, but now, all of them have come together to offer the Paine Field Passport.
The Paine Field Passport only costs $10 and lasts a year. Financially it will save you 20% on admissions to any of the destinations from September to May and 20% off any of the attraction’s cafes or gift shops year round. Saving a bit of money is quite nice, but I think the actual passport itself is well worth the $10 all on its own.
Last Friday, I was able to take a visit to the Future of Flight and preview the Paine Field Passports first hand. You can either choose brown, blue or red and they have interesting history and photos of the airport (I chose the classic brown). You are also able to collect four different passport stamps from each of the vendors participating. I am proud to say I now have my Future of Flight stamp and now need to work on the rest (photo of me and my passport taken by Sandy Ward at the Future of Flight).