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.
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.