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 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!
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
The first Boeing 727 rolls out – Photo: The Boeing Company
Introduction by David: We have been excitedly following the progress of preparing the first Boeing 727 for its final flight. We took a look at it being painted, got an update with the JT8D engines, and even did a tour of the cabin. I have been very impressed with how many other people are also excited about the aircraft. More people have emailed me directly to share their own personal stories of the 727, which I have loved.
Captain Powell doing a few circuits & bumps in the Tigermoth on a visit to Duxford – Photo: Tim Powell
One person that reached out was Captain Tim Powell. Not only does he currently fly the 727 (you read that right), but he also is set to be one of the pilots who will fly the final flight of the 727. I welcomed him to share some of his thoughts about his experience and being an AvGeek in the left seat…
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.