||Country of Origin: USA
and reliability of the Boeing 727 - first trijet introduced into commercial
service - made it the best-selling airliner in the world during the
first 30 years of jet transport service.
The jet age essentially began in 1952 with the introduction of the
British-designed de Havilland Comet. Several jetliners, including
the Boeing 707, were developed before the 727, but none came close
to its sales record.
Production of the 727 extended from the early 1960s to August 1984
- a remarkable length of time, considering the original market forecast
was for 250 airplanes. As it turned out, 1,831 were delivered. Twenty
years later, when the last 727 was delivered, this versatile fleet
was carrying 13 million passengers each month. As of December 1998,
nearly 1,500 of the reliable aircraft were still in service.
On Jan. 13, 1991, the first 727 built - which had been in continual
service with United Airlines since 1964 - finally made its last commercial
flight and was donated to the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
Introduced into service in February 1964, the 727 trijet became an
immediate hit with flight crews and passengers alike. With a fuselage
width the same as the 707 (and the later 737 and 757), it provided
jet luxury on shorter routes. With sophisticated, triple-slotted trailing
edge flaps and new leading-edge slats, the 727 had unprecedented low-speed
landing and takeoff performance for a commercial jet and could be
accommodated by smaller airports than the 707 required.
The 727, like all Boeing jetliners, was continually modified to fit
the changing market. It began with the -100 series, of which 407 were
sold. This was followed by the -100C convertible that featured a main-deck
side cargo door, allowing it to carry either cargo pallets or passengers
- or a combination of both - on the main deck. Boeing built 164 of
The 727-200, introduced in December 1967, had increased gross weight
and a 20-foot longer fuselage that could accommodate as many as 189
passengers in an all-tourist configuration. In all its variations,
1,245 of the -200s were sold. The last version, the 727-200F, had
a 58,000-pound, 11-pallet cargo capability. Fifteen of these were
sold to Federal Express.
Structural improvements, a more powerful engine and greater fuel capacity
led to the Advanced 727-200 in May 1971. This advanced series had
improved payload/range capability, better runway performance and a
completely restyled "wide-body look" as standard equipment.
Lufthansa German Airlines and Air Algerie put 727s with the new interior
into service in April 1971. Passenger response was enthusiastic, and
by November 1972, this spacious interior was standard equipment on
all production 707, 727 and 737 aircraft, and was offered for retrofit
Later performance improvements for the 727 included another gross
weight boost, from a maximum 170,000 pounds (77,122 kg) to 191,000
pounds (86,600 kg) for the Advanced version. On February 3, 1972,
another increase to 208,000 pounds (94,348 kg) was announced, together
with the purchase of three of the "heavyweights" by Sterling
Airways of Denmark. The 727's highest gross weight was eventually
raised to 210,000 pounds (95,300 kg).
The 727 became the best-selling airliner in history when orders passed
the 1,000 mark in September 1972. By January 1983, orders reached
1,831. One Boeing-owned test airplane brought the grand total to 1,832.
Today, only the Boeing 737 has surpassed that total.
On Dec. 5, 1977, the worldwide 727 fleet carried its one billionth
(1,000,000,000) passenger - a mark never attained before by a commercial
aircraft. By September 1995, the number had reached 4.2 billion.
One hundred and one customers purchased new 727s from Boeing, although
dozens more have placed the airplane type into service as "second
tier" operators. More than 200 727s built as passenger airplanes
have been converted to freighters, a process that continues today.
feet (32.91 m)
feet 2 inches (46.69 m)
feet (10.36 m)
Maximum Taxi Weight
191,000 pounds (86,600 kg)
Optional: 210,000 pounds (95,300 kg)
Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofans:
-15 rated at 15,500 pounds thrust
-17 rated at 16,000 pounds thrust
-17R rated at 17,400 pounds thrust
to 605 mph (890 to 965 km/h)
to 40,000 feet (9,144 to 12,192 m)
to 2,500 miles (2,750 to 4,020 km)
U.S. gallons (31,000 L) standard at lower gross weights
9,806 U.S. gallons (37,020 L) standard for 208,000 pounds
- First certificated
commercial trijet (December 1963).
- First "Quick
Change" airplane, operated with passenger configuration during day
and converted to all-cargo at night.
- First to bring
the speed and comfort of jet travel to hundreds of communities with
short runways -- as short as 5,000 feet.
- First commercial
airplane in history to surpass the 1,000-sales mark for civil use.
- First standard
airliner to be fitted with Boeing "wide-body look" passenger cabin
- First airplane
to have a triple-slotted flap system for superior takeoff and landing
- First Boeing
jetliner with completely powered flight controls. All flight controls
are hydraulically powered, with dual units, except for the horizontal
stabilizer, which is trimmed electrically.
- First trijet
to fly the North Atlantic with passengers, carrying charter loads
between Canadian and European cities.
- First commercial
airplane to win a medal of honor from a king for surviving a fighter
strafing attack (Morocco, 1972).
- Pratt & Whitney
designed the JT8D turbofan engine specifically for the 727, the
first time in commercial aviation that a jet engine was "tailor-made"
for an airplane.
- First airplane
to use the "jet mixing" principle for quieter operation. Because
the engine had the lowest jet exit velocity of any engine when it
was introduced, it also had the lowest noise level from the tailpipe.
- First airplane
to be certificated to FAA noise rules (FAR 36), even though Boeing
was not required to do so because the airplane was in service years
before the rule was written.
- First large commercial
airplane to carry its own built-in airstairs and auxiliary power
unit and to feature single-point refueling for total independence
of ground support equipment at through stops.
- First airplane
to be subjected to The Boeing Company's brutal fatigue testing and
static airframe testing prior to flight. The $30 million test program
was designed to ensure that no redesign of production airplanes
would be necessary. During fatigue testing, the airframe demonstrated
a useful life of more than 20 years of normal service.
- First jet airliner
certified by the FAA for operation from gravel runways.
- First jet airplane
considered quiet enough to use LaGuardia Airport in New York City.
Two U.S. trunk operators began service June 1, 1964, from LaGuardia,
both using 727s.
- First jetliner
to prove it could operate -- even with one engine out -- from Bogata,
Colombia (8,355-foot elevation), Cuzco, Peru (10,800-foot elevation),
and LaPaz, Bolivia (13,358-foot elevation). No jet had operated
at any of these airports before.
- First in range
of all the "smaller" airliners. In 1973, an Advanced 727-200 flew
nonstop from Toronto, Canada, to Copenhagen, Denmark -- a distance
of 3,975 statute miles.