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Manufacturer: Boeing Country of Origin: USA

Model:Boeing 727


The versatility 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 these.

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 as well.

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.

Advanced 727-200 Specifications


Wingspan 108 feet (32.91 m)
Length 153 feet 2 inches (46.69 m)
Tail Height 34 feet (10.36 m)
Gross Maximum Taxi Weight Standard: 191,000 pounds (86,600 kg)
Optional: 210,000 pounds (95,300 kg)
Power Three 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
Cruising Speed 570 to 605 mph (890 to 965 km/h)
Cruising Altitude 30,000 to 40,000 feet (9,144 to 12,192 m)
Range 1,500 to 2,500 miles (2,750 to 4,020 km)
Passenger Capacity 148 to 189
Fuel 8,186 U.S. gallons (31,000 L) standard at lower gross weights
9,806 U.S. gallons (37,020 L) standard for 208,000 pounds

727 Program Firsts


  • 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 interior.
  • First airplane to have a triple-slotted flap system for superior takeoff and landing performance.
  • 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.

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