52 Years Ago Today: Boeing 727 Takes Flight (1963)

by Joe Anselmo
Feb 09, 2015

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the first flight of the Boeing 727. Powered by three Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofan engines, the passenger jet took off from the municipal airport in Renton, Wash., and landed 2 hr., 1 min. later at Paine Field north of Seattle. Aviation Week & Space Technology, which had written extensively on the 727’s rollout three months earlier, gave only cursory coverage to the test flight: a single page of three photos in our Feb. 18, 1963 edition.
 
In a recent blog, Senior Propulsion Editor Guy Norris noted that the 727 was the first commercial Boeing program to use a dedicated aircraft for flight testing. The jetliner was also the first to be fitted with an auxiliary power unit (APU). In a brief article in the March 4, 1963 issue of Aviation Week, we reported that United Air Lines, Eastern Air Lines and Trans World Airlines -- which had collectively signed up for 90 727s – placed orders with Garrett Corp.’s AiResearch Div. for APU systems. “Installation consists of a gas turbine engine driving a 40 kva. alternator which supplies compressed air for main engine starting and cabin air conditioning on the ground,” the article said. “The auxiliary power makes the 727 independent of the need for mobile power units.”
 
The 727 was certified later that year and entered service with Eastern in Febraury, 1964. Its production ran to 1984.

Read the February 18, 1963 story: Boeing 727 Transport Makes First Flight

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Discuss this Blog Entry 10

on Feb 9, 2015

I well remember this well designed Boeing that knocked our Hawker Sidley Trident for six in Sales, mainly because it was not an Aircraft made for one fickle customer that kept messing the manufacturer about. B.E.A. !
We in the U.K. have learned a lot since those days and Market research makes good sense if you wish to build an Aircraft that you intend to sell to the World,s Airlines.
Happy Flying.

on Feb 10, 2015

As a pilot who flew this beast for approximately 7,000 hours, it was not Boeing's finest effort. Marketing trumped design.

on Feb 10, 2015

Hunter S Thomson once described his ride in a B727 jumpseat as like riding on "God's own motorcycle!"

on Feb 10, 2015

Like flying an old 1960's Cadillac, stable and fun to fly. I had 7500 hours when I went on to the 757 and 747-400.

on Feb 11, 2015

52 years, but still looks as modern as a 737NG. It is only after you step inside that steam gauge saturated cockpit that you notice it's real age.

on Feb 12, 2015

True! Was a great aircraft during its time

on Feb 14, 2015

Beautyfull airplane.
! Salud Moneymaker !

on Feb 16, 2015

I remember the first time I saw it overhead as a kid and thought wow, I've got to get a model of that beautiful jet plane. I loved its design visually and in a couple of years was a paying passenger. I was told by a young pilot friend you had to land it "hot" (or fast) or possibly stall. I still loved flying in it.

on Feb 16, 2015

I remember the first time I saw it overhead as a kid and thought wow, I've got to get a model of that beautiful jet plane. I loved its design visually and in a couple of years was a paying passenger. I was told by a young pilot friend you had to land it "hot" (or fast) or possibly stall. I still loved flying in it.

on Aug 5, 2016

The BAC 1-11 which went on-line at about the same time as the 727 also had an APU, much to the dismay of the 40 or so folks who went down on the Mohawk flight due to some APU issues.

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