Boeing 727 Prototype Ready to Fly

For the past 25 years, dozens of enthusiastic volunteers have helped bring the plane back to life.

For the past 25 years, dozens of enthusiastic volunteers have helped bring the plane back to life.
For the past 25 years, dozens of enthusiastic volunteers have helped bring the plane back to life.

PRESS RELEASE – The Museum of Flight’s recently-restored Boeing 727 prototype will make its first flight in 25 years on March 2 – weather permitting – at about 10:30 a.m.; the flight will also be the airplane’s last flight ever. There will be a pre-takeoff ceremony for the event at the Future of Flight at Paine Field, Everett, Wash. and a welcoming ceremony after its arrival at the Museum.

Fifteen years in the making, the bittersweet final flight from Paine Field to Boeing Field will last less than 15 minutes. Upon landing it will taxi directly into the Museum’s parking area, and the engines will be shut down for the last time. Next, the flight will be celebrated next to the plane and inside of the Museum. The 727 will be open to the public for the remainder of the day. The 727 will also be open to the public the weekend following its arrival. Tours of the plane are free with admission to the Museum (tours inside of the plane are subject to weather closures).
The 727’s brief trip from Everett to Seattle will be flown under a special flight permit, with only essential flight crew onboard during the flight: pilot Tim Powell, co-pilot Mike Scott, flight engineer Ralph Pascale, and safety officer Bob Bogash. Powell, Scott and Pascale fly 727s on a regular basis; airline and corporate pilot Powell has over 10,000 hours at the controls of various 727s. Bogash is the Museum’s 727 project manager.

Image: The Museum of Flight Boeing 727 prototype on Feb. 24, 2016. Ted Huetter/The Musuem of Flight, Seattle.

There will be a pre-takeoff ceremony at the Future of Flight at Paine Field, and a welcoming ceremony at the Museum. The 727 will be staged, and on view at Future of Flight on the morning of the flight.
9 a.m.
Doors open to events at the Museum of Flight, and Future of Flight
10 to 10:25 a.m.
Preflight ceremony at Future of Flight
10:25 a.m.
Aircraft started and positioned for takeoff.
10:30 a.m.
Aircraft departure
10:45 a.m.
Aircraft arrival at Boeing Field
The plane will taxi under a water arch created by the Boeing Fire Dept. just before it enters the Museum’s East Parking lot; after final engine shut-down, crew is greeted by former United Airlines flight attendants and Museum staff. In keeping with aviation tradition for final flights, the crew will write their signatures in the aircraft’s wheel well. That done, the crew will continue into the Museum’s Side Gallery for a brief ceremony open to Museum visitors.
The guests at the welcoming ceremony will include dozens, perhaps hundreds of retired Boeing and United Airlines employees, including flight attendants, pilots, engineers and others with direct ties to the Boeing 727 as a test plane and airliner.
11:45 a.m.
Aircraft open for VIP tours.
12:30 p.m.
Aircraft open for public tours (free with admission the Museum).

March 5-6 Weekend Airplane Open to Public

The weekend following the arrival, March 5-6, the plane will be open for public tours, free with admission to the Museum. Interior tours are available only if it does not rain on that day.
The 727 will be on temporary display in the Museum’s Airpark through the summer. It will be moved for permanent display in the Aviation Pavilion in the fall.
This unique jet has not been airborne since it was donated to the Museum by United Air Lines in 1991, and has been under restoration ever since by volunteer crews at the Museum’s Restoration Center and Reserve Collection at Paine Field, Everett, Wash.
Regular updates on the final preparations can be found on the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media outlets:


History of the Boeing 727 Prototype
The Museum’s three-engine, Boeing 727-100, N7001U, first flew on February 9, 1963. Until the 777 in the 1990s, it was the only type of Boeing commercial jet with no dedicated prototype-the first airplane was not kept as a flight test airplane, but was delivered to the “kickoff customer” airline and went into regular service. It was the first of 1832 Boeing 727 Trijets built at Boeing’s Renton plant. The airplane was delivered to United Air Lines on Oct. 6, 1964, and remained with the company for its entire service life. During its 27-year career the Trijet accumulated 64,495 hours, made 48,060 landings, and flew an estimated three million passengers. United paid $4.4 million for the airplane, which in-turn generated revenues of more than $300 million.


The Museum's Boeing 727 prototype at the 727 Rollout ceremony on November 27, 1962.
The Museum’s Boeing 727 prototype at the 727 Rollout ceremony on November 27, 1962.

In 1984, the Museum of Flight’s Chairman of the Aircraft Acquisition Committee, Bob Bogash, approached then-United top managers Ed Carlson and Dick Ferris, and asked for the 727 upon its retirement. United agreed. On Jan 23, 1988 the airplane was present during an official Museum ceremony a few years before it was retired. On Jan. 13, 1991, the airplane-repainted in its original United colors-flew revenue trip 838 SFO – SEA, and was then ferried to Boeing Field for a final acceptance ceremony at the Museum. It made one last flight to the Museum’s Paine Field Restoration Center. Bogash, a Boeing Company veteran of 30 years, became the 727 restoration project manager.
United removed many of the major parts on the airplane, to use as spares for its remaining fleet of 727s. The Museum was left with a significant challenge with its goal to restore the airplane to airworthy condition. After a few idle years the restoration began in earnest, and grew significantly with the donation of two more 727s for parts. On March 6, 2004, Federal Express donated a 727-100 airplane to the Museum, and in September 2005, Clay Lacey donated a 727-200.

For the past 25 years, dozens of enthusiastic volunteers have helped bring the plane back to life. TC Howard, a retired Boeing engineer who was part of the plane’s original team at Boeing, has lead the restoration effort as crew chief for the past 10 years. FedEx has been a long-time partner on the project, and recently donated the engines that will power the plane on its final flight. The expertise and equipment for the huge project has been international and from all walks of life.


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