First 727 To Fly One Final Time

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Sometime around March 1, the very first Boeing 727 ever built will take off for one last time, to fly to its permanent home at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, the museum has announced. The airplane, which entered service in 1963, hasn't flown since 1991, when it was donated to the museum by United Airlines. It has been undergoing restoration ever since by crews of volunteers at Paine Field, in Everett, Washington. The final 727 flight will help celebrate the Boeing Company's centennial year. After the flight, the jet will become part of the museum's permanent collection, and there are no plans for it to ever fly again.

The criteria for the final flight is "safety, safety, safety," according to Bob Bogash, a volunteer who maintains a website about the project. "The flight will be made when the restoration is complete, the airplane is deemed safe for the proposed flight, approvals are received from the FAA, the pilot is happy, and — especially — when the weather is good," Bogash wrote. The flight will carry essential crew only — a pilot, first officer, and flight engineer — and no passengers. The 727 then will join the museum's prototype 737 and 747 in a new Aviation Pavilion set to open this summer.