The Search For A Missing 727


Brother Claims Misconceptions Reported…

Over the last few months AVweb has reported on the strange disappearance of an African-based Boeing 727, reportedly modified to serve as an air tanker. While some subsequent reports speculated the jet had been found sporting a new paint job in Guinea, the actual location of the aircraft has never been determined. Joseph Padilla, the younger brother of the man assigned to arrange flight of the aircraft out of Angola, contacted AVweb to help clear his brothers name and hopefully gather clues to find him alive. Here is what we know: Ben Charles Padilla Jr., was sent by Miami-based Aerospace Sales and Leasing (which did not return calls last week) to repossess a Boeing 727 from Air Angola. Padilla spent two months in Angola overseeing the work needed to return the aircraft to airworthy condition. While he is a licensed pilot, mechanic and flight engineer, Padilla was tasked with hiring a pilot and co-pilot to fly the jet to South Africa only when it was determined to be in flyable condition. On May 25, Padilla was scheduled to perform a run-up of the 727s engines and systems and then return to the ramp. However, the aircraft departed the airport and has not been seen since.