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The World’s Last Passenger 727 Just Flew for the Last Time

On Sunday, an airplane that used to be the most popular in the world flew its last scheduled flight with passengers. A Boeing 727 operated its final passenger flight, between two Iranian cities. ( More...

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Jimmy Robinson 11
I didn't realize that the number of 727s flying had gotten so low if virtually not at all. While today's aircraft are a lot more efficient in fuel consumption, design, and avionics, it's a shame that the "fuel-inefficient" engines of the 727 couldn't have been replaced and maybe their avionics brought up to a more efficient design so that they could still be flying. It is an iconic airplane and it won't be the same knowing that it will never be seen at US airports again. I'm kind of going to miss it.

I wonder if the Iran airline knew the importance of that particular flight. I hope the aircraft flying that last flight has a good future instead of just being left to rust somewhere or chopped up for scrap.
SmokedChops 13
I believe they looked into a re-engineing program about the same time they were pitching an upgrade for the 707 / DC-8 fleets in the late 1970's. The fly in the ointment came from the third engine buried in the tail, that made modification a nightmare. Cammacorp had an easier time on the DC-8 changing them to CFM56, it still involved new nacelles on down. Newer airframe designs were on the way and Jet-A was 13 cents a gallon. Efficiency meant run it out and then park it. Bummer, my first airport memories involved my dad taking us out to CID to watch Ozark and United 727 roaring off to parts unknown (made an impression on 4 year old me in 1972)
Pretty lucky to have seen it under Ozark livery. They only owned 2 727s.
Ren Babcock 5
FedEx re-engined the 727 and made it available to anyone that wanted it. They used their 727's for freight for quite some time, finally replacing them with the Airbus.
Hush kits for the noise. Fedex sold them to anyone for more than what the plane was worth. I believe the last Fedex 72 flight was around April of 2013. Then the 757 picked up most of those routes.
mattbna 1
That's correct. FedEx did not re-engine their 727's (it was hush kits), nor did anything Airbus replace them in the fleet (that's where the 757's came in).
Cansojr 2
It is simply a joy to fly the Boeing 727. It was maneuverable as it was a very stable instrument platform. It truely was one of the classic aircraft of all time. Also known as the "Whisperjet". There are very few of this vintage is flying the classic aircraft. This logo was penned by the Eastern Airlines under the leadership of Frank Borman
Adrian C 8
In the mid 70s I got to stay in Frankfurt with my pen friend for 2 weeks, the return trip to LHR was on a Lufthansa 727, I was 11 years old and the man sat next to me asked if I liked the plane, guess he could see from my face how excited I was. He was a regular passenger on the flight and I could not believe how lucky he was to get paid to do this, as the stewardess walked by he asked if I would be able to visit the flight deck, she replied she would ask and I sat for a while but not holding out much hope.
She returned after what seemed an eternity and said “come along” in a thick German accent. My heart was pounding and I went into what felt like a dream, three crew up front and I got put in the jump seat behind the captain.
I sat and marveled at everything going on around me, then the captain said something the the flight engineer in German, however I couldn’t make out what he said and figured it was “get this kid out of here” as we was descending. He reached over and pointed to my self belt, told me to fasten it, by now I’m almost shaking with excitement, and not daring to move I buckled up and the rest was history, forty plus years later I can close my eyes and be there.
I’m sure I said thank you a hundred times to those Lufthansa pilots and here it is one more time. Danke.
What a story! I felt your excitement! Great and Lucky experience, and how could anyone not love Lufthansa, ! Thank you for sharing that!!!!
Eric Schmaltz 1
Cool story! Lucky you!
Greg Cross 1
Great story! Glad the flight crew was willing and able to let you ride up front. Great memories!
iknarf 1
What a nice memory you have! Keep cheering it!

I remember myself also having a chance to visit and sit in the cockpit behind the captain for quite a while until the landing in Paris started. I am not sure whether it was the 727 or 737. It was in the early 1970ies. But it started me to look into flying and visiting all available airports in Germany for a number of years, even was able to stay in the tower of Stuttgart several times. Very exciting still in my mind until today!
Progress marches on ..... the 707 and 727 are no more, but the venerable DC3 remains in commercial service in many parts of the world....
Brian Parr 3
Sorry, meant to type Buffalo Air
Alan Dahl 1
Buffalo air has retired the DC-3 to freight use only after they were grounded back in 2013. They are still in use for that purpose as far as I know however.
Colin Fisher 1
Oh yes, they're in use. Check out Mikey McBryan's youtube channel. He's been kicking out a lot of videos recently.
Cansojr 2
The retired 727's are being converted into feighters by Israel Aircraft Industries. In fact there is a huge demand for freight. Their value is dependent on the number of cycles. There is also a growing demand for 747's and 757's. Some of the older horses still have some miles to fly. Take a look at Cargojet Canada.
Brian Parr 1
Buffal Air!!
stratofan 5
Even with a re-engine option,(which UPS did by the way). The sad reality of having to meet Stage III noise rules was one factor. Also, when you consider that consumption of fuel on the order of several hundred gallons per hour as opposed to the newer generation engines, it was simple economics. I am sure there will be a few that will soldier on in the cargo world for a few years to come. As Ed Norton said, "Time and tide wait for no man!"
Ric Wernicke 5
I always enjoyed my flights on 727's out of Burbank in the early 70's. PSA with hourly service in California. However, on the ground under the flight path they were louder than a red necktie in an Amish church!
Larry Marting 3
Made me laugh! I used to fly PSA frequently when I was in the Navy...San Diego to LAX, at $6 a pop. 1969. Free Cokes, and I think beer was a dollar. But I rarely had a beer since it was so expensive.
James Simms 2
A Kallita Air 727 left TCL the other day heading NE before doing a 180 & going right over my house pointed towards Mexico. Noticed the noise & looked on FlightAware to find out what it was.
Terry Briggs 1
Noisy but nice. Still an occasional flight over my place in & out of KCVG. Louder than the 74s on the same path. Never had a bad flight on one of them.
Ricky Scott 4
727 always was and always will be my favorite Boeing plane. Still miss flying it. Flew it many times on leave from the Navy to Spokane Washington as the 727 seemed to be the plane in and out with United. Usually swapped to a DC8 out of Denver, and never liked that one.
jmillsjr 4
I grew up in the era of the 707 and 727 and loved them both. I had an instructor who was a C5 commander and he jokingly described the flap sequence as "wing disassembly", because the wing would appear to separate into sections. I always enjoyed watching "wing disassembly" on landing as a passenger, seeing the actuators and the wing work. It became my favorite part of flying the 727.
the 727 was once considered the "workhorse of aviation"..i remember it well as American had quite a few..time marches on however,and aircraft technology and fuel efficiency has changed..
sparkie624 3
An end of an error.... Fantastic planes... The Fastest Airliner ever built... Really hate to see it go!
I think you mean era! (based on the due praise)
I remember working as a ramp rat for Eastern and thinking that standing on the apron near a throttled up 727 was like standing next to a blast furnace in a steel mill. Ear protection wasn't strictly enforced back then. Sorry, what did you say?
elroar 2
I worked on the 727 on a maintenance level for Pan Am and Delta Airlines. the 727 was one of those planes that when it was good it was very very good but when it was bad it was broke LOL. Delta did have a fuel efficiency program in place. they added winglets 2 to 727 and it did increase the fuel efficiency upwards of 10% but alas they were retired
sparkie624 1
WOW... Never new they added winglets to them.. The already best looking plane to fly looks a lot better with those winglets on them...
Rob Palmer 2
To my memory, 727 had a flaw in handling upon landing which caused a few stall undershots. One case at Salt Lake City, caused the loss of the sales manager at a small company in New England where I was employed in the late 60's. Everyone turned out for his funeral; he had just married the boss's daughter and moved into a new house in Wellesley. FAA finally responded by mandating 40 degree over 30 for flap setting on landing. Approaching Washington National one time I was seated toward the rear and noted a swaying side to side instability before we touched down and I wondered if this was the edge of the problem. Otherwise, seemed to be a very good plane.
I have a vague memory that, early in 727's service, there were landing issues caused by an excessive nose-up attitude, which would cause the wings to block air to the 727's high-mounted horizontal stabilizers and stall them. The swaying you mentioned might have been caused by minor interference with the horizontal stabilizers. I think the fix included a faster landing speed and less nose-up. Any 727 pilots out there remember this?
Flew the 72 for 20 years and wasn’t aware of any problems like this. Usually landed flaps 30, 40 was blocked and not used. Might go flaps 15 or 20 in a big cross wind. The swaying could have been from rudder input crabbing the plane.
Ed Crist 2
Back in the early 80's I flew on ARCO Alaska's 727 every week, from ANC to Prudhoe Bay one week, and back the next week. Landed and took off from ARCO's gravel strip next to base camp. It could get a little exciting in the winter with white out conditions, but ARCO had some amazing cockpit crew and very few flights were cancelled. Occasionally they were diverted to the paved strip at Deadhorse. On nice days, the pilots would weave in and out of the clouds; those were fun times. Those 727's were just very dependable.
chugheset 2
First class on the 727 was the best. Because you were so far away from the engines it was amazingly quiet.
Russ Brown 1
I used to sit in the last row across from the galley. Pretty noisy, particularly when there was a compressor stall, but close to the lav and the drink cart.
John OConnor 2
Great aircraft, and you can parachute out the back stairs at low level!
Bill Harris 4
DB, is that you?
Eric Schmaltz 1
ken young 1
Ha ha......
Bob Jones 1
I was stationed in Seattle in June 1963. We lived in a small trailer park where now the Boeing Museum is located. I would walk my 2 year old son down the short dead end street to the South end of Boeing Field where we would watch the first 727 in Yellow Chromate Primer practice very short takeoffs and landings. It was awesome to see how little runway it was using to do this.
edd tyminski 1
Trump had a corporate 727 parked at LaGuardia (NYC) about 9-10 years ago. Will post my photo of it as I come across it.
ken young 1
My first time traveling by air was on an AA Flight from KEWR to KBUF.1966..Model was a 727.
Kevin Haiduk 1
I remember flying on UAL's 727s. I also remember the USPS had a bunch of them.
Dennis Harper 1
As an 11 year old, my first memory of the first Eastern 727 flights out of KLGA was to look up for a rocket. I grew up to the steady drone of Connies.
I had no idea a few years later I’d find myself on rwy 31 making a film of my nrw fav, the 727. Search YT for LaGuardia 1968.
panam1971 1
Trijets are beautiful aircraft.
Larry Bible 1
As a young GI, the first 727 I remember seeing was at Rhein Main with Lufthansa on the fuselage. I remember thinking,” Wow! these German airliners look funny with three engines.

I have had a little more exposure to aviation since then.
Ah the famous "tri-motor" as we controllers referred to them. Seems like I cleared a million of them to climb out of and for approach into ORD.
zuluzuluzulu 1
Great, great, great, great,great, great, great, great, great aircraft to ride in (unless youre riding middle seat) and to work on!
bbabis 1
I know one re-engine proposal was to turn it into a twin jet by faring in the center intake but it was just not economically feasible. Hitting about the time the flight engineer station was being removed was another strike against it.
James Simms 1
Two cargo 727’s & a DC-9 arrived @ TCL this evening from Laredo, TX. They either return to Mexico, Laredo, or Willow Run.
Jeff Phipps 1
One of the first jets my dad taught me how to recognize. Obviously the engine lay out was easy for a 10 year old to distinguish.
Russ Brown 1
First 727 flight was from the Boeing Renton plant. Landed at King County Municipal (Boeing Field) because the Renton runway was too short. Watched it live on black and white TV - lived in West Seattle. Also was out on Lake Washington when Tex Johnson rolled the first 707 in a low fly by.

727 were flown by Continental on the "island hopper" out of Hawaii ending up in Guam. It could use coral runways.
David Mursch 1
Watched the727's maiden flight in Seattle. Flew the Continental 727's between New Orleans and Wichita a couple of times. Thought that was the most beautiful livery for that aircraft. Also flew the 727 shuttle in Korea/Japan many times. Never a bad flight. 727 out of Yakota flew the Stars and Stripes newspaper to Korea every morning, and included my family and I one morning.
Bill Cayley 1
Sad to see 727 depart... Early travel memories for me were of flights on Braniff (now long departed!) to visit relatives in Texas... always on 727s. A few years back I got this photo in Rwanda - perhaps this 727 is still soldiering on...?
Sorry, RwandAir no longer operates 727s, just the standard mix of Airbus/Boeing/Bombardier.
bill weber 1
Very stable and easy to fly. I can remember having to land in BDA in a direct 56 KT x-wind. No problem.
Tony Smith 1
Max demonstrated crosswind on a 727 ~30 knots. Landing in almost 2x takes some nerves...
Yes,30kts was max crosswind COMPONENT. I have seen higher x-wind landings only in the simulator, On a dry runway. Unless there was an emergency declared, I can’t imagine who would attempt it. I seriously doubt you would have enough aileron authority. At the very least, you would drag a wingtip.
Cansojr 0
I am going to report this because someone is tampering with our quawks. He is here doing his mmischief but I have e-mailed Flight Aware will be able to determine pepetrator and band for ever. Thank You.
C.W. Reed 1
Love the Braniff livery of solid color with fadeaway stripes! Miss very much the takeoff performance!! Will never forget the sensation of being pressed back in your seat, even on a 100 deg. day!!


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