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Boeing 727

Intermediate Range Passenger Airliner

United States | 1964

"The Boeing 727 was, for a time, the most-produced jet-powered commercial aircraft on the globe."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/27/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
After World War 2 (1939-1945) introduced the turbojet engine as a viable aviation propulsion system, the jet age was born and evolved throughout the 1950s. This period then begat a specialized group of three-engined aircraft recognized as "trijets" which gained in popularity during the 1960s. The first such commercial airliner to see service became the famous Boeing 727 model series, beating out the competing British-born Hawker Siddeley "Trident" by mere months during 1964. For the first three decades of jet-powered passenger service, the Boeing 727 proved the best-selling product in the world, making a name for itself on all-important short-to-medium-haul routes as a narrow-body, jet-powered airliner. Production of 707s eventually totaled 1,831 units spanning from from 1963 to 1984 to which some have remained in service even today (March 2014), though mainly now reserved as a cargo mover with numbers continuing to dwindle with each passing year.

Prior to the 727, Boeing engineers accrued a good deal of experience in designing and developing the preceding four-engined 707 and 720 marks. The three-engined 727 now moved the engine nacelles aft of the main wing appendages (as opposed to underslung) and added the third engine at the base of the tail rudder, streamlining the narrow design considerably. This gave the 727 model a most distinct appearance which made it easily recognizable in the Boeing aircraft stable. First flight of the prototype occurred on February 9th, 1963 and the aircraft was soon in service with Eastern Airlines on February 1st, 1964. It's typical operating crew would number three flight crew and up to four cabin attendants.

The 727 brought about several unique features which gave it excellent "hot-and-high" performance as well as short-field qualities, allowing it access to smaller, minor airports all over the world. Its wings incorporated a new leading edge slat design as well featuring triple-slotted trailing edge slats used to provide strong, low speed handling qualities used during take-off and landings. A thrust-reversal feature aided landings on shorter runways while engines were engineered with noise reduction qualities for service at busy civil airports. During its time aloft, the aircraft received favorable reviews from its crews and passengers who appreciated its performance and accessibility. In time, the aircraft also proved a suitable VIP and business jet. The 1,000th aircraft was eventually ordered in September of 1972, marking a product milestone, such was the popularity of the 727 in the airliner market (since surpassed by the upcoming 737 model).

The initial production 727 model became the 727-100 of which some 407 units were delivered by Boeing (though sales initially proved sluggish). The single-class configuration could haul 149 souls while the two-class configuration moved up to 131 persons. The "Convertible" then followed as the 727-100C which added a side cargo loading door to access the main deck, broadening the capabilities of the 727 airframe to serve as a cargo hauler, passenger hauler or a mix of the two. Total production of the 727-100C mark was just 164 units however. 727-100s were powered by 3 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-1 turbofan engines of 14,000lb thrust each.

In December of 1967, the "stretched" 727-200 was brought online and proved the classic and hugely popular 727 product model. It incorporated a 20-foot lengthening of the fuselage which improved internal volume while increasing gross weight. With a full passenger load, the aircraft could now carry up to 189 persons, sales eventually proving the modified 727 a commercial success with many foreign parties now entering the fray. The 727-200F became a dedicated "freighter" which fitted up to eleven cargo pallets in the hold, this offering adopted by cargo powerhouse FedEx in fifteen examples. Production of all 727-200 marks netted an impressive 1,245 vehicles while power to the model was served through 3 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9 turbofan engines of 14,500lbs thrust each.

Boeing continued evolving their growing 727 product and this dedication produced the 727-200 "Advanced" which introduced a wide-body fuselage approach. The design also brought about use of uprated engines and improved hauling capabilities as well as increased operational ranges. The Advanced model was made available from May 1971 onwards and power served through 3 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17R engines of 17,400lbs thrust each.

The 727 saw service all over the world with operators spanning all continents. Some were also taken into military and government service where their versatility was truly tested over decades of faithful service. Its sheer availability led to it being the host aircraft to some 178 total hijackings during its career as well as involvement in 112 whole-hull-loss incidences which, rather unfortunately, produced 3,783 total fatalities.

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January 2019 - The Boeing 727 trijet completed its last commercial flight, this with an Iranian air carrier and a 727-200 production model.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Boeing 727-200 Intermediate Range Passenger Airliner.
3 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7 OR JT8D-17R&S turbojet engines developing 21,700lbf each.
41,998 ft
12,801 m | 8 miles
Service Ceiling
3,337 miles
5,370 km | 2,900 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Boeing 727-200 Intermediate Range Passenger Airliner.
153.2 ft
46.70 m
O/A Length
107.9 ft
(32.90 m)
O/A Width
33.8 ft
(10.30 m)
O/A Height
100,002 lb
(45,360 kg)
Empty Weight
209,501 lb
(95,028 kg)
Notable series variants as part of the Boeing 727 family line.
Model 727 - Base Series Designation
727-100 - Initial production model of 1963.
727-100C - Cargo-passenger conversion model.
727-100QC - Quick-change cargo-passenger conversion model.
727-100QF - "Quiet Freighter" for mail carrier UPS; fitted with Rolls-Royce Tay series turbofan engines to reduce noise over populated areas.
727-200 - Stretched model with 20 feet of added length.
727-200C - One-off cargo-passenger conversion model.
727-200 Advanced - Model of 1970 with more powerful engines and increases to MTOW and internal fuel load which increased range.
727-200F Advanced - Freighter variant with changes seen in 727-200 Advanced.
Super 27 - Side engines replaced with JT8D-217/-219 engines for 50 mph increase to overall speed.
C-22C - One-off 727-212 model for service by the USAF.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Boeing 727. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 1,832 Units

Contractor(s): Boeing Aircraft Company - USA
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Algeria National flag of Angola National flag of Argentina National flag of Australia National flag of Azerbaijan National flag of Belgium National flag of Bolivia National flag of Brazil National flag of Cameroon National flag of Canada National flag of Chile National flag of Colombia National flag of Denmark National flag of the Dominican Republic National flag of Ecuador National flag of Ethiopia National flag of France National flag of modern Germany National flag of Greece National flag of Iceland National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Italy National flag of modern Jamaica National flag of modern Japan National flag of Jordan National flag of Kuwait National flag of Libya National flag of Malaysia National flag of Mexico National flag of Morocco National flag of New Zealand National flag of Niger National flag of Nigeria National flag of Oman National flag of the Philippines National flag of Portugal National flag of Qatar National flag of Russia National flag of Singapore National flag of South Africa National flag of South Korea National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Spain National flag of Sweden National flag of Syria National flag of Taiwan National flag of Tajikistan National flag of Thailand National flag of Turkey National flag of Tunisia National flag of the United Arab Emirates National flag of the United States National flag of Uruguay National flag of Venezuela National flag of Yemen National flag of Yugoslavia

[ Afghanistan; Algeria; Angola; Argentina; Australia; Azerbaijan; Belgium; Benin; Bolivia; Brazil; Brunei; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Denmark; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Ethiopia; France; Germany; West Germany; Greece; Iceland; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Italy; Jamaica; Jordan; Japan; Kenya; Kuwait; Libya; Malaysia; Mali; Morocco; Mexico; Nepal; New Zealand; Niger; Nigeria; Northern Cyrpus; Oman; Palestine; Panama; Philippines; Portugal; Qatar; Russia; Singapore; South Africa; South Korea; Soviet Union; Spain; Sweden; Syria; Taiwan; Tajikistan; Thailand; Togo; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; United States; Uruguay; Vanuatu; Venezuela; Yemen; Yugoslavia ]
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
Aviation Timeline
1 / 1
Image of the Boeing 727
Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense image database.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Boeing 727 Intermediate Range Passenger Airliner appears in the following collections:
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