January 13, 2019 was a sad milestone for me, as the very last passenger Boeing 727 made its final flight with a scheduled airline. True, there are still a reasonable number of 727s hauling cargo, as well as private and VIP 727s, but in all likelihood, most of us will never again be able to fly the airline industry’s “Glamour Gal”. For me personally, the “Three-holer” was the first airliner I remember as a new airplane after I was bitten by the aviation bug.I just scanned some 500 slides, among which were nearly 100 727s. So…this seems like the perfect time to take a look back at the iconic tri-jet, starting with Part One of the 727-100s. Enjoy!
Air 1 was a “deregulation airline” with a twist…the airline used B727s configured for all-first class seating and service, at coach prices. Here is one of its 727-100s departing EWR in June, 1983
HK-2774X, B727-25 formerly N8115N of Eastern Airlines, being readied for acquisition by ACES Colombia…but the transaction was never completed
A good number of B727-81s found their way into the second-hand market, including HP-619 of Air Panama.
N111FE, B727-22C of FedEx, began life as N7431U with United Airlines
Another ex-United Airlines B727-22, N285AT was originally delivered as N7088U
Without a doubt, Braniff Airways boasted the most colorful fleet in North America and, possibly, the world. N297BN, a B727-191, was originally delivered to Frontier Airlines as N7270F
N7280 was an original Braniff aircraft, a B727-27C
N310BN, a B727-30C, was originally delivered to Lufthansa as D-ABIW
N7278 was another B727-27C which Braniff bought new from Boeing
N355QS was originally a B727-21 belonging to Pan Am as N355PA. She was later sold to Northeastern, where she was reregistered to “QS”. Later, she was converted to a freighter and sold to Ryan International, where she flew on behalf of Emery Worldwide
B727-51 N480US spent her entire career flying for Northwest Orient (later simply Northwest)
N721PC, a B727-21, was another ex-Pan Am machine, originally delivered as N319PA. She later flew for airlines in Colombia as HK-3396
N725EV, a B727-27C, awaits its demise at Marana. She was originally delivered to Braniff as N7273, and was later flown at PT-TYT with Transbrasil.
B727-95 N727ZV had quite a colorful history. She was originally delivered as N1633 to Northeast Airlines. In her lifetime, she also flew with Delta, Dan-Air, Avianca, Arkia, Skybus, World, and Club Air
N832RV was originally a United B727-22C, N7410U
N833TW was an original TWA B727-31, seen here landing at my favorite spot for taking photos at JFK when I was a kid. I used to spend hours sitting on the hill adjacent to the numbers on Runway 13L at JFK.
N927UP was a B727-31C, originally belonging to TWA as N893TW.
UPS later converted its fleet of B727s to “Quiet Freighters” by replacing the JT-8D engines with Rolls-Royce Tay engines. N928UP, a B727-22C(QF), was originally a United Airlines machine, N7403U.
N1979 was originally a B727-23 of American Airlines. After flying passengers for American, Skybus, and World Airways, she was converted to a B727-23(F) freighter for Flying Tigers.
N3606, a B727-51, was originally delivered to Northwest as N473US. At the time she was bought by National, the merger with Pan Am was already imminent, so she flew in this partial National Airlines color scheme, awaiting repainting in Pan Am colors
N4614 was an original National Airlines B727-35, seen here lifting off from what was then Runway 09R at Miami.
Following Pan Am’s acquisition of National Airlines, N4622 was one of dozens of 727s that were repainted in the familiar blue meatball that was second only to the American Flag as a recognizable symbol of the United States.
Please check back for Part 2 of B727-100, coming shortly