After B-707, Boeing released a sleek and smart model to serve shorter routes and small airports with shorter runways. To quench this thirst, the company showed up with the next member of the family, i.e., B-727. After entering into the market, this aircraft proved to be the best seller of the era as it crossed the sales mark of 1000.

What made B-727 the milestone of achievement?

Boeing celebrated its success through the introduction of this aircraft in the market. Although, Boeing had not recovered from the financial instability created by the production of B-707. Yet, the company took a bold and risky step to appear with a new model. Furthermore, it faced certain challenges from the customers as well. Since Boeing had featured the option of customization while producing B-707, this time to each of the customers had its own set of specifications for the next jetliner.

Image Credit:- Flight Global

A few of them were desiring four engines, and some wanted two engines while the rest demanded prop planes. Hence, it became difficult for the company to choose the only design capable of satisfying everyone’s needs and wants. Again dedication won the passion of providing updated products to the customers, and resultantly, Boeing showed up the next bird as B-727. At that time, no one knew that this is the plane that would break the records and rule over the skies. 

Features of the Greatest Seller B-727

Boeing had made this plane specifically for shorter runways, yet it could conduct short-haul to cross-country flights. Under a rakish T-shaped tail, this plane possessed the most alluring appearance. It had a trio set of engines mounted at the rear side of the aircraft. This aircraft went through harsh testing due to possessing a range of the latest features. These include:-

  • Completely Powered Flight Controls
  • Triple Slotted Flaps
  • Reliable Auxiliary Power Unit (APU- A small gas-turbine engine that diminished the need for ground power or starter at airports of oldest developing states)

Technical Parameters

First flightFeb. 9, 1963
Model number727-100
ClassificationCommercial transport
Span108 feet
Length133 feet 2 inches
Gross weight170,000 pounds
Top speed632 mph
Cruising speed570 mph
Range3,110 miles
Ceiling36,100 feet
PowerThree 14,000-pound-thrust P&W engines
Accommodation131 passengers
Image Credit:- Charles Ryan’s Flying Adventure

The Dark Days of B-727

Boeing was not the only company striving for fulfilling the increasing air travel demand. Rather there were existing other U.S and European competitors who were putting hard to launch such a model. Resultantly, Douglas appeared with the model of DC-9 while that of British Aircraft Corporation introduced BAC 1-11. That’s the reason, in the initial stages in 1960, Boeing received only 40 orders of B-727 from United Airlines and Eastern Airlines. Sales did not reach even at the breakeven point of 200 aircraft till 1963. To amplify the sales, Boeing sent this model to 26 countries on tour, covering 76,000 miles.

From “Very Risky” to “The Most Seller Commercial Jetliner”

After its tour, the plane got ample popularity among its utilizers to reach the number of 1832 produced at Renton Wash Plant. At the same time, the company had basically planned to manufacture a total of 250 units. This model particularly became popular after the launch of its variant B727-200 due to accommodating more passengers. These variants also had the option of Quick Change, a feature of convertible passenger-cargo aircraft that attaches seats and galleys to removable pallets.

Unfortunate Events for B-727

Almost three years after coming into the market, Boeing lost three of its B-727 in fatal crashes in a span of only three months. The investigators concluded that the pilots involved in those crashes could not understand the functions of triple slotted flaps. They tried to descend the aircraft faster than the prescribed one, resultantly losing the game. Political gurus vigorously favored grounding the aircraft while Boeing and the flight safety board were confident about the well-being of the plane. Anyhow, authorities declare to provide pilots proper descend training to prevent such accidents again. Despite knowing the fact that the aircraft was safe to rely on, B-727 waited for six months to re-earn the passengers’ trust in it. 

People gather for the first view of the new Boeing 727 jet airliner, developed for the short-to-medium haul market, on December 01, 1962 at Seattle, Washington. / AFP / – (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
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