The Boeing 727 is an American narrow body airliner produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The B727 was designed to serve smaller airports with shorter runways. Furthermore, it was the first commercial plane to break the 1,000 sales mark. On December 5, 1960, Boeing announced the three-engine 727, with 40 orders from launch customers United Airlines and Eastern Airlines. Boeing enjoyed great success with the B727. Even though, for most of its 21 years in production, it was the highest-selling jetliner in the world.

Moreover, this trijet airliner is recognized with three engines at the rear fuselage and the typical Boeing nose. It has a typical Boeing nose with two eyebrow windows inherited from the Boeing 707. The 727 was designed to be used from shorter runways of around 4,500 feet. As a matter of fact, this enabled it to be used to fly in and out of smaller city airports and remote regional fields.

Variants of Boeing 727 - B727-100 (Part I)
LAB Boeing 727-100, Picture Credit: peesen

Boeing 727 Variants

The two main series of Boeing 727 are B 727-100 and B 727-200. The 727-200 was 6.1 meters longer than the 727-100, and they enabled the 727 to cover the 120-180 seat markets. The 727-200 was also offered in a variant called the 727-200 advanced. The advanced featured show improvements in lifting capacity through airframe strengthening. It offers more powerful engines and an option for a longer range version with additional fuel carrying capacity.

The first version – B727-100

The first Boeing 727-100 was launched in 1960, and the first Boeing 727-100 (N7001U) was flown on February 9, 1963. The FAA awarded aircraft with approval on December 24 of that year, with the initial delivery to United Airlines on October 29, 1963, to allow pilot training. The first 727-100 passenger service was flown by Eastern Airlines on February 1, 1964. The first passenger flight was served between Miami, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.

A total of 571 Boeing 727-100 series aircraft were delivered, the last in October 1972. Furthermore, one 727-100 was retained by Boeing itself, bringing total production to 572. Indeed the 727-100 designation was assigned to distinguish the original short-body version. In many cases, the “1” of 100 is omitted from the full type designation. The aircraft were delivered for United Airlines as 727-22, for American Airlines as 727-23, and so on. These designations for aircraft were retained even after the arrival of 727-200.

B727-100C

The 727-100C was one of the modified versions of the 727-100. It is the Convertible variant of the 100 series. The version comes with options for a mixed passenger/cargo payload. Hence, through the strengthening of the floor, cargo could be housed in the rear half of the fuselage while passengers were seated in the front half.

It is a convertible passenger cargo version with an additional freight door and strengthened floor and floor beams. In addition, it has three alternative fits; 94 mixed-class passengers, 52 mixed-class passengers and four cargo pallets, and eight cargo pallets.

B727-100QC

The 727-100QC or Quick Change was a concept where airlines could effectively utilize their fleets around the clock. This is similar to the convertible version with a roller-bearing floor for palletized galley and seating and cargo. However, with the aid of rollers on the floor and modularised passenger cabins, the 727-100QC could be converted from a passenger carrier to a freighter in 30 minutes. The aircraft will then be able to used to haul freight during the night hours.

B727-100F

Originally 727-100 passenger aircraft converted to cargo aircraft are known as 727-100F. Most often, the cabin windows of these aircraft are painted over. However, this may also be the case for 727-100C and 727-100QC aircraft used solely for transporting cargo. These retain their original designation. It has an oval-shaped air intake on top of the fuselage, characteristics for the 727-100 series.

C-GBWA-B 727-100/F – FedEx Canada , Picture Credit: Reinhard Zinabold

B727-100QF

The Boeing 727-100QF is a Quiet Freighter. A cargo conversion for United Parcel Service, these were re-engined with Stage 3-compliant Rolls-Royce Tay turbofans. Dee Howard designed a re-engine modification for UPS to extend the life of their 727-100 freighters. The company used the Rolls Royce Tay engines for this. Therefore, these have a larger diameter than the original Pratt & Whitney JT8Ds. Hence, a structural modification was required for the middle engine. It has a larger intake resulting in a bulge on top of the inlet.

Featured Image: Pervez Iqbal

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