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Boeing 727

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The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine commercial jet airliner. The 727's fuselage has an outer diameter of Template:Convert.[1] This allows six-abreast seating (three per side) and a single central access walkway when coach-class (18 inch width) seats are installed.

The first Boeing 727 flew in 1963 and for over a decade it was the most produced commercial jet airliner in the world. A total of 1,831 727s were delivered. The 727's sales record for the most jet airliners ever sold was broken in the early 1990s by its younger stablemate, the Boeing 737. In August 2008, there were a total of 81 Boeing 727-100 aircraft and 419 727-200 aircraft in airline service.[2]

Design and developmentEdit

The 727 design arose as a compromise between United Airlines, American Airlines, and Eastern Air Lines requirements over the configuration of a jet airliner to service smaller cities which often had shorter runways and correspondingly smaller passenger demand. United Airlines wanted a four-engined aircraft for its flights to high-altitude airports, especially its hub at Stapleton International Airport at Denver, Colorado. American, which was operating the four-engined Boeing 707 and 720, wanted a twin-engined aircraft for efficiency reasons. Eastern wanted a third engine for its overwater flights to the Caribbean, since at that time twin-engined commercial flights were limited by regulations to routes with 60-minute maximum flying time to an airport (see ETOPS/LROPS). Eventually, the three airlines agreed on a trijet, and thus the 727 was born. The third JT8D engine, which is located at the very rear of the fuselage (called engine 2), is supplied with air from an inlet at the front of the vertical fin through an S-shaped duct to the engine's inlet.[3] The 727 featured high-lift devices on its wing, thus being one of the first jets able to operate from relatively short runways. Later models of the 727 were stretched to accommodate more passengers and they ended up replacing earlier jet airliners, such as the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, on domestic routes.

The 727 proved to be a reliable and versatile airliner so that came to form the core of many start-up airlines' fleets, it is sometimes described as the "DC-3 of the Jet Age".Template:Fact The 727 was successful with airlines worldwide partly because of its capability to use smaller runways while still flying medium range routes. This effectively allowed airlines to attract passengers from cities with large populations but smaller airports to worldwide tourist destinations. One of the features that gave the 727 its ability to land on shorter runways was its unique wing design. Due to the absence of wing-mounted engines, leading-edge lift enhancement equipment (Krueger, or hinged, flaps on the inner portion of the leading edge, and extendable leading-edge slats on the remainder of the leading edge), and trailing-edge lift enhancement equipment (triple-slotted[4], aft-moving flaps) could be used on the entire wing. The combination of these high-lift devices produced a maximum wing lift coefficient of 3.6 (based on the flap-retracted wing area). Thus the 727 could fly with great stability at very low speeds compared to other early jets. The 727 also had nosegear brakes fitted in the beginning to further decrease braking distance upon landing. However, these were soon removed from service, as they provided little useful reduction in braking distances, while adding weight and increasing maintenance requirements.

The 727 was designed to be used at smaller, regional airports, so independence from ground facilities was an important requirement. This gave rise to one of the 727's most distinctive features: the built-in airstair that opens from the rear underbelly of the fuselage. D. B. Cooper, the hijacker, parachuted from the back of a 727 as it was flying over the Pacific Northwest. Boeing subsequently modified the design with the Cooper vane so that the airstair could not be lowered in flight. Another innovation was the inclusion of an APU (auxiliary power unit), which allowed electrical and air-conditioning systems to run independent of a ground-based power supply, without having to start one of the main engines. The 727 can also back itself up, thus not requiring the push tractor needed for most other jet airliners to leave an airport gate. The 727 is equipped with a retractable tail skid which is designed to protect the aircraft in the event of an over-rotation on takeoff.

NoiseEdit

The 727 is a stage II aircraft, making it one of the world's loudest commercial jetliners (the US Noise Control Act of 1972, 42USC 4901-4918, mandated the gradual introduction of quieter stages of aircraft, with the first introduction to be called Stage 3 airplanes. Aircraft which did not meet the ground-perceived noise levels specified for Stage 3 would be called Stage 2). The 727's JT8D jet engines use older low-bypass turbofan technology while Stage 3 aircraft utilize the more efficient and quieter high-bypass turbofan design. When the Stage 3 requirement was being proposed, Boeing engineers analyzed the possibility of incorporating quieter engines on the 727. They determined that the JT8D-200 engine could be used on the two side-mounted pylons, but the structural work required to fit the larger-diameter engine (49.2 inch fan diameter in the JT8D-200 vs. 39.9 inches in the JT8D-7) into the fuselage structure at the engine 2 location would be too great to be justifiable. Since the quieter engine could not be used in all three sites, the 727 could not be made into a Stage 3 aircraft.Template:Fact

At the turn of the 21st century, the 727 was still in service with a few airline fleets. However, because in the meantime the U.S. FAA and the ICAO had changed their requirements for overwater operations, most major airlines had already begun to switch to twinjets, aircraft with only two engines, which are more fuel-efficient and quieter than the three-engined 727. Also, the 727 was one of the last airliners in service to have a three-person flight crew, including a flight engineer, a crew member whose job is performed by computerized systems on newer planes.

If a 727 is used in commercial service at present, it must be retrofitted with hush kits to reduce engine noise to Stage 3 level. One such hushkit is offered by Fedex,[5] and this kit has been purchased by over 50 customers.[6] After market winglets have been installed on many 727s as a means of noise reduction as part of so called "Quiet Wing" Kits and for added fuel economy. Kelowna Flightcraft's maintenance division in Canada has installed winglets on Donald Trump's private 727-100. He owns one example of the aircraft.

Operational historyEdit

In addition to domestic flights of medium range, the 727 was popular with international passenger airlines. The range of flights it could cover (and the additional safety added by the third engine) meant that the 727 proved efficient for short to medium range international flights in areas around the world. Prior to its introduction, four-engined jets or propeller-driven airliners were required for transoceanic service.

The 727 also proved popular with cargo airlines and charter airlines. FedEx introduced 727s in 1978. 727s were the backbone of its fleet until recently, but FedEx is now phasing them out in favor of the Boeing 757. Many cargo airlines worldwide now employ the 727 as a workhorse, since as it is being phased out of U.S. domestic service due to noise regulations, it becomes available to overseas users in areas where such noise regulations have not yet been instituted. Charter airlines Sun Country, Champion Air, and Ryan International Airlines were all started with 727 aircraft.

Other companies use the 727 as a way to transport passengers to their resorts or cruise ships. Such was the example of Carnival Cruise Lines, which used both the 727 and 737 to fly both regular flights and flights to transport their passengers to cities that harbored their ships. Carnival used the jets on its airline division, Carnival Air Lines.

Faced with higher fuel costs (although all major United States airlines phased them out immediately prior to the oil price increases since 2003), lower passenger volumes due to the post-9/11 economic climate, increasing restrictions on airport noise, and the extra expenses of maintaining older planes and paying flight engineers' salaries, most major airlines have phased 727s out of their fleets. Delta Air Lines, the last major U.S. carrier to do so, retired its last 727 in March,2003. However, the 727 is still flying for smaller start-up airlines, cargo airlines, and charter airlines, and it is also sometimes used as a private means of transportation. The official replacement for the 727 in Boeing's lineup was the Boeing 757. However, the smallest 757 variant, the 757-200, is significantly larger than the 727-200, so many airlines replaced their 727s with either the 737-800 or EADS' Airbus A320, both of which are closer in size to the 727-200.

VariantsEdit

There are two variants of the 727. The 727-100 was launched in 1960 and placed into service in February 1964. The 727-200 was launched in 1965 and placed into service in December 1967.

727-100Edit

The first production model.

727-100C

Convertible passenger cargo version. Additional freight door and strengthened floor and floor beams. Three alternate fits:

  • 94 mixed-class passengers
  • 52 mixed class passengers and four cargo pallets (22,700lb (10297kg))
  • Eight cargo pallets (38,000lb (17237kg))
727-100QC

QC stands for Quick Change. This is similar to the Convertible version with a roller-bearing floor for palletised galley and seating and/or cargo to allow much faster changeover time (30 minutes).

727-100QF

QF stands for Quiet Freighter. A cargo conversion for United Parcel Service, re-engined with Stage III-compliant Rolls-Royce Tay turbofans.

727-200Edit

Stretched version of the 727-100. The -200 is Template:Convert longer (153 feet, 2 inches) than the -100 (133 feet, 2 inches). A ten foot fuselage section was added in front of the wings and another ten foot fuselage section was added behind them. The wing span and height remain the same on both the -100 and -200 (108 feet and Template:Convert, respectively). The gross weight was increased from 169,000 to 209,500 pounds.

The dorsal intake of the number 2 engine was also redesigned to be round in shape, as opposed to oval as it was on the 100 series.

Advanced 727-200

MTOW and range increased. Also, Cabin improvements

Advanced 727-200F

All freight version of the 727-200.

Super 27

Speed increased by Template:Convert, due to replacement of the two side engines with the JT8D-217, which are also found on many MD-80s, and addition of hush kits to the center engine. These aftermarket modifications were performed by companies independent of Boeing, such as Valsan and Dee Howard.

OperatorsEdit

Major airlines that have flown the jet include Aerocontinente, AeroGal, AeroSur, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aerolíneas Internacionales, Aeroperu, Air Algerie, Air Canada, Air France, Air Jamaica, Air Panama, ANA, Air Vanuatu, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, American, Ansett, ASTAR, ATA Airlines, Avensa, Avianca, Aviacsa, Braniff International, China Airlines, Continental Airlines, Continental Micronesia, Copa, CP Air, Dan-Air Services, Delta Air Lines, Dominicana, Eastern Air Lines, FedEx, First Air, Iberia, Iran Air, Japan Airlines, JAT, Kiwi International Air Lines, Korean Air, Lloyd Aereo Boliviano, Lufthansa, Mexicana, LACSA, LaNica Nicaraguan Airlines, Northeast Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Olympic Airways, Pacific Southwest Airlines, Paramountjet, Pan Am, People Express, Philippine Airlines, Pride Air, Republic Airlines (1979-1986), Royal Air Maroc, Sabena,Sabre, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways,Sterling, TAA,TAP Portugal Transbrasil, Tunisair, United Airlines,UPS, US Airways, Varig, VASP, Viasa, and Western Airlines. Also the 727 has been operated by charter airlines such as Carnival Air Lines, Tame and Hapag-Lloyd.

In August 2008, a total of 500 Boeing 727 aircraft (all variants) were in airline service. Operators with more than nine aircraft are: FedEx (86), Astar Air Cargo (25), Champion Air (16), Kitty Hawk Aircargo (16), Capital Cargo International Airlines (13), Cargojet Airways (12), Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter (13), Libyan Arab Airlines (10), and Transmile Air Services (5).[2]

Zero-Gravity Corporation uses a modified Boeing 727 to give paying customers a brief experience of weightlessness, similar to NASA's Vomit Comet that is used to train astronauts.

The 727 carries the distinction of being one of the two planes used by all six US legacy carriers, the other being the Boeing 757.

Government Agencies and Military OperatorsEdit

In addition, the 727 has seen sporadic government use, having flown for the Belgian, Yugoslavian, Mexican, New Zealand and Panama air forces, among the small group of government agencies that have used it. The United States military used the 727 as a military transport, designated as the C-22. The 727 that carried New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger was known as Spud One. The New Zealand Air Force 727s have since been replaced by 757s.

Template:BEL
Template:MEX
Template:NZL
Template:PAN
  • Panama Air Force
Template:YUG

Accidents and incidentsEdit

As of 2007, a total of 282 incidents involving 727s had occurred, including 106 hull-loss accidents[7] resulting in a total of 3,703 fatalities. The 727 has also been in 178 hijackings involving 256 fatalities.[8]

Notable accidentsEdit

SpecificationsEdit

Measurement 727-100 727-200
Max seating capacity 149 189
Cockpit crew Three
Length 133 ft 2 in (40.6 m) 153 ft 2 in (46.7 m)
Span 108 ft (32.9 m)
Height 34 ft (10.3 m)
Zero fuel weight 100,000 lb (45,360 kg)
Maximum take-off weight 169,000 lb (76,818 kg) 209,500 lb (95,028 kg)
Maximum landing weight 137,500 lb (62,400 kg) 161,000 lb (73,100 kg)
Take-off runway length
(at 148,000 lb)
5,800 ft (1,768 m)
Landing runway length
(at max landing wt)
4,800 ft (1,463 m) 5,080 ft (1,585 m)
Cruising speed .81 Mach
Maximum speed .90 Mach
Range fully loaded 2700 NM (5000 km) 2400 NM (4450 km)
Max. fuel capacity 8,186 US gal (31,000 L) 9,806 US gal (37,020 L)
Engines (3x) P&W JT8D-7, -17R&S

Sources: Boeing 727 Specifications,[10] Boeing 727 Airport report[1]

Orders and deliveriesEdit

File:B727 Orders Deliveries.jpg

Orders
 1983   1982   1981   1980   1979   1978   1977   1976   1975   1974   1973   1972 
1 11 38 68 98 125 133 113 50 88 92 119
 1971   1970   1969   1968   1967   1966   1965   1964   1963   1962   1961   1960 
26 48 64 66 125 149 187 83 20 10 37 80
Deliveries
 1984   1983   1982   1981   1980   1979   1978   1977   1976   1975   1974   1973 
8 11 26 94 131 136 118 67 61 91 91 92
 1972   1971   1970   1969   1968   1967   1966   1965   1964   1963   1962   1961 
41 33 55 114 160 155 135 111 95 6 0 0


External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 727 Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning, Boeing.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "World Airliner Census", Flight International, 19-25 August 2008.
  3. "Boeing 727 series. Aircraft & Powerplant Corner."
  4. Boeing: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/727family/index.html
  5. Fedex Hushkit webpage
  6. Fedex Hushkit Customer List
  7. "Boeing 727 Accident summary", Aviation-Safety.net, 5 May 2007. Retrieved: 13 July 2008.
  8. "Boeing 727 Accident Statistics", Aviation-Safety.net, 3 December 2007. Retrieved: 13 July 2008.
  9. aviation-safety.net report on fatal accident to Dan-Air G-BDAN
  10. Boeing 727 series performance specifications, Boeing.

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