EVERETT, Wash. - The world's first Boeing 727 made its final flight Wednesday, taking off from Paine Field and touching down at Boeing Field, where it will be on display at the Museum of Flight.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” former United flight attendant Lana Thompson said. “It really did. It was like oh my gosh, it really is the end of an era.”
Boeing delivered the 727 prototype to United Airlines back in 1964.
The airliner's career spanned 27 years.
After United retired the plane in 1991, it was donated to the Museum of Flight where it has been undergoing renovations for a quarter century.
It took a lot of donated parts and volunteer hours to get it up in the air again.
The FAA granted a one-time special flight permit for the trip and crew of four.
“All the memories,” former flight attendant Peggy Verger said. “I started in this airplane, started in this uniform.”
Some former United crew members, like Verger, even dressed up for the occasion.
Others, like Julie Airis, brought their old photos as a throwback.
“It was in the day we served escargot, Havana cigars and three or four-course meals,” Airis explained.
Visitors can check out the 727 at the Museum of Flight's airpark through the summer.
Then it will go inside the new covered aviation pavilion.
The plane is open to the public for the remainder of the day, and this weekend, with admission to the museum.
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History of the Boeing 727 Prototype (courtesy of the Museum of Flight)
- The Museum's three-engine, Boeing 727-100, N7001U, first flew on February 9, 1963. Until the 777 in the 1990s, it was the only type of Boeing commercial jet with no dedicated prototype -- the first airplane was not kept as a flight test airplane, but was delivered to the "kickoff customer" airline and went into regular service.
- The airplane was delivered to United Air Lines on Oct. 6, 1964, and remained with the company for its entire 27-year service life.
- In 1984, the Museum of Flight's Chairman of the Aircraft Acquisition Committee, Bob Bogash, approached United top managers and asked for the 727 upon its retirement. United agreed.
- On Jan. 13, 1991, the airplane -- repainted in its original United colors -- went to Boeing Field for a final acceptance ceremony at the Museum. It made one last flight to the museum's Paine Field Restoration Center. Bogash, a Boeing Company veteran of 30 years, became the 727 restoration project manager.
- United removed many of the major parts on the airplane, to use as spares for its remaining fleet of 727s. The museum was left with a significant challenge with its goal to restore the airplane to airworthy condition.
- After a few idle years, the restoration began in earnest, and grew significantly with the donation of two more 727s for parts. On March 6, 2004, Federal Express donated a 727-100 airplane to the Museum, and in September 2005, Clay Lacey donated a 727-200.
#Beautiful memories shared this morning, when The Museum of Flight's recently-restored Boeing 727 prototype took its final flight.[More >> kiro.tv/727Restored]Posted by KIRO 7 News on Wednesday, March 2, 2016
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