Lloyd Aereo Boliviano
The Boeing 727 was, for a very long time, the most popular jet-liner in the
world. The 727 first took to the skies in 1963, and entered service a year
later, much earlier than its bigger and more famous sister the Boeing 747.
The 727 design arose as a compromise between United Airlines, American Airlines,
and Eastern Airlines over the configuration of the successor to the Boeing 707.
United Airlines wanted a four engined aircraft for its flights to high-altitude
airports, especially its hub at Stapleton International Airport. American wanted
a twin engined aircraft for efficiency reasons. Eastern wanted a third engine
for its overwater flights to the Caribbean. Eventually, the three airlines agreed
on a trijet, and thus the 727 was born.
The 727 has proved very successful with airlines world-wide because of its
capability of landing on smaller runways while flying medium range routes. This
effectively allowed airlines to attract passengers from cities with large
populations but smaller airports to worldwide touristic destinations. One of the
features that gave the 727 its ability to land on shorter runways was its unique
wing design. Through flap extension and leading edge slat deployment the 727
could almost double its wing surface area allowing it to fly with great
stability at very slow speeds.
The 727 was also designed to be used at smaller, regional airports which meant
that independence from what may be non-existent ground facilities was an
important requirement. This gave rise to one of the 727's most distinctive
features, the unique built-in airstair which dropped from the rear underbelly
of the fuselage. Another innovation was the inclusion of an APU
(Auxilliary Power Unit) which allowed electrical and air-conditioning systems to
run independent from a ground based power supply. The 727's three powerful
engines also enabled quick takeoffs from the shorter runways at small airports.
Even as the 747s came about during 1970, international airlines worldwide still
needed the 727. Many of the airlines were from medium to large sized countries
and needed to transport their passengers to the larger communities where they
would catch the bigger airliners for their international flights.
In addition to that, the 727 proved extremely popular because the range of
flights it could cover meant that the 727 would prove efficient for short to
medium range international flights in areas around the world.
The 727 has also proved popular with cargo and charter airlines.
Federal Express began the cargo airline revolution in 1975, utilizing 727s.
Many cargo airlines worldwide now employ the 727 as a workhorse. 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 their
airline division, Carnival Airlines.
The 727 proved so popular that many have described it as the
"DC-3 of the Jet Age" meaning that the 727 is also a reliable and versatile
plane that formed the core of many start-up airlines' fleets.
The 727 is also one of the loudest commercial jetliners, so most models in the
United States must be fitted with Hush Kits to reduce engine noise if they are
to land at most airports.
By the turn of the 21st century the 727 was still a vital part of some major
American airlines' fleets, United, American, Delta, Northwest, Continental,
and Alaska, to name a few, but events would soon change that. The post 9/11 economic
climate was perhaps the US Airline Industry's worst trauma since deregulation.
Most airlines were already switching to twinjets, airplanes with only two
engines. Twinjets tend to be much more efficient than planes with three,
like the 727, or four jets. Moreover, the 727's JT8D jet engines utilize older
low-bypass turbofan technology while more modern airliners utilize the more
efficient and less noisy high-bypass turbofan design instead. Also, the 727
was one of the last airliners in service to have a three person crew, including
a flight engineer, a crewmember whose job is performed by computerized systems
on newer planes.
Faced with higher fuel costs, lower sales, and the extra expense of maintaining
older planes, most major airlines began phasing 727s out of their fleet. Delta,
the last major US carrier to do so, retired its last 727 in 2003. However, the
727 is still flying for smaller start-up airlines, cargo airlines, and charter
airlines, and it is also becoming increasingly popular as a private means of
Major airlines that have flown the jet include Delta Air Lines, Mexicana,
Air France, American, Eastern Airlines, Viasa, Pan Am, Air Canada, Dominicana,
Olympic Airways, Iberia, Avianca, Aerol?as Argentinas, British Airways,
Lufthansa, ANA, Australian Airlines, Copa, Fed Ex and, among Charter Airlines,
Carnival Airlines and Hapag-Lloyd. In addition the USPS uses the type
to fly mail from city to city every day.
The 727's sales record for the most jets bought in history, was broken in the
early 1990s by its sister the Boeing 737.
On June 18, 2003, a 727 formerly used by American was stolen from Luanda's
International Airport in Angola. According to the AOL News, most intelligence
agents believe the missing plane to be in the hands of terrorists or drug
dealers. Others believe that the stolen example was the one that crashed off
the coast of Benin on December 25, of that year.
The Boeing 727, according to Airliner World magazine, was the first jet able
to land at La Paz, Bolivia's international airport. That airport's height,
13,000 feet over sea level, made it impossible for previous jetliners to
In addition, the 727 has seen sporadic government use having flown for the
Belgian, Yugoslavian, and New Zealand air forces.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Boeing 727".