ADOPT A 727 - THE BOEING 727 PROTOTYPE

United Air Lines 727-22 N7001U  "E1" - N7001U - The First 727

The Museum of Flight in Seattle has a small, but dedicated band of volunteers working on a 727-100 owned by the Museum. This particular airplane, N7001U, was the first 727 built, and after flight testing, spent its entire life in-service with United Airlines, until donated to the Museum. The Crew Chief for this airplane is Bob Bogash,  retired after 30 years with Boeing, the last ten of which were as Director of Quality Assurance in the Materiel Division of  Boeing Commercial Airplane Group.  Bob was instrumental in obtaining this historic aircraft from United originally, and with his new found "free time" has stepped up his level of involvement with the Museum and the care of this airplane.

The Airplane

N7001U (" E1 " in Boeing parlance) was unique among Boeing commercial jets (until the 777) in that no dedicated prototype aircraft was built. The first airplane was not kept as a flight test airplane, but actually was delivered to the kickoff customer, and went into regular service. It became Number One out of 1832 airplanes built at Boeing's Renton plant, in what for a long time was the most successful commercial airplane program ever. No one ever thought the 727 record would ever be broken, but the 737 has now more than doubled it, and is on its way to tripling it!

History

In 1984, as Chairman of the Aircraft Acquisition committee for the Museum, Bob approached then United top managers Ed Carlson and Dick Ferris, asking for the airplane upon retirement. United agreed. The airplane participated in an official Museum ceremony in advance of the actual donation on Jan 23, 1988. On Jan. 13, 1991, the airplane, having been repainted in its original United colors, flew revenue trip 838 SFO - SEA, then ferried to Boeing Field for an acceptance ceremony at the Museum, followed by its last flight, a ferry to Paine Field in Everett where the Museum has a restoration facility. The airplane had its original rollout ceremony with all the appropriate fanfare on November 27, 1962. It made its first flight from Renton on February 9,1963, followed by the first landing of a 727, interestingly enough, also at Paine Field. The airplane was delivered to United on Oct. 6, 1964. During its career it accumulated 64,495 hours, made 48,060 landings, and flew an estimated three million passengers. United paid $4.4 million for the airplane, which in turn generated revenues of more than $300 million during its service life.

January 1991 - Leaving the paint hangar in San Francisco in its original livery.

Restoration, Preservation, ....and Flight!

Regrettably, after donation to the Museum, United cannibalized many of the major parts on the airplane for use as spares for the remaining fleet.  This has meant a significant challenge to restore the airplane to an airworthy condition.

 The United crew that came to Paine Field to remove several hundred parts


UPDATE:  On March 6, 2004, Federal Express donated a 727-100 airplane to the Museum to be used as a source of parts to support our restoration.  After 18 months of removing parts, this airplane is currently being dismantled ( October 2005.) Volunteers are now needed more than ever to utilize our new resource.  This airplane has now been dismantled.  Portions survive.    See the story and complete pictures here.


UPDATE No. 2:  In September 2005, Clay Lacey donated a 727-200 to the Museum.  Parts of this airplane are coming to restore N7001U, as well as going to the new Future of Flight Museum.   This airplane has likewise been dismantled, with portions surviving.  Story and Photos here.

Preservation of this historic airplane has entailed four phases.

Phase I involved prevention of any deterioration of the aircraft. To accomplish this task, heated, dehumidified air is supplied to the cabin during the wet Northwest winter months.  Periodic washing and polishing has also be accomplished. 

Phase Two involves restoring certain missing hardware to allow proper presentation of the airplane. Most notably missing were the aircraft's three JT8D engines and flap drive system.  Flap components are now on hand.  This phase is very active at this time.

Phase Three has involved  restoring certain systems such as hydraulics and air conditioning that can be run as an aid in preserving the airplane. For example, electrical power has been restored and can be applied to the airplane, and equipment cooling and interior/exterior lighting is all functional.

Phase Four  involves preparing the airplane for a one-time ferry flight to the Museum at Boeing Field. While accomplishing Phase Four is uncertain,a Master Schedule had been established setting flight day for Labor Day 1999. This date has long passed due to the unavailability of necessary parts, however flight is still the team's goal. The restoration and maintenance crew participate in all the above activities. After an initial burst of activity, the crew settled down to a regular monthly meeting schedule.  With the acquisition of the 727 donor airplane from Federal Express, we are currently  working Tues - Weds - Thurs  at the Paine Field facility to perform the required restoration tasks on the airplane.   Come on by!  We are looking for people with a real interest and love of the 727.   Enthusiasm is a requirement. Having fun is part of the plan. Anyone can apply - engineers, pilots, mechanics, flight attendants... you name it. The current crew includes not only retired or current United or Boeing employees, but also Boy Scouts, and other aviation people. One of our team members is Lew Wallick, the Boeing test pilot who made the first flight in this airplane!

Beginning in  June 2004, restoration of this airplane moved into full swing.  Many parts, including the leading edge Kreuger flaps, main landing gear strut doors, and trailing edge flaps are in the process of being transferred from the FedEx and Orca Bay airplanes to E1.  People are normally working on the airplane Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and volunteers are invited to swing by. 

Interested in adopting a 727? Bob can be reached here:  Contact

Additional Photos:    N7001U  Today
                                       N7001U in 1962 and 1963
                                       Cockpit photos of N7001U
                                       Our Other 727 - an American 727-200
                                      The FedEx Donor Airplane
                                      The Clay Lacey Donor Airplane                                 


More Info

   Airplanes Number Two and Three
 The Last 727

FedEx 727 Story and Pictures of our FedEx donor airplane

  Story and Pictures of our Orca Bay donor airplane


    Historical Data and Photos from the Design, Construction, and Flight Testing of  the 727 Prototype Airplane - N7001U

Click the magazine cover to go to more photos of our airplane

727 magazine    A Life Magazine like promotional magazine produced by Boeing in June 1963

 

727 Links:

Boeing 727 Information

More 727 Pictures


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Copyright 1997-2007 by Robert Bogash. All rights reserved.

Last revised 16 Oct 2005
                      20 May 2006
                       26 Aug 2007