727 Program Breakthroughs

  • First certificated commercial trijet (December 1963).
  • First "Quick Change" airplane, operated with passenger configuration during day and converted to all-cargo at night.
  • First to bring the speed and comfort of jet travel to hundreds of communities with short runways -- as short as 5,000 feet.
  • First commercial airplane in history to surpass the 1,000-sales mark for civil use.
  • First standard airliner to be fitted with Boeing "widebody look" passenger cabin interior.
  • First airplane to have a triple-slotted flap system for superior takeoff and landing performance.
  • First Boeing jetliner with completely powered flight controls. All flight controls are hydraulically powered, with dual units, except for the horizontal stabilizer, which is trimmed electrically.
  • First trijet to fly the North Atlantic with passengers, carrying charter loads between Canadian and European cities.
  • First commercial airplane to win a medal of honor from a king for surviving a fighter strafing attack (Morocco, 1972).
  • Pratt & Whitney designed the JT8D turbofan engine specifically for the 727, the first time in commercial aviation that a jet engine was "tailor-made" for an airplane.
  • First airplane to use the "jet mixing" principle for quieter operation. Because the engine had the lowest jet exit velocity of any engine when it was introduced, it also had the lowest noise level from the tailpipe.
  • First airplane to be certificated to FAA noise rules (FAR 36), even though Boeing was not required to do so because the airplane was in service years before the rule was written.
  • First large commercial airplane to carry its own built-in airstairs and auxiliary power unit and to feature single-point refueling for total independence of ground support equipment at through stops.
  • First airplane to be subjected to The Boeing Company's brutal fatigue testing and static airframe testing prior to flight. The $30 million test program was designed to ensure that no redesign of production airplanes would be necessary. During fatigue testing, the airframe demonstrated a useful life of more than 20 years of normal service.
  • First jet airliner certified by the FAA for operation from gravel runways.
  • First jet airplane considered quiet enough to use LaGuardia Airport in New York City. Two U.S. trunk operators began service June 1, 1964, from LaGuardia, both using 727s.
  • First jetliner to prove it could operate -- even with one engine out -- from Bogata, Colombia (8,355-foot elevation), Cuzco, Peru (10,800-foot elevation), and LaPaz, Bolivia (13,358-foot elevation). No jet had operated at any of these airports before.
  • First in range of all the "smaller" airliners. In 1973, an Advanced 727-200 flew nonstop from Toronto, Canada, to Copenhagen, Denmark -- a distance of 3,975 statute miles.