Home Classic Airliners Complete Guide to the Boeing 727 Today

Complete Guide to the Boeing 727 Today

by Matt Falcus

The Boeing 727 first emerged in 1963 an instantly became a classic, flying for airlines across the world.

As a natural development of the 707, it allowed Boeing to offer a medium-range and capacity aircraft to airlines, and it was capable of operating from shorter strips than the first generation of jet airliners.

The 727 featured a high T-tail, with three engines mounted at the rear of the aircraft and an inlet for one of them inserted into the tail itself.

The initial model, known as the 727-100, was supplemented by the larger -200, and in all over 1,800 727s were built by the time production ceased in 1984.

Since then the number of active examples has steadily decreased year by year. But can you still see one in 2021?

 

Are There Any 727s Still Flying

XC-NPF 727-264 Mexico Federal Police

Yes, however you’re not likely to be able to fly on a 727 as a passenger any more.

Most active examples today are used as freighters or VIP transports.

The last airline to operate passenger services with the 727 was Iran Aseman Airlines, who retired theirs on 13 January 2019.

And it seems unlikely that any will offer passenger flights again, given the large numbers of more modern and economical aircraft available today.

 

Who Still Flies the 727?

There are thought to be around 60 Boeing 727s still in use around the world today, which marks less than 4% of those built.

A sad statistic for anyone who loves this classic trijet, or who remembers flying on them during their heyday.

HK-4637 Lineas Aereas Suramericanas (LAS Cargo) - Boeing 727-2S2F(A)(RE) - BSB/SBBR

Kalitta Charters II B727-264(A)(F)

The known active examples are:
  • 3506, 727-264(A), Mexican Air Force, based Mexico City, Mexico
  • 5Y-GMA, 727-2Q9(F), Safe Air, based Nairobi, Kenya
  • 5Y-IRE, 727-2Q9(F), Safe Air, based Nairobi, Kenya
  • 5Y-MWM, 727-227(F), Astral Aviation, based Nairobi, Kenya
  • 5Y-NIV, 727-223(F/RE), Astral Aviation, based Nairobi, Kenya
  • 9Q-CBA, 727-223, Democratic Government of Congo Government
  • 9S-ASS, 727-2S2F Serve Air Cargo, based Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 9S-AVN, 727-2S2F Serve Air Cargo, based Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 9S-AVS, 727-2S2F Serve Air Cargo, based Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 9S-AVZ, 727-2S2(F), Serve Air Cargo, based Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 9S-CVV, 727-2S2F Serve Air Cargo, based Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • C5-SBM, 727-256, Mahfooz Aviation, based?
  • CX-CAR, 727-214(F), Air Class Lineas Aereas, based Montevideo International, Uruguay
  • CX-CLC, 727-264(F), Air Class Lineas Aereas, based Montevideo International, Uruguay
  • EX-27011, 727-225(F/RE), Aerostan, based Bishkek International, Manas, Kyrgyzstan
  • FAC1204, 727-2X3(F), Colombian Air Force, based Bogota, Colombia
  • FAE-620, 727-230, Ecuadorian Air Force, Quito, Ecuador
  • G-OSRA, 727-2S2F(RE) 2Excel Aviation, based Doncaster Sheffield, UK
  • G-OSRB, 727-2S2F(RE) 2Excel Aviation, based Doncaster Sheffield, UK
  • GN-401, 727-264(F), Guardia Nactional, based Mexico City, Mexico
  • HK-4154, 727-51F, Lineas Aereas Suramericanas, based Bogota, Colombia
  • HK-4262, 727-2F9F, Lineas Aereas Suramericanas, based Bogota, Colombia
  • HK-4401, 727-2X3(F), Lineas Aereas Suramericanas, based Bogota, Colombia
  • HK-4504, 727-2J0(F), Aerosucre, Colombia
  • HK-4636, 727-2S2F(RE), Lineas Aereas Suramericanas, based Bogota, Colombia (stored?)
  • HK-4637, 727-2S2F(RE) Lineas Aereas Suramericanas, based Bogota, Colombia
  • HK-5216, 727-227(F), Aerosucre, based Bogota, Colombia
  • HK-5239, 727-223(F), Aerosucre, based Bogota, Colombia
  • HP1754CTW, 727-225(F), PanAir Cargo, based Panama City Tocumen, Panama
  • HP1937UCG, 727-2A1(F), UniWorld Air Cargo, based Panama City Tocumen, Panama
  • HZ-AB3, 727-2U5(RE), Al Anwa Establishment, based Riyadh King Khalis, Saudi Arabia
  • HZ-SKI, 727-212(RE), Al-Tameer Co, based Riyadh King Khalid, Saudi Arabia
  • M-STAR, 727-2X8(RE) Starling Aviation, based San Diego, CA, USA
  • N164TS, 727-227(F), Texas Aviation Group, based Kazakhstan
  • N215WE, 727-2S2F IFL Group, based Waterford, MI, USA
  • N216WE, 727-2S2F IFL Group, based Waterford, MI, USA
  • N281FL, 727-281(F/RE), IFL Group Inc, based Pontiac, MI, USA
  • N289MT, 727-223, Raytheon Co, based Ontario, CA, USA
  • N311AG, 727-17(RE), Private, owned by Gordon P Getty, USA
  • N422BN, 727-227, Antares Aviation, USA
  • N438BN, 727-227, Antares Aviation, USA
  • N615PA, 727-243, Caribbean Cargo Carriers, based Dallas Love Field, TX, USA
  • N724CK, 727-225(F), Kalitta Charters II, based Detroit Willow Run, MI, USA
  • N725CK, 727-224(F), Kalitta Charters II, based Detroit Willow Run, MI, USA
  • N725US, 727-225(F), USA Jet Airlines, base Detroit Willow Run, MI, USA (stored?)
  • N726CK, 727-2M7(F), Kalitta Charters II, based Detroit Willow Run, MI, USA
  • N726US, 727-223(F), USA Jet Airlines, based Detroit Willow Run, MI, USA
  • N727NK, 727-212, Private, based Melbourne, FL, USA (stored?)
  • N727US, 727-223(F), USA Jet Airlines, based Detroit Willow Run, MI, USA
  • N729CK, 727-264(F), Kalitta Charters II, based Detroit Willow Run, MI, USA
  • N794AJ, 727-227(F), Zero Gravity Corp, based Tucson, AZ, USA
  • PR-IOC, 727-264(F), Asas Linhas Aeras, base Sao Jose Dos Campos, Brazil (stored?)
  • PR-TTO, 727-2M7(F)(A), Total Linhas Aereas, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • PR-TTP, 727-2M7(F), Total Linhas Aereas, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • PR-TTW, 727-225(F), Total Linhas Aereas, Belo Horizone, Brazil
  • TZ-001, 727-2K5, Government of Mali, Bamako, Mali
  • XC-MPF/GN-401, 727-264(F) Mexican Federal Police, based Mexico City, Mexico
  • XC-NPF, 727-264 Mexican Federal Police, based Mexico City, Mexico
  • XC-OPF, 727-264 Mexican Federal Police, based Mexico City, Mexico
  • XT-BFA, 727-282(RE) Government of Burkina Faso, based Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

As you can see, this means just two of the earlier -100 models are still flying today.

 

Where to See Preserved 727s

IMGP4332_3D-JJM

Thankfully a number of Boeing 727s have made it into preservation for aviation enthusiasts and future generations to enjoy and experience.

In the later years of mainstream 727 operations, cargo carrier FedEx Express were one of the largest operators of the type and, when time came to retire them, sent many examples off to various airports around the United States in particular for use with training colleges. Most of these can still be seen today.

727 prototype arriving at the Museum of Flight, Seattle

Here are some examples of known preserved 727s:
  • 2722, 727-109, Taiwan Air Force, Taichung, Taiwan
  • 2-MMTT, 727-76(RE), Brislington, Bristol, UK
  • 9Q-CGB, 727-22C(QC), Parc De La Vallee De La NSele, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • EP-PLN, 727-30, Government of Iran, Iranian Aerospace Exhibition, Tehran, Iran
  • HK-2541, 727-25, Avianca, at Parque Norte, Medellin, Colombia
  • HK-3133X, 727-44, Hotel Costa Verde, Costa Rica
  • HK-3770X/EJC-161, SATENA, Bogota, Colombia
  • HK-727, 727-59(F), Aerosucre, Museo Aereo Fenix, Cali, Colombia
  • N106FE, 727-22C, FedEx Express, Everett Community College, Paine Field, WA, USA
  • N107FE, 727-22C, FedEx Express, Columbus Bolton Field, OH, USA
  • N114FE, 727-24C, FedEx Express, New York JFK, NY, USA
  • N117FE, 727-25C, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN, USA
  • N119FE, 727-25C, FedEx Express, Air Zoo Museum, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
  • N135FE, 727-25C, FedEx Express, Fayetteville Drake Field, AR, USA
  • N136FE, 727-25C, Mohawk Valley Community College, Griffiss Airport, Rome, NY, USA
  • N149FE, 727-22F, FedEx Express, Greensboro Piedmont Triad, NC, USA
  • N151FE, 727-22F, Big Bend Community College, Moses Lake, WA, USA
  • N166FE, 727-22F, FedEx Express, Musee de L’air et de L’espace, Paris Le Bourget, France
  • N188FE, 727-22F, FedEx Express, Sowela Technical College, Lake Charles Airport, LA, USA
  • N191FE, 727-22F, Eastern New Mexico University, Roswell Airport, NM, USA
  • N218TT, 727-214, Tulsa Technology Center, Richard L Jones Airport, Tulsa, OK, USA
  • N7001U, 727-22, United Airlines, Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA, USA (the Prototype 727)
  • N7017U, 727-22, United Airlines, Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago, IL, USA
  • N88701, 727-224, Private Home, Benoit, MS, USA
  • OB-1547/N931PG, 727-22, Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • TF-FIE, 727-108C(QF), Flugsafn Islands Museum, Akureyri, Iceland
  • XA-SKC, 727-23, AeroMexico, Cuernavaca, Mexico
  • XC-FAZ, 727-14(F), Mexican Air Force, Tlaxcala, Mexico
  • XC-FEY, 727-14, Mexican Air Force, Zumpango Shopping Centre, Mexico
  • VP-BAJ, 727-30(RE), Kelowna Flightcraft, Mohawk College, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • SX-CBA, 727-284, Olympic Airways, old Athens Hellinikon Airport, Greece
  • N727SH, 727-284, Private Home, Hillsboro, OR, USA
  • 3D-JJM, 727-231, Preserved on Novapark Hotel roof, Graz, Austria
  • 2723, 727-109C, China Institute of Technology, Henshang, China
  • VH-TBS, 727-77C, Australian Aviation Technical Training School, Brisbane Airport, Australia
  • CN-CCG, 727-2B6, Royal Air Maroc, outside airline headquarters, Casablanca, Morocco
  • F-BPJR, 727-228 (forward fuselage), Musee de l’Epopee de l’Industrie et de l’Aeronautique, Albert, France
  • N7270B, 727-232 (cockpit), Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA, USA
  • HK-3480, 727-2H3, Avianca, at Parque Salitre Magico, Bogota, Colombia
  • EC-CFA, 727-256, Shannon Airport Fire Service, Ireland
  • EC-CFE, 727-256, Aena, Madrid Barajas Airport, Spain
  • N221FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, Dayton Jams M International, OH, USA
  • N223FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, Sacramento Mather Airport Fire Department, CA, USA
  • N257FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, Chicago O’Hare Fire Department, IL, USA
  • N258FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, Battle Creek, MI, USA
  • G-BNNI, 727-276(QF), 727.dk, Stilling, Denmark
  • C-GJKF, 727-227(F), Canadfore College, Hamilton John C Munro, ON, Canada
  • N464FE, 727-225(F), FedEx Express, Spartan College of Aeronautics, Tulsa, OK, USA
  • N465FE, 727-225(F), FedEx Express, Williamsport, PA, USA
  • N466FE, 727-225(F), FedEx Express, Sacramento McClellan AFB, CA, USA
  • N233FE, 727-247(F), FedEx Express, Oakland Metropolitan, CA, USA
  • N234FE, 727-247(F), FedEx Express, Atlantic City International, NJ, USA
  • N235FE, 727-247(F), BCAD, Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International, FL, USA
  • N236FE, 727-247(F), FedEx Express, Greenville Downtown Airport, SC, USA
  • N874AA, 727-223, American Airlines, Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA, USA (potential return to flight)
  • N478FE, 727-227(F), Lake Area Technical Institute, Watertown Airport, SD, USA
  • N7264U, 727-222, Ontario Airport, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • N7266U, 727-222, Forward fuselage preserved inside house in Colorado Springs, CO, USA
  • N467FE, 727-225(F), FedEx Express, Fairbanks International, AK, USA
  • N468FE, 727-225(F), FedEx Express, Billings Logan International, MT, USA
  • N479FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Albany Airport, NY, USA
  • N482FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Port of Spain Piarco International, Trinidad & Tobago
  • N483FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Kansas City International, MO, USA
  • N485FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Albuquerque International, NM, USA
  • N486FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Pima Community College, Tucson International, AZ, USA
  • N487FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Austin Robert Mueller Municipal, TX, USA
  • N488FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, WI, USA
  • N489FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, St Paul Downtown Airport, MN, USA
  • N165TS, 727-223(F), Texas Aviation Group, San Bernardino, TX, UA (potential return to flight)
  • N492FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Anchorage Merrill Field, AK, USA
  • N493FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Everett Paine Field, WA, USA
  • N494FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Helena Regional Airport, MT, USA
  • N7285U (‘DIA-01’), 727-222, Denver International Airport, CO, USA
  • N469FE, 727-225(F), Museo Nacional de Aviacion, San Salvador Ilopango International, El Salvador
  • N264FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, Spokane International Airport, WA, USA
  • C-GXKF, 727-243(F), Fanshawe College, London Airport, ONT, Canada
  • N495FE, 727-227(F), FedEx Express, Mid America Air Museum, Liberal, KS, USA
  • N265FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, Florida Air Museum, Lakeland, FL, USA
  • N266FE, 727-233(F), California Baptist University, March AFB, Riverside, CA, USA
  • N267FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, West Memphis Municipal, TN, USA
  • N268FE, 727-233(F), Buffalo Niagara Airport, NY, USA
  • N269FE, 727-233(F), Anadolu University, Anadolu University Airport, Eskisehir, Turkey
  • PR-IOG, 727-214(F), Rio Linhas Aeras, roadside near Presidente Pruente, Brazil
  • EC-DDX, 727-256, Forward fuselage, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, UK
  • N287FE, 727-2D4(F), FedEx Express, Thief River Falls Regional, MN, USA
  • N288FE, 727-2D4(F), FedEx Express, St Louis Downtown Airport, IL, USA
  • N369FA, 727-2K5, Allegro, Dominical, Costa Rica (used as a bar/restaurant)
  • 83-4618, 727 C-22C, US Air Force, Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • PR-MTJ, 727-2M7(F), Air Brasil, São Luís Maranhão, Brazil
  • N227FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, Shreveport Downtown Airport, LA, USA
  • N272FE, 727-233(F), Fire trainer, Dallas Fort Worth, TX, USA
  • N275FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, Boise Gowen Field, ID, USA
  • N276FE, 727-233(F), Fuselage, Federal Law Enforcement Training Centre, Brunswick, GA, USA
  • N277FE, 727-233(F), Miami International Airport, FL, USA
  • 5T-CLP, 727-294, Government of Mauretania, Perpignan Airport, France
  • PT-MTQ, 727-243(F), Total Linhas Aereas, Rio de Janeiro Galeao, Brazil
  • N246FE, 727-277(F), FedEx Express, Mid-America Transportation & Aviation Museum, Sioux City Gateway, IA, USA
  • HC-BHM, 727-2T3, TAME, Guayaquil Rey Park, Ecuador
  • EP-ASC, 727-228, Lavasan Monument, nr Tehran, Iran
  • PP-VQV, 727-243(F), VARIG Log, Rio de Janeiro Galeao, Brazil
  • N279FE, 727-233(F), FedEx Express, Plattsburgh Clinton County, NY, USA
  • M-FTOH, 727-269(A), Private, Kemble Cotswold Airport, UK
  • XC-FPA, 727-264, Mexican Police, Tangamanga Park, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
  • CC-PFL, 727-225, Lonquen, Chile (as CC-CPV)
  • 9M-NEP, 727-277(F), Malaysian Aviation Training Academy, Johor Airport, Malaysia
  • VH-VLH, 727-277(F), San Bernardino International, CA, USA
  • VQ-BNF, 727-2N6(RE), Peter Nygard, Brunswick Glynco Jetport, GA, USA

 

Where to See Stored 727s

As airlines retired their Boeing 727s, many were sent to storage airports or abandoned at other airports around the world. There are probably hundreds of examples around the world, and so there are many chances to still see a 727 on your travels, albeit not flying.

N191FE Boeing 727

Perhaps most the prominent list of stored 727s are the former fleet operated by FedEx Express. Many of these aircraft, both the 727-100 and -200, were donated to technical colleges around the USA (and even further afield), as well as airport fire training departments and other organisations, to use in their training. Most can be found in the list of preserved examples above.

Sadly desert storage airports like Mojave, Victorville and Marana are no longer where many 727s can be found since most have by now been scrapped.

Olympic SX-CBA

Airports in countries where the 727 has been active until recently, like Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Bogota in Colombia, and many parts of Africa, are where you’ll often find derelict or stored 727s today. There’s even one (above) at the old Athens Airport in Greece.

 

Best Places to See Active 727s

Boeing 727-264F | Rio Cargo | PR-IOC | BSB-GRU |

And this leads to the most interesting part – where to see an active Boeing 727 today!

From the list above, you can see that good places to spot an active 727 today include:

  • Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • Bogota, Colombia
  • Detroit Willow Run, MI, USA
  • Doncaster Sheffield, UK
  • Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Panama City Tocumen, Panama

 

Conclusion

So there you have it. The Boeing 727 today, around 60 years since it first flew. Do you remember flying them or seeing them more regularly?

I personally flew on 727s with American Airlines, Dan-Air London and Pan Am, and I remember how common they were when visiting the USA in the 1980s and early 90s. Thankfully I still see the occasional one here in the UK, but I think it won’t be long before they are truly a thing of the past.

Leave a comment below with your thoughts and memories of the 727.

 

 

Flying Firsts

Flying Firsts is a full colour reference guide to the world’s airliners.

Covering all main aircraft types and variants since the 1930s, this book will fit well on any aviation enthusiast’s bookshelf. It lists facts, historical information, statistics and dates, and includes many fantastic photographs of each type.

Discover lots more about the Boeing 727 and its different variants.

At the back there are handy reference tables and even a tick list for you to record your sightings.

The book is available here

 

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5 comments

MERVYN CROWE September 23, 2021 - 1:27 am

Hi Matt, loved the 727, first flight in 1970 and last one in 1997. Have had 59 flights on them with ANSETT AUSTRALIA, TAA Trans Australia Airlines, and Mexicana, and on both the 100 and 200 series. Working in flight ops, had many jump seat flights, an exciting cockpit to be in.
A correction if I may….B727-77 in Brisbane is VH-TBS NOT TBZ, and its not COBHAM, but at the Australian Aviation Technical Training School at Brisbane airport. It is up for removal in December, so hoping it can find a new home . I have flown on this aircraft when it was originally VH-RMS with ANSETT.

Reply
Matt Falcus September 23, 2021 - 11:13 am

Thanks Merv! I’ll update that entry. My mistake. I remember seeing it when I visited Brisbane in 2004.
Matt

Reply
Paul Turner September 23, 2021 - 5:30 am

Very sad, while interesting article. I remember flying a Dan-Air example when I was a kid, think it was BHX-PMI but not entirely sure. More of a surprise was the fact I saw one just yesterday, which flew at FL190 over my house, G-OSRB. Always great to see a three holer, hopefully the UK based will stay for a long time to come.

Reply
Martin Dennett September 26, 2021 - 11:32 pm

Hi Matt

My only two flights on this wonderful aircraft were nearly 50 years ago!
G-BAFZ Boeing 727 46 18877 Dan-Air London 16-06-1973 Manchester (to Gerona)
G-BAJW Boeing 727 46 18878 Dan-Air London 30-06-1973 Gerona (back to MAN)

Started spotting in April 1979 (registrations for above flights obtained via Ringway Publications) and logged many other Dan-Air, Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia, Alitalia, Pan Am, THY, Libyan Arab, JAT, Air Algerie,, TAP, Hapag Lloyd, Royal Air Maroc, Tunis Air, Olympic & Corporate-owned at various UK & European airports in the 1970s-90 (best one was probably the New Zealand Air Force model at Greenham Common in 1983).

Then in the 2000s aircraft from Northwest, Emery, UPS, Mexicana, American Trans Air, United, Delta, Fedex, & DHL at various American airports.

One of my all-time favourites without a doubt. When aircraft had character as opposed to today’s “functional” aircraft.

Do you know where in Brislington 2-MMTT is located? I had digs there back in 97-98 and would love a trip down memory lane to see it.

MD

Reply
Matt Falcus September 27, 2021 - 2:52 pm

Great memories Martin. There have been some great liveries on the 727.
2-MMTT is apparently on Bonville Road in Brislington. It’s a trading estate.
Matt

Reply

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