N757AT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (15 years 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1450 times:
It's term paper time again at Embry-Riddle Charleston AFB Extension Campus and for my topic I've selected the Boeing 727. If anyone (Especially those of you who have worked aboard or around) have any input, It would greatly be
appreciated. What do you like most or like the least about the 727? Any intresting stories would also help.
JETPILOT From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3130 posts, RR: 27
Reply 1, posted (15 years 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1377 times:
I fly it...
You couldn't ask for a better plane to hand fly. It is a pleasure to hand fly at lower altitudes when being vectored for approach. The plane has a nice roll rate.
The worst thing about it is it from a flight crew standpoint is.....well I can't think of any other than the cockpit could have been a little roomier especially for the engineer.
It also could could have used a little more power. But then again if you don't fly a 757 I guess it would be at the top of any pilots list no matter what he flies. But the JT8D engines are bulletproof.
Other than that the plane is brilliant.
I know pilots who flew 727's early in their careers, and then moved on to 757's and so on, but for one reason or another found themselves back flying the 727 many years later.
They all said of all the planes they had flown the 727 was the best and they were glad to be back flying it. Obviously it lacks modern automation but a plane should be judged by how it feels to hand fly. For that the 727 can't be beat.
Expratt From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 311 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (15 years 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1298 times:
In a book on the 727, I think by Len Morgan, there was an item indicating that the 727 almost was not built. Boeing's sales analysts predicted a sales run of 200-250 airplanes and break even was around 300. But Boeing also knew the 737 and 747s were coming and the analysts correctly predicted that those airplanes would be good sellers. So to maintain a stable, experienced work force that would be available for the 73s and 74s, Boeing went ahead with the 727 project. As they say, the rest is history.
The concept of the tail mounted engines was first tested on the original 707. A JT8D engine was mounted on the left side of the fuselage just in front of the stabilizer. They had to put a canted tailpipe on the back of the engine to divert the exhaust away from the stabilizer.
The 727s engines, JT8Ds, are a derivative of what was originally intended to be a throw away missile engine. The USAF wanted an engine that would run 30 minutes, no more, no less, for the Hound Dog missile. The first design, a J52, ran and ran. The subsequent redesigns either failed very early (some on start up) or ran and ran. The USAF eventually accepted the J52 that ran longer than 30 minutes, and used them for jet assisted takeoff power on B52s. The J52 was converted to the JT8D in a manner similar to the conversion of a JT3C (J57) to a JT3D by replacing the front of the low pressure compressor with a two-stage fan and adding a stage to the low pressure turbine.
During the early years of the 727, there were numerous landing short accidents that were a combination of pilot error, the wing's high lift drag characteristics, and the slow spin up of the engines. When the airplane was on approach and if it went below the glideslope, many pilots would just ease back on the yoke. While this may have worked on the straight winged recips they transitioned from, on the 727 with leading edge slats and triple slotted flaps, a slight increase of angle of attack would result in a slight increase in lift and BIG increase in drag. With the airplane sinking instead of climbing, the pilot would ease back a little more causing the drag to really increase and the airplane would sink even faster. The pilots, used to the near instant power increase of a recip or turboprop, would firewall the engines that could take as much as 8 seconds to spin up from idle to full power. With full flaps, the 727 required 270 percent power to reverse a descent. The oval shaped inlet and S-duct on the -100s caused a lot of distortion into the engine inlet that would cause the center engine to surge and roll back thus commiting the plane and crew to a landing. These accidents drove the crew training that all excurions through the glide slope are with power. With all the accidents that occurred (I think at one time, there were three in a week.), there were some companies that would not allow their employees to fly on a 727.
NKP S2 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1714 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (15 years 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1283 times:
Vandelay: great username...that's a riot --- Anyway, I can tell you that from a mechanic's standpoint the 727 is held in high regard by all but a few who've had it too easy or are afraid of heights. Though I've not worked on one in years it will always be revered by me as it was the first plane I worked on professionally. --- System wise it's quite similar to the 737 ( vise-versa actually ) and anyone comfortable with one plane will be equally comfortable on the other. Very ruggedly built and lot's of redundancy. -- Technology wise ( hardware..mechanically ); I still feel it's light years ahead of the DC9 / MD80 class of planes...fancy "glass" cockpits on the later MDs notwithstanding. Those sharply swept back, "cranked" wings and triple slotted flaps are the most! ----- On a more superficial note: The plane is simply "object d'art". Finally, I concurr with a previous poster that the 727 brought air travel to the masses more economically. The self-sufficiency of having airstairs and an APU really removed a huge pain in the neck operationally that plagued the DC8 and 707 type stuff. ----- I catch heat from some of my co-workers for havig such a soft spot in my heart for this bird...but the newest, latest, and greatest aint' all that.
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (15 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1261 times:
Great info by many posters... I also seem to recall that the aircraft was not designed originally with an APU. Supposedly (and keep in mind that unless you verify this it's little more than aviation fokelore) by the time Boeing's marketing folks got feedback/requests for an APU from their 707 customers, Boeing was already well into the design phases of the 727. The wing root was the only place to install it, so there it went. To this day, **NOTHING** will get the lucky passenger's immediate and undivided attention as when the APU (the exhaust port being just outside his/her window) has the bad taste to "torch" on start-up or shutdown. Passenger-initiated evacuations have occurred from this...
If you'll do a google.com search for "727" you'll undoubtedly get hits for numerous sites by 727 junkies. I'm sure you can find lots of stuff there..
Some tidbits, just off the top of my head, that may jog the memory of others, and/or help your research....
1/ The stuff on the high sink-rate accidents in the early 1960s is a good point. I was a kid back in Cincinnati when AA lost theirs there, and I also recall the United accident at SLC (right there on the runway). I seem to recall another, TWA(?), also in CVG.
2/ 727's had a tendency to have forward lavs that leaked, and formed "blue ice". On at least 2 occasions (National, in the 70s, AA in the 80s), lav ice broke off at altitude and was subsequently ingested into the #3 engine, which obligingly seized and at that RPM torqued itself right off the airframe. Gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "we lost an engine..."
3/ National also had the distinction of putting one in Escambia Bay off Pensacola FL (PNS) one night. Very shallow water there, thanks to a nearby barge, only 2 passengers succumbed. The picture of the aircraft sitting partially submerged made this three-holer look like a bizzare organge and white submarine. One jokester penned in the caption "ah-ooga, ah-ooha, DIVE! DIVE!" on the news photo in our crew room.
4/ Let's not forget good old DB Cooper and his aerial half-gainer off the aft airstairs with $200,000 of Northwest (Orient's) moohlah. If your report will have multimedia clip(s), you can catch a recreation of the stunt in the opening of the movie "In Pursuit of DB Cooper" (..with Kathryn Harrod, hubba hubba, 2 thumbs up...)
5/ In the mid-1970s as South Vietnam was failing, a World Airways 727 undoubtedly set a world record for the number of passengers aboard. I vaguely recall it was a 727-100 with something like 180+ passengers aboard (including hanging off the still extended aft airstairs and unretracted landing gears).
6/ If you're interested, I've got some fire department footage of an EA 727 doing a night gear-up landing on 09R at MIA. Comes sliding right at the camera, stopping about 100' away, and almost certainly requiring a uniform change for the photographer.
Good choice of topics for your paper, as this bird has quite a history, and its ruggedness is awesome...
Contrails From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1845 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (15 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1256 times:
If I may be allowed a second contribution, I recall a statement made by another contributor a while back: "When the last Airbus is retired to the Arizona desert it will be a 727 that flies in to pick up the crew".
Expratt From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 311 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (15 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1251 times:
OPNL guy, some of your comments reminded of some other 727 stories. Brain is cluttered and I forget things.
On the AA 72 that had the No. 3 engine separate from the airplane due to blue ice ingestion. It happened over west Texas, but the crew elected to continue to SAN after making an unsuccessful restart attempt. When they landed at SAN, the tower advised them that they had lost their No. 3 engine. The crew responded with some lame comment that it had just flamed out to which the tower responded that the engine was completely gone. I heard that the crew and AA were in a jam with the FAA on that one.
The National 727 that went into the bay at PNS was recovered, repaired, and flew again for a Middle Eastern sheik. It was apparently sold before it was even fished out of the bay. After it was fished out of the water, it was shipped by rail car, with wings and tail removed, to some shop in California where it was repaired and returned to service.
There was also the TWA 727 that did a split-S at about FL350 and dove for the ground. The airplane went supersonic during the dive. There have been questions about what the crew was doing at the time the airplane departed controlled flight. The investigators could not determine that information because both of the flight recorders were erased by the crew after the airplane landed.
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (15 years 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1248 times:
Forgot about Hoot Gibson's 727. Someone chim in an update, but wasn't ALPA fighting NTSB on that one, i.e. an uncommanded L/E slat deployment, and was the probable cuase reversed?
Also, United lost 2 other 727s. One was on a night takeoff at LAX (electrical failure). Another was one that went into Lake Michigan inbound to ORD. Never heard why.
AvWeb had a story a few months back about some outfit in AL or MS that would sell you a 727-200 for use as a house. They'd come in and sink a big pier, and then mount the tink on top so it would weathervane. I'm not making this up...
National also had one hijacked in the mid-1970s (a -100) and the hijack ended when they landed at Lake Jackson airport, just south of Houston. Only 3 or 4 thousand feet of runway there, as I recall, but a ferry crew came in from MIA to get it back to IAH. They pretty much stripped all the seats, galley, lav/water, and everything else out, and with min fuel, made quite an impressive takeoff...