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B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:12 pm
by cduluk
Hi all:

Huge 727 fan here. Every once in a while I'll look on flightaware to see all the 727s still flying, but tonight something caught my eye and I am looking for all of your input. I have three questions for you all.

I noticed there was only one 722 flying tonight (Oct 7, 2016), a 727-200F by Contract Air Cargo. (Who??) Here was the flight info:

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I ended up youtubing videos of Contract Air 727s, and found a video. I immediately noticed that it had the updated JT8D-200 series engines (at least on #1 and 3), the same as those of the MD80. From what I understand, the 727 was only DELIVERED with the -100 series engines, BUT that "retrofits" were available after purchase, aftermarket, to swap out the #1 and 3 engines with the -200 series, leaving the #2 original.

When i researched this particular tail number, (N215WE) it read that it was originally delivered (albeit to FedEx) in 1984, and notes that it was modified with the JT8D-217 engines in 1991. The aircraft is now listed as a 727-200F(A)(RE).

But Planespotters indicates that it has 3x PW JT8D-217...

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QUESTION 1: Is this a typo on behalf of planespotters that all THREE engines were replaced with the -200 engines? I thought only the #1 and 3 were modified.

QUESTION 2: When looking at the landing video, you can see that only the #1 and 3 engines have reversers. I know that, originally, all three engines had reversers (yet not the same external clam shell design as the -200). Why would they "disable" the #2 reverse function just because the #1 and 3 engines were replaced? Or does the lack of reverse on the #2 have to do with hush-kitting?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMN8BWbeGAo

QUESTION 3a: Either way, is the way that the pilots deploy the reversers changed at all? Meaning, do they "pull up" all THREE reverse levers upon landing, even though only the #1 and 3 engines actually reverse?

3b: And what modifications to the #2 engine were required? Was it as simple as "breaking" the cable between the lever in the cockpit to the engine, and covering the reverse pneumatic shields? Is that #2 engine just sitting out there "wondering" why it's not being commanded to reverse?

I apologize if these questions have been discussed before, I searched but did not find the answers. Thanks for ANY and all input!!!

-Chris

Re: B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:37 pm
by 113312
This ship was delivered from the factory with JT8D-17 engines in all three positions with three thrust reversers. As on all B727 series, the thrust reversers are actuated with high pressure bleed air. On the Valsan conversion, the #1 and #3 engine are replaced with JT8d-217C engine and with thrust reversers similar to a MD-83. That is, these are hydraulically actuated. The #2 engine has the thrust reverser completely removed along with it's associated reverse lever in the cockpit. Landing procedure is the same as all 727s but there are only two reverse thrust levers to operate.

Re: B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:51 pm
by cduluk
Does that mean they had to install a new hydraulic line for the #1 and 3 reversers? And why wouldn't they just leave the #2 pneumatic reverser as it was? Why remove it? Weight?

If, for instance, the #1 -200 engine were to fail, could the #3 -200 reverser alone produce the same reverse power as the #2 and 3 original engines?

Re: B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:46 am
by 767333ER
I would imagine engine 2 reverse was removed as it was not needed. The -200s have much more thrust and have a more effective reverse. This saves weight and complexity.

Re: B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 7:54 pm
by Channex757
Back to the OP's question 1

It's a misprint. The 727 has only ever had a RR Tay treatment for all three engines as the JT8D-217 would require some major structural changes to mount that third engine. So it was never done. The intake and S duct would be too narrow, as would the engine mounting position. Just too expensive to do the work required and it would also throw up a whole host of other issues.

The #2 motor also received a noise reduction treatment as part of the Super modifications. That might also have rendered the standard 727 thrust reverser incompatible.

Re: B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:14 pm
by tb727
767333ER wrote:
I would imagine engine 2 reverse was removed as it was not needed. The -200s have much more thrust and have a more effective reverse. This saves weight and complexity.


Agree. I never flew the Super-27 but the bucket reversers are probably much more effective. Probably have different activation times as well if you had 2 engines hydraulically operated and one pneumatically. They had to add something like 500 pounds of ballast in the nose on the Supers due to the 2 new heavy engines. By putting the straight, smooth exhaust on #2 it probably helped save even more weight.

I do miss flying the old girl. Been over 2 years now :(

Re: B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:35 am
by Max Q
tb727 wrote:
767333ER wrote:
I would imagine engine 2 reverse was removed as it was not needed. The -200s have much more thrust and have a more effective reverse. This saves weight and complexity.


Agree. I never flew the Super-27 but the bucket reversers are probably much more effective. Probably have different activation times as well if you had 2 engines hydraulically operated and one pneumatically. They had to add something like 500 pounds of ballast in the nose on the Supers due to the 2 new heavy engines. By putting the straight, smooth exhaust on #2 it probably helped save even more weight.

I do miss flying the old girl. Been over 2 years now :(



You're not alone there TB.

Re: B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:43 pm
by 113312
I flew all of the Valsan converted FedEx 727s. In fact, I flew every 727 in the fleet. On the Valsan conversion, the #2 thrust reverser was removed to save weight. In a cargo version -200, the center of gravity is further aft than in a typical passenger version. The installation of the -217C powerplants including the larger cowls and reverse system, added considerable weight to the rear of the aircraft making it prudent to not only remove the center reverser hardware but also the installation of ballast weights on the forward pressure bulkhead. The two reversers were more than sufficient and the aircraft can be dispatched with one inop.

Re: B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:19 pm
by rjsampson
113312 wrote:
the installation of ballast weights on the forward pressure bulkhead. The two reversers were more than sufficient and the aircraft can be dispatched with one inop.


Just curious: What exactly, is the "forward pressure bulkhead"? Wouldn't that essentially be the airframe surrounding the cockpit? Please forgive my ignorance :)

Re: B727Adv with JT8D-217 engines--what about reversers? 3 Questions for you all. Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:19 am
by FlyMKG
I flew the 727 for the company you mention. Allow me to correct some things. TSU281 is N281FL. It has three -17 engines. The number two engine has the reverser removed due to the Dugan Quiet Wing Stage III conversion. #1 and #3 have the standard pneumatic reversers. TSU215 and TSU216 are N215WE and N216WE. They were converted by FedEx Express to the Valsan Super27 standard. #1 and #3 are -217C engines and have hydraulic bucket reversers. #2 is a -17 and has had the reverser removed as part of the the Stage III conversion.

I'm currently flying an RJ and miss the 727 every day. Best job I never want to have again.

FlyMKG