Boeing 727 and 717, the vintage aircraft

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and the leading producer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, and aftermarket support service providers. Industrialist Williams Boeing established it in 1916. Boeing has been the premier manufacturer of business jetliners for many years. The company manufactures the 737, 747, 767, 777, and 787 families of airplanes and the Boeing Business Jet variety. Among them, 727 and 717 are famous aircraft manufactured by Boeing as short-haul flight aircraft. So how were these aircraft?

Boeing 727

Boeing 727 is an American narrow-body airline produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Following the introduction of a heavy 707 quad-jet in 1958, Boeing addressed the demand for shorter flight lengths from smaller airports. The 727 was launched on 5 December 1960, with 40 orders each from United Airlines and Eastern Air Lines. The first 727-100 went on 27 November 1962 and flew on 9 February 1963. It was the first commercial aircraft to break the 1,000-sales mark, but it started as a risky proposition.

Design and Features

The Boeing 727 design was a compromise between United Airlines, American Airlines, and Eastern Air Lines; each had developed requirements for a jet airline to serve smaller cities with shorter runways and fewer passengers. The 727 was designed for smaller airports, which meant independence from ground facilities was an essential requirement. This led to one of the most distinctive features of the 727: the built-in airstair opening from the rear underbelly of the fuselage, which could initially be opened in flight.

The 727 is equipped with a retractable tail skid designed to protect the aircraft from an overturn on take-off. The fuselage of the 727 has an outer diameter of 3.8 m. This allows six-abreast seats (three per side) and one-aisle seats when 18-inch (46 cm) wide coach-class seats are installed. An unusual feature of the fuselage is the 10-inch difference between the lower lobe at the front and the rear of the wing, as the higher fuselage height of the center section was maintained at the bottom.

The 727 was the first Boeing jetliner to undergo comprehensive fatigue testing, the first to have fully powered flight controls, the first to use triple flaps, and the first to have an auxiliary power unit (APU). The APU was a small gas turbine engine that eliminated ground power or starting equipment at more primitive airports in developing countries.

Boeing’s only trijet is powered by Pratt & Whitney JT8D low-bypass turbochargers below the T-tail, one at each side of the rear fuselage and one center of the S-duct. It shares a cross-section of its six-abreast upper fuselage and a cockpit with the 707. The 727-100, 40.5 m long, carries typically 106 passengers in two classes over 4,170 km or 129 in one study. Launched in 1965, the 727-200 aircraft flew in July 1967 and entered service with Northeast Airlines that December. The 6.1 m longer variant typically carries 134 passengers over 4,720 km in two classes or 155 in one study. In addition to the airline’s accommodation, a freighter and a Quick Change convertible version have been offered.

Operational History

Nepal Airlines became the proud owner of a Boeing 727 jet aircraft carrier in 1972. With 123 passengers, Kathmandu was connected to regional destinations and remained in service until 1993.

The 727 has proved to be such a reliable and versatile airline that it has become the core of many start-up airlines’ fleets. The 727 was successful with airlines worldwide because it could use smaller runways while still operating medium-range routes. This allowed airlines to transport passengers from cities with large populations but smaller airports to tourist destinations worldwide.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the 727 remained in service with a few major airlines. Dealing with higher fuel costs, lower passenger volumes due to the post-9/11 economic climate, increasing restrictions on airport noise, and extra charges for maintaining older aircraft and paying flight engineer salaries, most major airlines have phased out their 727s; they have been replaced by twin-engine aircraft that are quieter and more fuel-efficient.

On 13 January 2019, Iran Aseman Airlines flew the last commercial passenger flight of the Boeing 727 between Zahedan and Tehran.

Since the first flight of the 727 in February 1963, a total of 119 of the 1,832 Boeing 727s had been lost due to crashes, terrorist acts, and other causes.

Boeing 717

The Boeing 717 single-aisle narrow-body aircraft further develops the DC-9 series aircraft. The plane was initially announced as MD-95 by McDonnell Douglas during the Paris Air Show in 1991. In August 1997, Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas and renamed all of its aircraft, the MD-95 being renamed Boeing 717.

The Boeing 717-200 program was officially launched on 19 October 1995 with an order for 50 companies and 50 options from AirTran Airways, ValuJet Airlines’ predecessor. The first delivery to the airline took place in September 1999, with the production of 156 aircraft at Boeing’s Long Beach plant ending in May 2006.

Development and Features

In the mid-1960s, the Douglas Aircraft Company produced DC9, a short-range and smaller aircraft to complement their longer-range and enormous DC8 airliner. This aircraft proved to be quite popular and was produced until 1982, with almost 1,000 aircraft being produced. McDonnell Douglas felt that there was a market gap in the 100-seat range. Throughout the 1980s, various options were explored, including the shorter MD-80, the MD-87. The reception was very lukewarm from the market, and it was soon laid aside.

In 1991, McDonnell Douglas looked again at the smaller version. The Project was called MD-87-105, which intended that the seating capacity was 105 seats. It was shorter than the MD-87 also. At the 1991 Paris Airshow, an announcement was made about the new model renamed the MD-95, which was the year it was expected to be available.

In August 1997, McDonnell Douglas and Boeing merged. The MD-95 Project was expected to stop from Boeing. However, they decided to go ahead with the Project and changed the designation from MD-95 to Boeing 717. The 717 model number was skipped when it went from Boeing 707 to Boeing 720 and then 727. The number 717 was used concerning a military fuel tanker, but it was free to use otherwise.

The interior of the Boeing 717 consists of 2-3 seats. This means there are two seats on one side of the aisle; on the other, there are 3. While there was only one Boeing 717 model or variant, that’s 717-200. The High Gross Weight or Basic Gross Weight still offered two options. The payload was higher in addition to having a higher gross weight; the Basic chance was also higher.

The 717 includes a two-crew cockpit with six liquid crystal-display interchangeable units and advanced PCs from Honeywell VIA 2000. The cockpit is known as the Advanced Common Flight Deck (ACF) and is familiar with the MD-10 and MD-11 devices. The air deck features include an electronic instrument system, a dual flight management system, and a central fault display system. Automatic landing capability Category IIIb is available for destructive weather operations and Future Air Navigation Systems.

Operational History

It achieved a better dispatch rate than 99 percent, which was better than its competitors. It was also faster than the BAe 146, one of its closest rivals. AirTran stated that the C check, carried out every 4,500 flying hours, lasted three days compared to 21 days for DC9. This was a considerable saving.

The last and 156th of the Boeing 717s were rolled off the assembly line in April 2006. On 23 May 2006, the last two were delivered to AirTran and Midwest Airlines. The first customer and also the last one was AirTran. This was also the latest commercial aircraft at the Long Beach factory.

As of January 2021, there were 104 Boeing 717-200s in service, of which Delta Airlines operates more than 60 Boeing 717s. As of June 2018, the Boeing 717 was involved in five aeronautical accidents and incidents with no hull loss and no fatality. Accidents and incidents included one on-the-ground collision while taxiing, an emergency landing where the nose landing gear did not extend, and one attempted hijacking.

You May Also Like