Wednesday, May 1, 2024

 MAY 2024

Remembering When Air Travel Was Exciting, New and Fun

Boeing 727: A Legacy of Ingenuity and Resilience

By Rev Protodeacon George A. Haloulakos

The Boeing 727 was a transformative aircraft as it was able to capitalize on a then under-served end-user market requiring a jet airliner that could serve smaller airports with shorter runways while flying routes that called for ferrying fewer passengers in both domestic and international venues. This iconic narrow body aircraft symbolized Boeing's ability to create a family of commercial jet aircraft able to serve multiple end-user markets. From 1962 to 1984 Boeing produced 1,832 units of this amazing tri-jet and presently there are still a number in use for cargo and executive service!

Among the "firsts" associated with the Boeing 727 are having a trio of rear-mounted jet engines, an auxiliary power unit and completely powered flight controls. Its operational capability of flying in-and-out of remote or regional airfields helped make it a versatile, reliable commercial jet airliner.

The 727 represents a vital piece of history as it holds a special place in the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life connected with this aircraft. As a business traveler this was a long-time favorite. I fondly recall the 727 Eastern Airlines Shuttle [Boston (Logan) -- New York City (La Guardia)] with big, wide comfortable leather seats for the entire aircraft [2 on each side of the center aisle]. I also flew the 727 Alaska Airlines Seahawk One [used for the Seattle NFL franchise and having all the names of players, coaches and staff on gold plates in each seat]; similar interior design and comfortable seating as the 727 Eastern Shuttle. And how about the rear entry / exit with the fold-up stairway ramp that allowed passengers to board and disembark simultaneously from both front and rear of the aircraft? Much faster turnaround time! A great benefit for business people on the go! The built-in stairway ramp that would drop down was similar to the science fiction spacecraft seen on lots of TV and movies from the 1960s.

The 727 was also a part of ushering jet travel into political campaigns during that same era. In 1964, US Senator Barry Goldwater was the GOP standard bearer in the US Presidential Election and used a 727 for his nationwide campaign circuit. Mr. Goldwater, a Command Pilot and Maj General in the Air National Guard, often flew the 727 himself during the course of his campaign!

Do you have any special memories or recollections of the 727? If so, please share them by either posting to the Galaxy FACEBOOK page or writing directly to me at: