The first Boeing 727 rolled out of the Renton, WA plant on 27 November 1962.
The 707, the company’s first jetliner, needed long runways. Boeing was in a race to produce a commercial plane that could fly to smaller airports with shorter runways. Others working on a new configuration included domestic firms Convair, Douglas (DC-9) and Lockheed as well as foreign firms British Aircraft Corp. and the De Havilland Aircraft Company .
Almost two years earlier, on 05 December 1960, Boeing had announced it would build the three-engine 727, the company’s only trijet. Boeing had in hand 40 orders each from Eastern Air Lines and United Airlines .
It was a plane marked by firsts.
It was the first Boeing jetliner:
- to undergo rigorous fatigue testing
- to have completely powered flight controls
- to use triple-slotted flaps
- to have an auxiliary power unit (APU) which allowed it to land and take off at “the more primitive airports of developing countries,”
It was also first commercial airplane to sell more than 1,000 units.
Boeing produced 1,832 units from 1962–1984. The company phased out the 727 in the U.S. due to noise and poor fuel mileage.
 Which companies are still in business? Boeing and McDonnell Douglas (1967) merged in 1997; Lockheed Martin (1995).
British Aircraft Corp. (1960-1977); Convair (1943-1996); De Havilland Aircraft Company (1920-1963).
 Eastern Airlines (1926 to 1991)
Iberia Airlines. Flickr: B-727, CC BY 2.0
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