Before I begin, could you please give me a moment so that I can grab another tissue and wipe the tears of nostalgia from my eyes? It should only take a second or two, and you can pass the time browsing some of the other side view airliner templates in my ever-growing collection. The L-1011 is a neat one – I’d recommend giving that one a good look while I compose myself to write this blog post…
OK, I’m ready now. I don’t know what it is about the 727 that brings on such strong feelings of nostalgia in me, but it does so in a very big way each and every time I see one of these things. My first ever flight was way back in the spring of 1982 on a Republic Airlines Boeing 727 from Detroit to Sarasota, and for an eight-year-old boy just starting to become fascinated with airplanes, it was a life-altering experience that I would never forget.
The funny thing was that one of my classmates was also flying to Florida that same week (it was spring break, and nearly all of Michigan migrates to Florida at that time), but he and his family were lucky to be flying a Northwest DC-10. I was so jealous of that, and I remember feeling disappointed that we were only going to be on a stupid little 727. But once we arrived at the airport and I saw that airplane sitting at the gate ready to take us to Florida, it was stimulation overload and I had the time of my life. It was an amazing flight!
The Boeing 727 is the airplane of my childhood. Just as the 737 is the most common airliner in existence today, the 727 was the workhorse of airline fleets worldwide and they were literally everywhere in the 1980’s. It seems that every single airport (big and small) had 727’s flowing in and out of them like water, and I specifically remember watching these airplanes fly low and slow over our house on approach into DTW. *sniff* I think I’m going to need another tissue…
To this day, I consider the Boeing 727 to be one of the best aircraft designs ever – and that’s not just the nostalgia talking. To think that this thing was designed in the 1960s is just astounding considering that there were no computers back then to help figure out some of the aerodynamic complexities. It still looks as sleek and beautiful today as it did back then, and with slightly bigger engines it could easily pass as a modern-day airliner. The best part to me, by far, is that aggressively swept wing. The wings of the 727 are much more aggressive compared to what we are seeing on modern day aircraft, and it was truly a design way ahead of its time. I had a lot of fun illustrating this one, though I will admit that there were no surprises for me since this is my favorite aircraft, and I pretty much knew everything about it that there is to know (design wise at least – don’t you dare ask me about the technical stuff).
I’ve logged 12 flights on the 727 over the years, with my last one being November 26, 2000 from DEN to SAN on United Airlines. It’s amazing to think that the 727 lasted two more years beyond that at United, with the last one being retired in 2002. Even more amazing is the fact that at the time of this writing, there are still 56 of these aircraft in service today around the world. The 727 has had a really good run, and it will forever hold a place in my heart as the airplane that kicked my fascination with commercial aviation into high gear.
And that’s the end of this blog post, which is a good thing because…well…I’m out of tissues.