On February 9, 1963, the first Boeing 727 Trijet lifts off from Renton Airport. The distinctive aircraft incorporates an innovative combination of new, if not original, aerodynamic features, including two rear-mounted external engines and a third central engine buried at the root of its T-tail. Boeing's gamble of $150 million on 727 development will pay off with orders for a total of 1,851 aircraft through 1984. Most remain in service with passenger and air freight lines throughout the world.
The 727 is intended to provide service on shorter routes, between 2,500 and 3,000 miles, and to provide fast regional air links for which larger jets and slower prop and turboprop planes were unsuited. The tails of early models of the 727 featured a central retractable passenger stairway, from which a hijacker known as Dan or D. B. Cooper parachuted in 1971 over Southwestern Washington.
Peter M. Bowers, Boeing Aircraft Since 1916 (London: Putnam, 1989); Boeing Historical Archives, Year by Year: 75 Years of Boeing History (Seattle: Boeing, 1991); Harold Mansfield, Vision: The Story of Boeing (New York, Popular Press, 1966); Robert Redding and Bill Yene, Boeing: Planemaker to the World (San Diego: Thunder Bay Press, 1997); Robert Serling, Legend & Legacy: The Story of Boeing and Its People (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992); Boeing historical chronology, (www.boeing.com/companyoffices/history).
This essay was corrected on February 4, 2010.
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