B727’s fifteen-minute final flight after restoration
passengers. United paid $4.4 million for the 727 which in turn generated revenues of more than $300 million. In 1984, the Museum of Flight’s Chairman of the Aircraft Acquisition Committee, Bob Bogash, approached United’s then top managers Ed Carlson and Dick Ferris and asked for the 727 upon its retirement. United agreed. On 23 January 1988 N7001U was present during an official museum ceremony, a few years before it was actually retired. On 13 January 1991, newly repainted in its original United colours, it flew revenue trip 838 SFO – SEA, and was then ferried to Boeing Field for a final acceptance ceremony at the museum. It made one last flight to the museum’s Paine Field Restoration Center and Reserve Collection.
United removed many major parts from the airliner to use as spares for its remaining fleet of 727s and the museum was left with a significant challenge with its goal to restore the aircraft to airworthy condition. After a few idle years the restoration began in earnest in 2001, and grew significantly with the donation of two more 727s for parts. On 6 March 2004, Federal Express donated a 727-100 to the museum and in September 2005, Clay Lacey donated a 727-200. For the past fifteen years, dozens of enthusiastic volunteers have helped bring the aeroplane back to life. Fedex has been a long-time partner on the project, and recently donated the engines that powered the 727 on its final flight.