Resurrection of The First 727
2020 John A.Catanzaro
Prototype in Service
The only commercial prototype to go into commercial service and log record breaking flight hours. This beautiful airplane is a true workhorse. An commercial jetliner with an impressive service record!
What a privilege to get this #1 727 beautiful airplane flight worthy to be placed on permanent display at the Seattle Museum of Flight.
It was parked at Paine Field for over 30 years with no engines, no power, no active flight controls. We awaken all systems and complied with all FAA requirements for every system on the airplane.
When we first applied power to the airplane, all kinds of electrical odiferous smells were noticed by all of us. We looked at every inch of the electrical system to be sure all was safe and operational for numerous hours. Beginning from flight deck, to electronics bay, all access panels, interior of airplane from nose to tail.
When we pressurized the hydraulics it was like Mount Vesuvius spraying hydraulic fluid like a fountain 100 plus feet in the air from its distinctive T-Tail. The entire T-Tail cradle and fight surface was replaced.
When we activated flight controls creaking, shaking and snapping of rigging. Fuel tanks cleaned, tested and pressurized. Landing lights removed and replaced. New tires were installed. Airplane cleaned, painted and polished.
When we started the newly remodeled engines that we. reconfigured to make right and left engines because we were only donated center engines. We performed engine tests on all three engines on first try they started right up and were ready to roll. This was the beginning of several hours of engine tests and run ups. Take off rolls with maximum power engine. performance requirements were met similar to that of new commercial airplanes coming out of the Boeing factory.
We worked on the airplane for operational flight worthiness intensely for 18 months! Including all requirements of operational numerous engine runs, APU testing, hydraulic power and flight control testing, instrumentation testing. pre-take off roll, braking requirements and all preflight sign offs required by FAA.
It made its first and last flight after 3 decades of just sitting on the ramp. The crew of us had great fun, pride and all of us learning about this first 727 prototype that was placed in commercial service with a record breaking number of flight hours! The airplane was older than some of our team members, so much was learned about this workhorse novel 727!
An honor to be on the restoration team as lead aircraft systems operations person on the this momentous celebration from resurrection to pre-takeoff, takeoff, landing and the sanctimonious spraying arch coming into Boeing field!
I was so joyous when asked to sign my name alongside the flight crew and my dear friends that were inspirational project engineers that I worked side by side with for 18 months.
Engines are being reconfigured. In these two photos, I am leading the team in reconfiguring exhaust and compressor sections.
My friends, Boeing builds a quality product and many companies go through challenging changes to be better than before!