A workhorse retires


The last FedEx 727 just after setting the brakes on the last revenue flight for FedEx on June 21, 2013.

At one time FedEx was the world’s largest 727 operator, with some 170 of the three-holers. Friday marked the end of the 727 in domestic service.

Lots of grey haired guys at the hangar to see the arrival, they gave us seats in the shade…

FedEx bought the company’s first 727 35 years ago when deregulation released the company from the limits of flying cargo Falcon jets. The company now operates the 777, 757, MD-11, MD-10, A300, and A310. 767’s arrive later this year. The fleet is huge and operates around the globe every day.

The Boss was and still is a visionary man. Thanks, Fred Smith.


Filed under Airplanes, Flying, History

7 responses to “A workhorse retires

  1. Bill Brandt

    Busbob – I had a business partner for many years whose ex-husband was one of the first 10 Fred Smith hired. He was at FedEx when Fred knew every employee by name (and that is after 10 😉 )

    In the early days Fred having no extra capital paid his employees in company stock (or at least partially; don’t have the exact story) – anyway Ex huspand stupidly sold his stock shortly after he got it.

    I admire Fred for a number of things; chiefly for going ahead with his life – and future – on a plan his professor said was doomed to fail.

    Shows you what they know.

    Wasn’t FedEx the biggest Falcon operator too?

    • Think FedEx had 34 DA-20 Falcons in the fleet. Could carry 6200 pounds of freight at the most. One of them now sits in the Air and Space Museum at Dulles, just under the wing of the Concord. To give you an idea of the change in freight loads, a FedEx 777F can carry 200,000 pounds plus a long, long, way.

  2. Bill Brandt

    Busbob – did you ever hear of this story of the 727 – In early testing almost ended in disaster

    Click to access Deep%20Stall.pdf

    • Never heard that story, I guess Boeing solved the problem before the ’27 was certified. Read the story and yikes. Similar to the 747 cargo aircraft out of Kabul recently. Unfortunately, that was not a good ending.

  3. colocomment

    Given the size of the fleet, the company’s been largely accident-free, hasn’t it? I think I remember one crash in, maybe, Missouri or somesuch, some years ago. Can’t seem to remember any others. Could very well be wrong on that, though…. Just my recollection.

    • Sadly, not so. I’ll go out on a limb here and sat that the MD-11 has been very unforgiving in the landing phase, there have been 3 losses at FedEx in the landing phase, one fatal to both crew. There have been 3 MD/DC-10 losses, one due to an inflight fire that started in a shipped item, and 2 from landing accidents, one with a fatigued gear with a crack that collapsed, and one from a crosswind landing gone bad. A 727 flew into the trees at Tallahassee in the dark and crashed but all 3 survived. And there was a Falcon takeoff accident very early in FedEx history. Then there was the famous hijacking attempt that ended on the ground safely but the crew had such terrible injuries from the would-be hijacker that they never flew again.

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