The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine commercial jet airliner. It first flew in 1963 and for over a decade, Boeing 727 was considered the most produced commercial jet airliner in the world. 1,831 Boeing 727s were delivered. The Boeing 727s sales record for the most jets bought in history was broken in the early 1990s by the Boeing 737. In August 2006, a total of 127 Boeing 727-100 aircraft and 493 Boeing 727-200 aircraft were in airline service.
The Boeing 727-200 is a stretched version of the 727-100. The -200 is 20 feet longer (153 feet, 2 inches) than the -100 (133 feet, 2 inches). A ten foot ""plug"" was added in front of the wings and another ten foot ""plug"" was added behind them. The wing span and height remain the same on both the -100 and -200 (108 feet and 34 feet, respectively). The gross weight was increased from 169,000 to 209,500 pounds. The dorsal intake of the number 2 engine was also redesigned to be round in shape, as opposed to oval as it was on the 100 series.
At the turn of the 21st century, the 727 was still in service with a few airline fleets. However, because in the meantime the U.S. FAA and the ICAO had changed their requirements for overwater operations, most major airlines had already begun to switch to twinjets, aircraft with only two engines, which are more fuel-efficient and quieter than the notoriously loud three-engined 727. Also, the 727 was one of the last airliners in service to have a three-person flight crew, including a flight engineer, a crewmember whose job is performed by computerized systems on newer planes.
The Boeing 727 proved very successful with airlines worldwide partly because of its capability to use smaller runways while still flying medium range routes. Thus, Boeing 727 effectively allowed airlines to attract passengers from cities with large populations but smaller airports to worldwide tourist destinations.