September 2018 Issue

Beyond Flaps

Wing flaps are common on personal airplanes, but they’re not the only way to go slow safely.

Boeing’s 727 has always been one of my all-time favorite airplanes. I’ve never flown in one as anything other than self-loading freight, but I’m old enough to remember when the 727 (and the DC-9) brought jet comfort and performance to smaller, outlying airports where the era’s long-haul mainstays—707s and DC-8s—couldn’t operate. These days, of course, economics—fuel burn, plus the need to pay three pilots—and noise regulations have relegated the venerable three-holer to tramp-freighter status or the scrapyard.

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