Two years ago we blogged about the magnificent Boeing 727. Wardair’s former chief engineer, Dan McNiven, was one of the many enjoying this item. Dan reminded me that Wardair had Canada’s first 727 – the world-famous CF-FUN. “FUN” was the first of many 727s to be flown by such other Canadian operators as Air Canada, Air Transat, Cargojet, FirstAir, Kelowna Flightcraft, PWA, Quebecair and Royalair. Cargojet of Hamilton still operates a fleet of 12 of these gorgeous, reliable, profit-making “Three Holers”.
Christened “Cy Becker”, in honour of one of Max Ward’s pioneer bush flying heroes, “FUN” was delivered to Edmonton on March 25, 1966. Naturally, the great Leslie Corness was on hand with his large-format camera to cover the action. Les walked around “FUN” (you could do that back in those “good old days”) shooting various angles. Just lately two of his by-now historic photos popped up in my archives and here they are for you to enjoy. If you need more such material, find yourself of copy of The Max Ward Story and get the solid info about “FUN” from Max Ward himself. There always are copies of such out-of-print books to be found at abebooks.com. Max’s book is essential for anyone seriously interested in Canada’s airline industry.
“FUN” signalled the end in the Wardair fleet of the classic Douglas propliners. Soon, Wardair was known for its ever-growing jetliner fleet – B.727, B.747, DC-10 and A310. Although Wardair eventually faded from the airline scene, one often hears laments for this great company. No one who ever flew on Wardair ever forgets the company’s impeccably turned-out airplanes and the world-class cabin service – chinaware and silverware included. “FUN” served Wardair faithfully until sold in Brazil in 1973. Later, it flew under Colombian registration, but has not been heard of since the mid-1990s (when it likely was sold for beer cans).
Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Bob Bogash and his team at the Museum of Flight continue in their quest to fly (within the next few weeks) the first ever 727 – United Airlines N7001U. Just recently, they taxied it and all systems were “Go”. Here is Bob’s update as of mid-February 2016:
Last week I said:
“This is not the End, but it is the Beginning of the End.”
I think we are now close to the End of the End – at least as far as mechanical work on the airplane is concerned. With 30 work days behind us, the airplane is operational with a few wrap-up jobs yet to accomplish.. There is considerable work left to do, however, on the FAA paperwork side.
Yesterday, the airplane moved under its own power for the first time in over 25 years. It is indeed alive! I wound up taxiing it about 4-5 miles around the airfield, as we accomplished our high power engine trim runs and take-off power checks. Compass checks. For some reason, visions of Shirley Temple singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” kept running through my head.
Only five days after first engine start. We ran the engines numerous times this week and put quite a few hours on the engines and fuel systems, as well as validating the electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic systems.
We bounced back quickly from a potentially big setback when our newly installed elevator feel computer split its case. We have a really great, innovative and resilient team of “can-do” personalities.
We set out to awaken this airplane from 25 years of storage and we have done it – successfully! And it took us just a month to do it (although an incredible amount of work went into that month). We’re still shooting for about March 1. Hopefully, the weather around here will start to do something other than what’s it’s been doing, and doing….
The SOAR team will be down to one man on Monday. David Wittrig, SOAR Leader, is leaving for Newark Sunday to look at a damaged 777. ATS has agreed to allow us to keep the airplane where it is on their ramp until we fly it. They have also agreed to support us during the remaining jobs, as well as three full starts – one for high speed runway taxi runs with the Pilot, one the day before our flight (as a final check), and the final one at Future of Flight when we start up for making the actual flight.
Additional companies have signed up to support; we’re getting new cockpit seat covers from Douglass Interior Products and Cannon Aircraft Interiors; and Alaska Airlines has agreed to supply cockpit emergency equipment.
I had a long meeting with Laurie on Friday and we’re deep into the nitty gritty of Flight Day, right down to fire truck water arches for departure and arrival. Wow-ee!
My Status Report continues to be the primary vehicle for what’s happening.
Check my Master Sked for the details.
Last week, I wrote: “Our Lady has definitely “woken up.” Worth repeating. She’s also famous! Tuesday was her 53rd Birthday.
Finally, here are two other early United 727s that I photographed in 1966. I saw N7052U taxying on a blustery March 20 at Buffalo, then N7066U smoking in to land at Chicago O’Hare on August 26. N7052U later served US Air and Key Airlines. It was scrapped at Greenwood, Missou ri in 1995. In 1988 N7066U went to FedEx as N187FE. Its FedEx days finished, it ended as a training aid at a US Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. **Click on any photo to see it full frame.
Have “FUN” … Larry