727 Airplane Home

Purchasing a 727

727 parked on ramp at Merill Field

In October of 2022, FLY8MA Flight Training purchased a 727-200 from the University of Alaska Anchorage to repurpose as an educational resource for flight and mechanic students, as well as use for student housing at the FLY8MA Pilot Lodge in Big Lake, Alaska.  The 727 was located after a 7-month search for aircraft that were still flyable, but not being used and potentially destined for the scrap yard.  Our goal was to prevent a good airplane from being turned into beer cans.

Transportingremoving wings from 727-200

The transport of the aircraft was a major undertaking.  The aircraft had landed at Merrill Field in Anchorage, Alaska (an airport with a 4,000′ long runway).  While the landing was possible, flying the aircraft off of that runway and over downtown Anchorage was not a possibility.   The only way to move the aircraft was to remove the wings and transport it via the highway.

727 loaded on transport equipmentThe final dimensions at time of transport were 138′ long and 24′ wide for the main load of the fuselage.  The journey from Anchorage to Big Lake took about 8 hours with an average speed of 7mph.

 

 

Construction

727 on piles foundation at pilot lodge

Once the aircraft was on site there was still about 3 months of work to be done prior to moving it onto its final foundation.  The pilot lodge already had one runway, but to move the aircraft a second runway needed to be built, as well as quite a bit of dirt work to smooth the grade of the overall area.  The final 400′ of moving the airplane onto its steel pile foundation took two days of crane time at a cost of about $20,000.

N492Fe now sits proud on 8′ tall 7″ steel well casing driven 20′ below grade.  Overtime the wings and tail will be re-attached to complete the center piece of the FLY8MA Pilot Lodge.

As of January 2024, the aircraft is ready for spray foam insulation and should be fully “dried-in” and ready for use by summer 2024.

The Final Plan

727 airplane home at the FLY8MA Pilot Lodge

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