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A Fedex 727 (Photo: Eric Prado, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

FedEx Boeing 727s: Where Are They Now?

Federal Express operated the Boeing 727 for 35 years. It took delivery of the first aircraft in 1978. Initial acquisitions were from other carriers before the Memphis, Tenn.-based airline purchased new aircraft from Boeing. In fact, they took delivery of the very last 727 built in 1984. Line number 1832, registered N217FE.

Now as the world’s largest express transportation carrier for cargo and freight, the airline operated up to 170 727s at any one time. At one point it was the world’s largest operator of the 727 which became the workhorse for the company. Now, FedEx serves over 650 airports in more than 220 countries and territories.

Now known as FedEx Express, it began retiring its 727-200 fleet in 2007 with the last flight on June 13, 2013. It replaced the narrowbody freighter with more modern Boeing 757 aircraft, later followed by Boeing 767s. It currently has 119 757s and 114 767s with 13 more on order, as the company’s aircraft modernization strategy comes to an end.

A crew member for 35 years at the time said, “The 727 was a mainstay aircraft and one of the most dependable we ever had in our fleet. More importantly, it was the plane that really put FedEx on the map as an overnight express carrier,” concluding with, “It’s the end of an era, but it’s only natural because of changing technology that improves the fuel and operational efficiencies of today’s new aircraft.  The 727, for many pilots, will always be the airplane that really brought the airline industry into the jet age.”

 

N136FE Mohawk Valley Community College, Rome Griffiss Airport

N136FE was donated to Mohawk Valley Community College, Rome Griffiss Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Mark Evans)

So what happened to them? A few found their way to other carriers while many found their way to storage yards like Victorville, Calif. and eventually broke up. However, FedEx saw the potential to give back to the aviation community. Upon retirement, It was kind enough to donate many of the aircraft to aviation schools, colleges and local communities.

 

N151FE Big Band Community College, Moses Lake, WA

N151FE was donated to Big Band Community College, Moses Lake, WA. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Mark Evans)

They can be seen throughout the U.S. supporting school curriculums that are developing the next generation of aviation professionals. The donated aircraft are also being used for training by emergency response teams at local airports and fire departments. A few have even found homes in other countries.

It is reported that FedEx donated 84 727s, almost half of the fleet. I have a list of 62 that may remain, although it’s clearly subject to change as they don’t survive forever. I know the aircraft donated to Kalamazoo and Jacksonville Cecil Field have been broken up in recent years. Here is a list of where you can find them:

N479FEAlbany – Albany Airport Authority

N485FEAlbuquerque – Albuquerque Aviation Department

N492FEAnchorage – University Of Alaska Merrill Field

N488FEAppleton, WI – Fox Valley Technical College

N234FEAtlantic City – FAA

N487FEAustin – Bergstrom Fire Department

N258FEBattle Creek, MI – Western Michigan University College Of Aviation

N468FEBillings – Logan Fire Department

N275FEBoise – National Interagency Fire Center

N276FEBrunswick, GA – Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

N268FEBuffalo – Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

N257FEChicago – O’Hare Fire Department

N107FEColumbus – State Community College Bolton Field

N272FEDallas – Fort Worth Fire Department

N221FEDayton – Sinclair College

N493FEEverett – Everett Community College Aviation School

N511FEEverett – Everett Community College Aviation School

N467FEFairbanks – University Of Alaska

N135FEFayetteville, AR – Arkansas Aviation Technologies Center

N235FEFort Lauderdale – Fort Lauderdale Aviation Department

N149FEGreensboro, NC – Guilford Technical Community College

N236FEGreenville, SC – USAeroTech Institute

N181FEGreenwood, MS – Mid America Transportation & Aviation Museum

N494FE – Helena, MT – Rocky Mountain Emergency Services Training

N150FEHollywood, FL – Broward College North Perry

N483FEKansas City – Kansas City Airport Authority

N188FELake Charles, LA – Southwest Louisiana Technical Community College

N265FELakeland – Florida Air Museum

N495FELiberal, KS – Mid America Air Museum

N160FE – Memphis – Children’s Museum of Memphis ( Purchased by FedEx but Registration not taken up and never actually flew for them. Previously N7025U with United. Forward Fuselage preserved)

N267FEMemphis – Mid South Community College, West Memphis Municipal Airport

N510FEMemphis – Tennessee Technical Center

N277FEMiami – George T Baker Aviation School

N491FEMojave – LA Police / SWAT Trainer

N151FEMoses Lake, WA – Big Band Community College 

N117FEMurfreesboro – Middle Tennessee State University

N114FENew York – Aviation High School JFK

N233FE – Oakland – College Of Alameda

N279FEPlattsburgh, NY – Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute

N266FERiverside – California Baptist University

N136FERome, NY – Mohawk Valley Community College Griffiss Airport

N191FERoswell – Eastern New Mexico University

N466FESacramento – Sacramento City College McClellan Airport

N223FESacramento – Sacramento Mather Fire Department

N270FEShreveport, LA – Southern University Shreveport Louisiana

N246FESioux City – Mid-America Transportation & Aviation Museum

N264FESpokane – Spokane Community College

N288FESt Louis – Cahokia Fire Department

N489FESt Paul – Minnesota Association Of Women In Aviation, Holman Field

N287FEThief River Falls, MN – Northland Community & Technical College

N486FETucson – Pima College Technical School

N115FETucson – Pima College Technical School

N464FETulsa – Spartan College Of Aeronautics & Technology

N478FEWatertown, SD – Lake Area Technical Institute

N199FEWichita – Kansas Aviation Museum McConnell Airport

N465FEWilliamsport, IA – Pennsylvania College Of Technology

N127FEWinnipeg – Red River College

N219FEChina, Tianjin – Civil Aviation University Of China

N469FEEL Salvador, San Salvador – University Don Bosco Ilopango Airport

N166FEFrance, Paris – Musee De L’Air Et De L’Espace, Le Bourget

N482FETrinidad & Tobago, Port of Spain – Civil Aviation Authority

N269FETurkey, Eskisehir – Anadolu Universites

Author

  • Mark has been interested in aviation since the age of eight when he first went plane spotting at Manchester Airport, England. Trips around various European airports in the following years and then to the USA as a teenager furthered his desire. This led to Mark wanting to work in the industry and at the age of twenty one was accepted to train as an Air Traffic Controller. After training and working for several years in England, Mark moved to Bahrain in the Middle East where he worked for six years. He then moved to Sydney, Australia where he resides today after twenty years in the profession. Mark's pursuit to see planes has seen him visit over 140 countries and territories, including places, like North Korea, Sudan and Iran. He has flown over 1,100 times, visited over 700 airports and can always be found researching his next trip.

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