Employees tour retro aircraft before its final flight - United Hub

Employees tour retro aircraft before its final flight

By The Hub team, March 09, 2016

By chance, Chicago O'Hare 777 First Officer Kim Kuyk-Novotny was assigned to fly the last Boeing 727 standard model aircraft on its retirement flight more than 20 years ago, so she was thrilled at the recent chance to tour another historic 727 – the first 727 United ever flew.

Twenty-five years after United donated is the aircraft to Boeing's Museum of Flight, a dedicated team has restored it to flightworthy condition, and a few lucky employees, including Kim, were able to take a tour of it.

"It's the coolest thing that's ever happened to me at United," Kim said.

That's high praise from a woman who joined United 38 years ago as a flight attendant when she was just out of college. But, after her first month on the job, she was convinced she wanted to fly as a pilot. "I started taking flying lessons, built up thousands of hours flying skydiving planes and did a stint at Trans World Express," she said. "United hired me as a DC-10 engineer, but my first flight seat was on the 727."

The 727 was the first Boeing jetliner to undergo rigorous fatigue testing, the first to have completely powered flight controls, the first to use triple-slotted flaps and the first to have an auxiliary power unit.

San Francisco 777 First Officer Kim Weinstein, another tour guest, was a flight engineer on the 727. "The interior and the cockpit brought back so many memories of how exciting that was," she said. "They found and restored every little gauge and switch, the fuel tanks and all the mechanical parts for the elevator, flight controls, fuel and electrical system for an aircraft that had been sitting out in the rain for 25 years. It was a labor of love."

"The interior and the cockpit brought back so many memories of how exciting that was."– 777 First Officer Kim Weinstein

London-Heathrow Station Operations Duty Controller Peter Barnes compared it to stepping into another time. "No inflight entertainment. The color schemes – gosh, were they really popular?" he joked. Peter jumped at the chance to tour the 727 restoration. "I do love my airplanes. I was very touched to be invited and I appreciate it very much."

San Francisco 777 Captain Tad Gordon, another 727 tour guest and who is headed to 787 training in a few weeks, said, "When I was a kid, the 727 was the latest and greatest technology – but the 727 technology and the DC-3s I flew in the military represent 1940s technology. Now, with the 787, we have ring laser gyros and liquid crystal displays. It's a great transition, phasing out a lot of the older technologies, and it's representative of the good, positive changes in our culture."

Boeing flew the 727 from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, to Boeing Field last week. The plane's flight is part of the museum's year-long recognition of The Boeing Company's centennial. The Museum expects to open the 727 to the public in the Air Park during the summer and then move it to the Aviation Pavilion in the fall, where it will join a prototype Boeing 737 and Boeing 747 for permanent exhibition.

Watch the video below featuring special employee behind-the-scenes tours of the aircraft, which took place two days prior to its final flight.

United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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