From the 707 to the 787, Boeing has over 60 years of development in the 7X7 series. Some lucky travelers may have flown on all of them, but for most of us, it’s enough of a challenge simply to have seen them all. Boeing helped once, in 2016, by lining up the whole series as part of its centenary celebration. It would be great if this was a more regular event!
The Boeing 7X7 series
Boeing started the 7X7 series with the 707 in the 1950s. As the first truly successful jet aircraft, this ushered in the jet age. The 727 that followed it sealed Boeing’s reputation as a dominant commercial jet manufacturer and began the 7X7 series that remains today.
These catchy-sounding names have worked well for Boeing and its evolving developments. But where did they come from? Simple Flying took at this recently, considering several possible answers. Rather than being anything to do with capacity (as Airbus originally) used, the 700 designator was Boeing’s standard for jet aircraft (600 was used for missiles and rockets, 500 for turbo-engine aircraft, and 300 for propeller aircraft).
The second ‘seven’ was a marketing move to create better-sounding names. We can’t argue that it hasn’t worked.
With a history spanning so long, and different bases of operation, it is unusual to see some of these aircraft together. Aviation enthusiasts, of course, know this, and Boeing does as well. In the 2010s, a couple of lineups were organized at Boeing Field to bring them together.
Centennial lineup in 2016
As part of its 100-year celebrations in 2016, Boeing organized several events and roadshows. One of these was a static display at Boeing Field near Seattle, Washington. This saw the whole historic lineup from the 707 through to the 787 displayed together on the taxiway next to the main runway.
This amazing line-up consisted of the following aircraft:
- An Omega Air Boeing 707, used as a military refueling aircraft.
- A Delta Air Lines Boeing 717 (nicely representing McDonnell Douglas in the lineup, as the former MD-95).
- Boeing 727 in original United livery, now owned by the Museum of Flight.
- Alaska Airlines 737-900 (painted in a special Boeing 100th anniversary livery).
- A 747-8F freighter from Cathay Pacific.
- A United Airlines 757.
- FedEx 767-300 freighter.
- An Emirates 777-300ER.
- ANA’s new 787-9 (which had previously been demonstrated at Farnborough Airshow in the UK).
And a second lineup
There was another lineup organized by Boeing that is often shared in photographs online. This was also at Boeing Field, circa 2007. Sadly (and surprisingly), it missed out the Boeing 787 but still managed the rest of the series.
This lineup featured an AirTran Airways 717 (appropriate as it was the largest operator of the type), a FedEx 727 freighter, an Air France 777, and a 747 used a test aircraft for other developments (painted in 787 livery).
See the image below shared on Twitter:
Boeing’s planes in numerical order. From left to right: 777, 767, 757, 747, 737, 727, 717, 707. pic.twitter.com/TJt1Swrn8s
— Aviationdaily✈️الطيران يوميآ (@Aviationdailyy) February 6, 2018
And another view of this lineup from the front, as shared by BAA Training Aviation Academy.
— Aviation Academy (@BAATraining) December 28, 2016
Were you lucky enough to see either of these lineups? What other manufacturer lineups have you seen or heard of? Let us know in the comments.