Former American Airlines 727 Scrapped At Boeing Field

**Update: 15/11/21  @16:55 UTC – King County has provided Simple Flying with a statement regarding the seizing of the former American Airlines Boeing 727. 

Earlier this week, King County’s officials in Washington seized a former American Airlines Boeing B727-200 and scrapped it. The decision came even when the aircraft was supposed to be ferried over to the Airline History Museum in Kansas City. Let’s investigate further.

Former American Airlines 727 Scrapped At Boeing Field
American Airlines operated this aircraft between 1978 and 2003. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons.

The history of the aircraft

The Boeing 727-223 we are talking about had a tail number N874AA. It was stored away at Boeing Field in Washington.

American Airlines first took delivery of N874AA in April 1978, where it spent its entire commercial career. The carrier donated the aircraft to the Museum of Flight in 2003 and held many meet-ups, galas, and events.

Nonetheless, a few years ago the Museum of Flight acquired the very first Boeing 727, which was delivered in 1963. This decision made N874AA need a new home. That’s when the Airline History Museum in Kansas City entered the scene and took possession of the aircraft on March 4, 2016.

Even though the Airline History Museum took possession of the plane, it couldn’t move it to Kansas because of its airworthy condition. The Museum wrote on its website,

“Your help is desperately needed to make this airplane airworthy so that it can be flown to its new home in Kansas City, Missouri.  Fortunately, the airframe remains complete with all major systems intact and operational; however, a big airplane requires a lot of space, insurance coverage, and many gallons of expensive jet fuel to simply test the engines.  Without your help, this piece of aviation history remains at risk of scrapping.”

Former American Airlines 727 Scrapped At Boeing Field
The aircraft remained idle at Boeing Field in Washington. Photo: InSapphoWeTrust via Wikimedia Commons.

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Now, it is gone

Despite the efforts of the Airline History Museum, it seems that N874AA has ended its days. On Thursday, a Facebook page dedicated to sharing news about the refurbishment and ferrying of the aircraft posted,

“King County has seized the aircraft and scrapped the airplane. There are many parts to this story, and it is incomprehensible why the county has refused to communicate with our organization or the new owners to allow maintenance work to commence and simply ferry the aircraft out.”

According to the story, Boeing Field airport authorities declared the aircraft not airworthy by themselves. Whether the airport management had the power to state that the plane would never be able to fly again or not remains in question.

It is unclear what will happen next.

King County issued a statement regarding the subject. It said,

A derelict 727 at King County International Airport–Boeing Field (KCIA) was dismantled and disposed of during the week of Nov. 8. As much of the plane as possible will be recycled, and the disposal will be done by a qualified aircraft disassembly and recycling contractor in accordance with federal and state regulations. The 727, manufactured in 1978, is no longer airworthy according to the FAA. The aircraft’s former owner, the Airline History Museum (AHM) in Kansas City, had originally hoped to fly the plane to Missouri for display. Unfortunately, AHM has not paid rent to KCIA in years and has not responded to multiple requests to move the plane. This puts them in breach of contract.”

King County added that a court action declared the aircraft a nuisance and allowed the local authorities to remove the plane. The County looked to enter into an agreement with the Museum to relocate or retrieve the aircraft, to no avail.

Other aircraft at the Airline History Museum

The former American Airlines aircraft was supposed to be a part of the Airline History Museum’s exhibition.

Currently, the Museum has many other aircraft and spacecraft available on display, according to its website. For instance, it has the TWA Moonliner, a 38-foot scale replica of a Moonliner passenger rocket concept.

The Museum also has a Lockheed L-1049 Constellation, registration N6937C, that has appeared in many movies like Ace Ventura and The Aviator.

There’s also a former Trans World Airlines Lockheed L-1011 Tristar. The Museum received this airplane on January 30, 2010. It is permanently parked south of the museum’s hangar, with the tail extending beyond the fence line. The Museum administration uses the aircraft to promote interest in aviation among younger generations. If it not because of the latest developments, former American Airlines B727-200 would have fulfilled a similar role.

Did you ever visit former American Airlines’ B727-200, registration N874AA? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.