The sleek and distinctive 727 jetliner was at the forefront of short-haul aircraft design. Charles Kennedy reviews the type’s development and operational service.

The second prototype and company demonstrator N72700 in formation with All Nippon Airway’s N68650, the fourth 727 to fly. All photos Key Collection unless stated

The jet age began in earnest when Britain’s four-engined de Havilland Comet 4, followed by the Boeing 707, began flying across the Atlantic in 1958. These aircraft shrank the world, but it wasn’t just long-haul destinations that would feel the benefit of the revolutionary new powerplants.

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