The ceremonial last flight of FedEx's 727 took place today at Memphis International Airport. Flight no. FDX727, arriving from Indianapolis, made a low pass over the airport before circling to land at approximately 13:14 local time. Saluted by water cannons, the aircraft taxied to a FedEx hangar where it was greeted by a group of FedEx executives and employees. The aircraft with this honor was N481FE, an ex-Braniff 727-227 built in 1978 and acquired by FedEx in 1990.
Fred Smith, FedEx founder, Chairman, President and CEO of FedEx, was on hand to accept the "keys" to the retired aircraft from the pilots.
While there will be a few more revenue flights before the month is over and the inevitable ferry flights to get the remaining FedEx 727s to their new homes or final resting places, today's ceremony was a chance to say goodbye to an aircraft that, in the words of Fred Smith addressing the crowd, "... set the stage for us to grow from a startup into the world's largest air cargo and air express company."
N481FE is greeted with a water cannon salute.
N481FE shutting down its engines.
The pilots disembarking and handing over the "keys" to the jet.
FedEx founder, Chairman, President and CEO, Fred Smith, addresses the crowd.
One last look as the crowd disperses.
Photo credits: Brian Bostick