Boeing 727 Flying Tigers airplane models. With estimates suggesting a potential market for 300 or more aircraft, the first Model 727, a production airplane with United Airlines insignia, made its maiden flight on February 9, 1963. Sales were not up to expectations, and by late 1964 it had become clear to Boeing's management that there was a growing demand for a higher-capacity short-range transport airplane, and the decision to develop a stretched version (10 ft. longer fuselage) of the Model 727, the 727-200, proved the turning point in the marketing of this aircraft. Model sales totaled 1,831 airplanes when production ended in the early 1980s. The 727-200 was standard with three 14,500-lb. thrust Pratt &, Whitney JT8D-9A turbofans, giving the airplane (at maximum takeoff weight) a maximum speed of 621 mph at 20,500 feet, economic cruising speed of 570 mph at 24,700 feet, and a maximum range with maximum payload of 2,487 miles.