This month’s TCA/AC People Galley features a photo of the first Boeing 727 which was delivered to Air Canada on September 25, 1974. I thought that this would be an appropriate time to do some research on this fleet’s place in Canadian Aviation History. I happened across a particular aircraft that has had a long and colourful career.
The first B-727 to enter service in Canada was registration CF-FUN delivered to Wardair in April 1966. Named for WW1 veteran and bush pilot "Cy Becker", it was the first jet operated by Wardair and was deployed on Trans Atlantic charter service with refueling stopovers required at Gander, Newfoundland. The airline later acquired B707’s with the capacity to offer non stop service to Europe and CF-FUN was moved to a Sun Destination service to California and Mexico.
The aircraft remained in the Wardair fleet, with two short term leases to National Airlines (as N4509 in 1966) and Braniff (as N302BN in 1969), until 1973 when it was acquired by Cruzeiro do Sul of Brazil and registered as PP-CJI where it continued in passenger service for another twenty years.
In 1993 it was acquired by Avesca (later Aerocar) of Columbia and re-registered HK3770 and converted to cargo configuration. Here is where some intrigue begins. It seems that it may have been used for some illegal activities and was seized by the Columbian government and deployed in the Satena (owned by Columbian Air Force) fleet in 1995.
It was withdrawn from service at Bogata in 1997 where is was painted in Aviation de Ejercito livery and converted to a restaurant at the Columbian Army Base. I cannot confirm that the aircraft is still being utilized as a restaurant today. Does anyone have any further information?
Photograph taken at London – Gatwick June 21, 1970 and used by permission of Mr. R.A. Scholefield from his collection at Airliners.net . It is also featured in this issues NetLetter banner.