Braniff had a long relationship with the Dallas Cowboys NFL team. They had flown the Cowboys to out of state games for 22 years and during that time they had flown them to 5 Super Bowl games, from two of which they returned as champions. In addition they had flown the team to 14 play-offs as well.
With the agreement signed for a 23rd year as the Dallas Cowboys airline Braniff took the opportunity to celebrate by painting one of its 727-227 Advanceds in a special scheme. The 727-227 Advanced had been the backbone of the Braniff fleet throughout the 1970s and with its massive deregulation push it had ordered large numbers of new examples. Between 7 and 9 were added each year from 1975-1980 before mass cancellations of the outstanding order book had become necessary.
The aircraft was rolled out and dedicated on Friday December 18, 1981 from the Braniff Operations and Maintenance Base South Hangar Ramp at Dallas Love Field. It was the first time that the airline had ever named any of its aircraft individually. Following the dedication ceremony the Cowboys boarded their jet and were flown to the last game of the 1991 season against the Giants. Braniff Chairman John Casey noted that:
"Braniff was very proud of its 22-year association with the Cowboys and looked forward to the next 22 years as the carrier of choice for America's Team"
N457BN went on to fly with the 2nd Braniff from March 1984 before, like many of her sisters, she joined Federal Express in 1990. She became N481FE ‘Tiffany’. She flew FedEx’s last scheduled 727 flight on June 21, 2013 and subsequently joined Southern Aircraft Consultancy as N727EL.
Coomer, S. 2016, December. The Rise, Fall & Post Mortem of Braniff International Part II: Ultra Colors, Ultra Problems
2015, December. Braniff History Today. Braniff Flying Colors. Facebook
2010, July. Blast from the past: Braniff's Cowboys 727. Cowboy's Zone.com
29/7/2017 07:48:42 pm
Had Braniff simply remained at around its 1977 size, or simply bought fewer and smaller aircraft (say 737's) for a more targeted hub expansion at Dallas, perhaps they would have survived to the 1986 consolidation, and been bought at a profit by someone else. Even in that era of low load factors--50 percent was widely tolerated--the 727-200 was a lot of airplane to be filling as the milk-run era was winding down and the hub model was coming online.
29/7/2017 08:10:29 pm
A cursive BI would have worked for me. You're right they probably would have been eaten by the mid-80s anyway so historically speaking their charge to oblivion probably makes better reading!
19/12/2018 10:39:48 am
If anyone is still interested in the status of this exact aircraft: N727EL. It is now being scrapped. Took the wings and tail off today. Sad to see.
6/7/2020 09:13:58 pm
Hello Mr. Stretton,
Leave a Reply.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: