Stolen 727 still missing


Staff member
Am following the story, off and on, about that 727 that was stolen from Angola by one guy about a week and a half ago.

Doug, how easy would it be for one guy to steal a 727? How would he operate the FE panel for start/taxi/takeoff? Would he need to?


New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Pretty easy if you could get the engines started and the generators online. You could pretty much get the APU going, crank all three, synch the generators, turn the packs on and hop in the seat for the ride of your life.

Not that hard if you have a little training.

From a pure systems standpoint, the captain and first officer in a 727 are more or less ballast!

Example: Generator Failure

FO/Capt: Protect Essential!
Engineer: Switches over to the next generator, starts procedures
FO/Capt: Continue dinner, idle conversation until engineer says "procedure complete"


Well-Known Member
There are some great stories about Capt. Charles B---- of the original Piedmont (pre-USAir.)

Apparently he managed to take a 727 to Vegas on night to hit the casinos and had it back before the first flight in the morning. He paid for the fuel with his winnings!

I've heard different versions of the story that involve him taking the crew with him, but a few insist he did it solo at least once.


Well-Known Member

<font color="blue"> April 30, 2003
CLIMBTO350.COM (B-727 Captain, First Offcer, Flight Engineer)
United States to Africa Ferry Flight
Tel: no calls
Fax: no faxes
Email: Click Here to Apply
Web Site: is currently accepting resumes for one of it's clients. Their requirement is for a CURRENT and QUAILIFIED B727 Crew to do a one time ferry from the US West Coast to Nigeria within the next few weeks. Pay will be Captain: $500 per day, FO &amp; FE: $350 per day plus $50 a day per diem. Please note that we have nothing to do with the crew selection, pay etc as we are only forwarding resumes. ONLY CURRENT and QUAILIFIED crewmembers need apply.


Another update to the story:

The mystery of the Boeing 727 jet missing since it left Angola with extra fuel tanks on May 25 deepened this weekend when the family of an American pilot said they feared he had taken the plane and crashed.

The jet took off from Luanda airport where it had been standing for 14 months. It hasn't been seen or heard from since. Speculation about what has happened to it ranges from terrorism to fuel smuggling and theft and fears have been expressed that it could have been stolen to be used in a September 11-type terror attack in Africa.

This week, the family of 51-year-old Miami pilot Ben Padilla expressed fears that he had flown it from Luanda airport without permission and had since crashed. US authorities have named Padilla and John Mikel Mutantu in connection with the Boeing's disappearance.

Padilla's brother Joseph earlier said he feared that after 14 months without service, the Boeing's hydraulics might have failed in the air. He rejected any suggestion that his brother might have been involved in terrorism or crime and called him an American patriot.

It is not clear who owned the plane but Padilla's sister, Benita Padilla-Kirkland, told a Florida newspaper that Padilla had been hired by a Miami firm to repossess the plane after Angola Air failed to make payments on it. The Miami company listed on aviation websites as the plane's owner, Aerospace Sales &amp; Leasing Co Inc, could not be reached for comment. Padilla-Kirkland said the family suspected Padilla was flying the Boeing that took off from Angola on May 25 and may have crashed somewhere in Africa. Padilla is an aircraft mechanic and pilot who has flown cargo planes around the world for two decades.

Padilla responded last month to an e-mail from a relative informing him that his mother was in hospital after a heart attack. More than a month later, his mother is recovering in Pensacola, but the family still hasn't heard from him. "I know (he) would have called my mother," Padilla-Kirkland said. "His last e-mail said he would call her when he could, and the fact that he has not called her is the first clear sign that he's unable to because he has either crashed or is being held against his will."



Well-Known Member
Oh man, I just hope that thing doesn't fall into the wrong hands. I'm sure if they tried anything on American soil, we'd shoot it down first and then ask questions later, but still...


Antisocial Monster
Soo......ahhh..........can't NORAD see like everything that gets into the air all over the world? If that's the case...why don't they just look back at the logs when they think it went missing?


John herreshoff


New Member
Just a shot in the dark, but if that 727 had the transponder OFF and remained at low altitude for the duration of its flight, isnt there a chance that nobody would have seen it on radar? I dont know much about how sophisticated NORAD's equipment is, but I would think if it works for smugglers, it would work in this situation as well.


New Member
well they did (norad) the concord crash. a pal of mine works in the center that basically monitors all rocket launches with IR sats... they got an alarm of an unscheduled launch, turns out it was the plane crashing.


We are talking about being in the heart of Africa you are more likely to find out about a crash because there is a stampede of scared elephants coming your way then technology pointing it out.


Well-Known Member
When I first saw that article this morning I immediately thought of the missing 727, it wouldn't surprise me. I guess we'll see.


Island Bus Driver
CNN Headline news was showing some footage of the plane. They also showed a quick shot the N number. I copied it down as N4610. If that is correct, and it hasn't been changed that N number belonged to a old national airlines 727 ( pic ). Well, I guess we'll see what the deal is.



The article says this plane was a 727-100. I think American operated only -200s

NPR stated that "an American company" sold the plane to an African outfit last week.