FedEx Stage 3 Kit History
As the largest B727 operator in the world, FedEx recognized the need for quieter aircraft as early as 1980 and began initial concept studies in 1981. In 1986, FedEx began formal development of a low-cost Stage 3 noise solution for B727 aircraft to allow continued usage of its fleet into the 21st century. By 1990, the U.S. and European authorities mandated that the operations of noisier aircraft be phased out commencing in 1994, with complete retirement by the year 2000 in the U.S. and 2002 in Europe.
Working in collaboration with Pratt & Whitney, and with technical support from the Boeing Company, FedEx initially certified Stage 3 noise reduction kits for all B727-100 and JT8D-9 powered B727-200s at takeoff weights up to 175,000 lb. A Stage 3 Kit was also certified for JT8D-7 powered B727-200s at takeoff weights up to 178,400 lb. These "Lightweight" Stage 3 Kits received FAA certification in 1989 and 1990.
In August 1992, FedEx completed certification of a "Heavyweight" Stage 3 Kit to support B727-200 aircraft with higher maximum takeoff weights. These kits now accommodate virtually all 727-200s in the world fleet including those having JT8D-17R power maximum takeoff weights of up to 189,000 lb. (-9 thrust), 199,000 lb. (-15 thrust), 204,500 lb. (-17 thrust) and 198,000 lb. (-17R thrust operation).
As of December 2009, firm orders for more than 740 FedEx Stage 3 Kits (shipsets) have been received from more than 60 customers. The kits are marketed through FedEx's aviation marketing subsidiary : FedEx Aviation Services.