Rare sight at Renton
There's one thing that will make me stop whatever I'm doing and run out to get - No, not that ;) This is something airplane related. It's seeing a 737 land at Renton Municipal Airport.
Every 737NG is assembled inside the 4-81/82 building adjacent to Renton Municipal Airport (RNT) in Renton, Washington. It takes about six to ten days for a 737NG to go from being rolled out of the factory to when it's ready to depart from Renton's 1615 meter (5300' ft) runway on it's first flight. After departing Renton, it will end it's two hour B1 test flight upon arriving at Boeing Field where initial flight testing and preparation for delivery is conducted from. It's very rare for a 737 to return to Renton, but once in a blue moon it happens.
Today, Continental's next 737-824, N77520 (cn 31658/3158), returned to RNT flying as 'Boeing 572' from MWH after a flight originating at BFI.
BOE572 (Block YJ572) arrived on runway 34 (formerly runway 33), landing over the city, which is even more rare as Boeing prefers to land from north over Lake Washington for safety reasons. The plane was on a GPS approach for runway 16, but prevailing winds greater than 10 knots made them opt for a right downwind to runway 34. It followed the VASI approach lights in, so it touched down on the runway at about 1219 m (4000' ft) and came to a complete stop in less than 610 m (2000' ft) and then back-taxiied down the runway to the Boeing Renton flightline.
YJ572 returned to Renton with no interior installed in it's cabin due to seat supplier problems that has been plaguing new Continental, Copa, and ANA 737's. My thinking to why YJ572 returned to Renton are, A.) To get seats installed at Renton, and/or B.) Have the plane stored at RNT to make room on the BFI flightline for other 737's while awaiting seats to arrive.