A week at BFI - Monday
This is the first post of five I have planned for this week
describing the aircraft moments at Boeing Field from my perspective
as an airplane spotter. Due to my unique work and education schedule,
I'm able to go spotting every day of the week at virtually any time of the day. Some think I'm sick,
others are full of envy. Whatever your opinion, the reason I'm
writing this up is to try and give some insight to spotters who plan
on visiting the area this upcoming spring and summer. I get asked all
the time “How busy is Boeing Field?” or “How many test flights
go out a day?” Well take a read and find out.
MONDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2010
The weather here in Seattle has been just phenomenal the past few
days. Ever since last Wednesday there have been clear blue skies as far as the eye can see.
It's quite rare we get weather like this in February, a month that I
regard as one of our worst months for weather in the Puget Sound region.
I arrived to the field at 1030 after checking out the Boeing
Seattle flightline from the east side of the airport. I saw a
Norwegian Air Shuttle 737-8JP had been rolled out of paint over the weekend,
one of my favourite airlines to shoot. I also saw the first 787,
which spent the weekend at Grant County International Airport (MWH),
had both its' engine's being worked on. After my daily look at
the flightline, I drove over to the west side of the airport to
Midfield airpark, a public spotting location that's best for when the
airport is in a South flow.
The first Boeing commercial airplanes activity of the day was
around 1100. "Boeing 571 Experimental," a Continental
737-824, departed for MWH on a test flight. This plane is a testing
out a new "737NG Performance Improvement Package," hence
the "Experimental" in the callsign. I cannot elaborate any
further on the vague flight test description as I don't know anything
more about it. Around 1130, the next Boeing aircraft was a WestJet
737-7CT delivery flight to YYC. The takeoff roll was longer than
usual, but I didn't mind as it rotated just abeam my spotting
location. Shortly after the WestJet delivery flight, two B1's,
or 737's that departed Renton Municipal Airport (RNT) of their first
flight, arrived one after the other to BFI. The planes were an
American Airlines 737-823 and JAL Express 737-846; both unpainted in
green temporary protective coating (TPC). At 1220 was the last Boeing
test flight to go out while I was at BFI. It was a painted (or should
I say polished) American 737-823 flying as "Boeing 238,"
flying a one hour round robin flight back to BFI.
Most days BFI can have some interesting business jets come
through. It's no Van Nuys or London Luton, but BFI gets some decent
jets that keep me entertained in between Boeing test flights.
However, this Monday was pretty slow. Painfully slow. I can't
remember a slower weekday in recent memory. Of course as a three year
veteran of this hobby, I came prepared with a book and crossword
puzzle. After a short nap with the radio scanner on, I left the field
a bit early at 1440 due to lack of activity.