A week at BFI - Wednesday
WEDNESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2010
I got to the field at 1040 today and caught my first Boeing test
flight, an American 737-823, shortly after. The weather was partly
cloudy with sun breaks when I arrived, but it slowly turned into a
bright overcast as the day went on. I caught two other 737NG test
flights, one Hainan
Airlines 737-84P and another Ryanair
737-8AS. BOE001, the
first 787, departed in dreary grey overcast conditions and was
followed out an hour later by the leased
T-38A chase plane, which would take pictures and monitor the high speed flying
characteristics and the flutter testing the Boeing 787 programme is
currently studying. BOE002
was also flying today, but it must have left before I got to the
field and arrived after I had left. Bummer.
There wasn't much non-Boeing test flight activity today,
but I did catch a visiting US Justice Department MD-83. These MD-83's
fly JPATS flights, which transport felons to other prison facilities
elsewhere around the country. The JPATS flights are common visitors
to the field and usually arrive and depart in the mid morning.
Due to numerous internet rumours that surfaced late last week
about the fourth 787 flying for the first time, I set up flight
aware alert so I would get a text message letting me know when BOE004
would fly. Well I got that text message today and it detailed that
BOE004 would depart Paine Field (PAE) at 1000 and arrive at BFI at
1340. The flight left a tad late because of low ceilings at PAE,
which pushed back it's actual departure time to 1142. I patiently
waited at BFI shooting small general aviation aircraft to pass the
time. After rain showers for half an hour, the sun came out just as I
heard BOE004 call in on Seattle approach at 1430. When BOE004
arrived at 1440, it was in full sun with a dramatic dark grey background. I
couldn't have asked for better shooting conditions as a photographer.
It was better than if it were a clear sunny day out.
As an added bonus to the fourth 787 coming in, N757A
arrived from Edwards AFB. N757A is the very first 757 outfitted with
a F-22 Raptor wing attached above the forward fuselage and also sports a Raptor
nosecone on the nose of the airplane. This plane has been used by the Boeing Integrated
Defense Systems (IDS) for many years, flight testing the components Boeing IDS
makes for the F-22. N757A is based at BFI and flies as "Boeing Five-Seven-Alpha." Sadly, this plane only flies about 15-20 times a year if you're lucky. So seeing that was a good way to end another long and eventful day of spotting at BFI.