Busy days at BFI
As I write this it's late Wednesday evening, but it feels like it's already the end of the week. The past four days have been quite eventful as one 787 and two 747-8F's have departed on their first flights from Paine Field (PAE) and arrived at Boeing Field (BFI). Also, ground testing on airplane four (787 ZA004) and two P-8A Poseidon's have been on going throughout the week.
On Sunday morning I went to BFI to catch a Garuda Indonesia 737-800. While waiting, I heard on the Boeing TM frequency that 787 airplane one (ZA001) was going to fly, but today was a little different. On this particular test flight their gross takeoff weight was 502,400 lbs (227,000 kg), or only 100 lbs under the 787-8's Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW). After hearing how heavy they were, I decided this was a good opportunity to try and get a head on rotation shot. I went to the end of runway 13R to get the shot below.
Boeing Field's runway is 10000 ft (3048 m) long, and based on reports from other observers who saw the takeoff from another angle, it looks like the plane rotated at 8900 ft (2712 m).
After that excitement, airplane three (ZA003) filed a flight plan to fly from Paine Field (PAE) to Grant County (MWH) for a touch and go and a low approach, and then arrive to BFI after a routine two hour first flight. Airplane three is the fourth 787 to fly and will test and demonstrate the new cabin features that Boeing has been marketing.
While airplane three was airborne, we got word that the third 747-8F test airplane was going to fly the same day as well. However, the flight times were quite unpleasant. The ETA to BFI was around 1830-1900, and to make matters worse, the clouds rolled in turning a sunny Sunday morning into a dull overcast afternoon.
As reported, the second 747-8F test aircraft, the third one to fly, took it's first flight early Wednesday afternoon from PAE and arrived to BFI a little more than two hours later in some wonderful picturesque conditions.
Upon landing, a Boeing Company CT-33 chase plane, N109X, followed the airplane in flying about 100 ft above my head as I took the shot seen above. Talk about a distraction :)