THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2009
I arrived at Boeing Field at 1100 after an attempt to catch a fully painted flyDubai 737-8KN departing nearby Renton Municipal Airport (RNT), but the scheduled Boeing first flight ended up being canceled for reasons unknown to me. As I was driving to BFI, I saw the leased Boeing T-38 chase plane scream out of BFI to monitor the first 787 that left shortly before I arrived.
Things started off slow this morning, but it picked up as the day went on. The first Boeing test flight was a Southwest 737-7H4, a once common airline coming off the 737NG line that seems to be less and less common as time goes on. The next Boeing flight was an arriving GOL 737-8EH that just completed it's first flight unpainted in TPC. Half an hour later, BOE002 left for MWH on a test flight that stayed relatively low flying at 15,000 feet. Meanwhile, BOE001 flew to FL430, it's highest altitude yet, before returning to a sunny BFI around 1500. In the picture above, you can see Chief 787 test pilot Mike Carriker waving to thrilled children along the fence line.
I didn't realize it until just now, but it was another slow day at BFI. Maybe time flew by while reading Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany, an excellent read that I would suggest to anyone who is interested in WWII aviation.
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.
This is the second post of five I'm doing this week detailing the aircraft movements at Boeing Field (BFI) from my perspective as an aircraft spotter. To see Monday's post, click here.
TUESDAY, 23 FEBURARY 2010
Well all good things come to an end. The wonderful sunny days this
area has been having are now gone. Today the weather at the field was
a constant high overcast with some light rain showers in the early
afternoon. I often complain during the summer when there's a streak
of sunny days for a long period of time (I think I've been living
here too long), but I certainly don't complain about it during our
long winter season.
I got BFI earlier than usual today due to a dentist appointment I
foolishly scheduled six months ago for 1200 Noon. Because of this, I had to
go to the field a bit earlier to catch a Hainan Airlines 737-84P
departing BFI at 0950 so I could cross it off my 'to catch' list. You
see, last October I set a goal to catch every 737NG off the line
while on a test flight (ramp shots don't count). It may sounds
simple, but when Boeing makes roughly one 737NG every day and some
planes only fly two test flights before delivery, it's a bit harder
than it may seem (I haven't missed a single 737NG off the line since
October '09...yet). I arrived to the field just as my Hainan was
taxiing to runway 13R and was followed a half hour later by an Air
China 737-89L. Just before I had to leave the field, I caught an
arriving B1 flight of a future Ryanair 737-8AS, a very common airline
to come off the line.
The interesting non-Boeing test flight movement of the day was a
US Navy P-3C Orion from NAS Whidbey Island on a full stop landing (pictured above). It arrived as "DEEP SEA 39" and
taxiied back to the runway for departure. The Orion departed after a
fairly long IFR spacing delay for South Lake Tahoe airport (TVL)
using the same callsign it arrived as. Navy Orion's come through BFI every once and a while for a touch and go or low approach due to the close proximity to their base (roughly 95 km).
After my hour long dentist appointment, I took the short drive
back to BFI to see what else was going on. Nothing else happened that
I was interested in, but then I heard "Boeing 001" (787 No.
1) call into the Boeing telemetry room frequency on my scanner.
Earlier in the day I saw the port side engine being worked on and
figured it wouldn't fly today, but sure enough it did. The airplane
left at 1400 after resolving some minor speed brake and primary
flight display issues. I didn't bother to take a picture of today's
departure because it raining pretty good out at the time, but not to
worry, I've taken many
pictures of it already!
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.
A good amount of tasty deliveries out of Boeing Seattle this week.
Boeing Seattle (BFI):
- 16FEB10 - Garuda Indonesia PK-GML (cn 31763/3177), a 737-8U3.
- 16FEB10 - Air Berlin D-ABKJ (cn 37749/3176), a 737-86J.
- 16FEB10 - KLM PH-BGI (cn 30364/3172), a 737-7K2.
- 17FEB10 - Lion Air PK-LGS (cn 35735/3183), a 737-9GPER.
- 17FEB10 - Ryanair EI-EKL (cn 38498/3179), a 737-8AS.
- 18FEB10 - Arik Air 5N-MJQ (cn 38971/3065), a 737-8JE.
- 18FEB10 - GOL PR-GGX (cn 36596/3180), a 737-8EH.
- 18FEB10 - Ryanair EI-EKM (cn 38499/3181), a 737-8AS.
- 19FEB10 - American N825NN (cn 31087/3178), a 737-823.
- 19FEB10 - Ukraine International UR-PSC (cn 29662/3182), a 737-8HX.
- 20FEB10 - Xiamen Airlines B-5499 (cn 37575/3190), a 737-85C.
Boeing Everett (PAE):
It looks as if Boeing commercial airplanes is leasing a T-38 from Thornton Aircraft to help with flight testing of the 787 and 747-8F. The plane is a 1963 Northrop T-38A Talon, registered N638TC. The plane arrived as "Boeing 63 Tango" on Monday, 15 February to Boeing Field and went to the Boeing 3-350 Bldg (the former B-29 Hangar). Boeing owns a T-38A as well as two CT-33's (one of which is getting heavy maintenance done at the moment). My theory to why this T-38 is in town is because Boeing's own T-38 could be down for maintenance or is an additional chase plane for flight testing.
Today, N638TC accompanied BOE001 (787 No. 1) for high speed flutter tests over Eastern Washington.
I don't how long the plane will be with Boeing, so make sure you take a picture of it while you can.
Boeing Seattle (BFI):
- 10FEB10 - Garuda Indonesia PK-GMK (cn 29666/3171), a 737-8U3.
- 11FEB10 - Ryanair EI-EKI (cn 38496/3168), a 737-8AS.
- 11FEB10 - Ryanair EI-EKK (cn 38500/3174), a 737-8AS.
- 12FEB10 - American N824NN (cn 30916/3170), a 737-823.
- 12FEB10 - Ryanair EI-EKJ (cn 38497/3173), a 737-8AS.
Boeing Everett (PAE):
- 10FEB10 - Cathay Pacific B-KPP (cn 36164/845), a 777-367ER.
- 11FEB10 - Emirates A6-ECZ (cn 38983/847), a 777-31HER.
After a two and a half hour delay due to low ceilings, the
Boeing 747-8F took to the skies for the very first time today flying as
"BOEING 501 Heavy Experimental" departing off of Paine Field's runway
34L. The plane received clearance for an unrestricted climb to 10,000 feet and
was picked up on the departure roll by two Boeing company CT-33 chase planes.
The plane was in the air for a little over three and a half hours and reached a maximum speed of 300 knots with a maximum altitude of 17,000 feet. It was decided between the Boeing company telemetry room and the pilots of BOE501 that they would plan on returning to Paine Field at 1615 local time and did so in some wonderful winter afternoon light.
Today the first 747-8 Freighter, N747EX
(cn 35808/1420), moved under it's own power and performed a series of
high and low speed taxi tests on Paine Field's runway 16R/34L. Yours
truly was there expecting the plane to be on the runway at 0845, but
instead the folks at the Lazy B got their plane out onto the runway a
little after 1330. The plane, using the callsign Boeing 501 Heavy
Experimental, went out on the runway three times over a period of two
hours. According to my count, the plane did three high
speed taxi tests, where the plane gets up to ~80 knots and then slam on the brakes. After each high speed taxi test the plane has to sit on the taxiway for 15-30 minutes to allow the brakes to cool down.
According to a press release from Boeing , taxi tests for the 747-8F are complete and the airplane is ready for it's first flight on Monday morning.
Boeing Seattle (BFI):
- 1FEB10 - American N823NN (cn 29560/3156), a 737-823.
- 2FEB10 - JAL Express JA326J (cn 35355/3159), a 737-846.
- 3FEB10 - GOL PR-GGW (cn 35831/3165), a 737-8EH.
- 3FEB10 - Travel Service OK-TVM (cn 37077/3163), a 737-8FN.
- 5FEB10 - Garuda Indonesia PK-GMG (cn 30141/3166), a 737-8U3.
- 5FEB10 - WestJet C-GWSZ (cn 37092/3164), a 737-8CT.
- 6FEB10 - Air China B-5497 (cn 36751/3167), a 737-89L.
Boeing Everett (PAE):
- Southern Air N774SA (cn 37986/844), a 777-FZB.
A couple things to note about this week's deliveries. The GOL 738 flew to Greensbro, North Carolina to get seats installed at Piedmont Aviation and will leave for Brazil on Monday. The Southern Air 777 Freighter flew to Victorville, California to get painted in Thai Cargo colours.
EDIT: It turns out that the GOL 738 left for Brazil on Friday, 5 Febuary. Thanks to the Puget Sound Boeing test flight blog for the heads up.
The first of six Boeing 777 Long Range Freighters (LRF's) for China Cargo arrived at Paine Field today from the paint shop in Portland, Oregon. The airplane, registered B-2076 (cn 37711/846), ferried from PDX as BOE811 (in future test flights it will fly as BOE096) with a temporary Boeing company registration of N5573S.
The airplane in the background is the second 747-8F. The first 747-8F is scheduled to take it's first flight on Monday, 8 February 2010.
Two weeks ago I spotted an irregular rudder on a WestJet 737-8CT on the Boeing Renton flightline. I figured it would be a special colour scheme, but had no idea what it would look like. Fast forward to this morning and I found out what it looks like:
The starboard side of the plane reads "La garantie qui tient," which I assume is French for "Care-Antee," which is painted on the port side of the plane. The aircraft, a 737-8CT registered as C-GWSZ (cn 37092/3164), is scheduled for delivery on the morning of Friday, 5 Feburary 2010.
Boeing Seattle (BFI):
- 25JAN10 - Travel Service OK-TVL (cn 37076/3147), a 737-8FN.
- 25JAN10 - Ryanair EI-EKF (cn 35025/3152), a 737-8AS.
- 26JAN10 - Xiamen B-5487 (cn 35058/3150), a 737-85C.
- 26JAN10 - China Southern B-5445 (cn 35388/3154), a 737-81B.
- 27JAN10 - Air China B-5496 (cn 36750/3155), a 737-89L.
- 27JAN10 - Air Berlin D-ABKI (cn 37748/3157), a 737-86J.
- 28JAN10 - Ryanair EI-EKG (cn 35021/3161), a 737-8AS.
- 28JAN10 - Ryanair EI-EKH (cn 38493/3162), a 737-8AS.
- 29JAN10 - Xiamen B-5498 (cn 37574/3160), a 737-85C.
Boeing Everett (PAE):
- 24JAN10 - UPS N337UP (cn 37858/986), a 767-34AER.
- 25JAN10 - Cathay Pacific B-KPO (cn 36160/843), a 777-367ER (pictured above).
- 27JAN10 - Emirates A6-ECY (cn 35595/840), a 777-3Q8ER.
- 28JAN10 - Qatar Airways A7-BBF (cn 36018/842), a 777-DZLR.
I'm expecting the upcoming week to be a busy one. Be on the lookout for some special newsworthy posts forthcoming :)
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.
After a two week stay at Paine Field to have it's fuel tanks cleaned, ZA002 flew back to Boeing Field (BFI) after a four hour flight that went all the way down to the Northern California coast and back. It was accompanied by the Boeing Company T-38A chase plane for part of the flight before touching down on BFI's runway One-Three-Right at 1530 local time.
ZA001, the first 787, is still getting flight test equipment installed inside the Boeing flight test hangar at BFI. The fourth 787, which is due to be the third 787 flying, is rumored to fly in early February and join the flight test program shortly thereafter.
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