While production Max jets awaiting delivery are all over Moses Lake, they aren’t the only 737s stored there. Coming up on the south side, the first jets to be visible were Delta Airlines 737-900ERs. I assume these have been stored here while a substantial portion of the fleet is inactive due to the massive downturn in air travel resulting from the pandemic. No idea how long these jets will be here but I guess Delta will pull them out as they increase the schedules.
There are a number of cranes that operate around the dam structure at Grand Coulee. With the scale of the dam being so large, it is hard to appreciate how big these cranes are. However, the road crosses the edge of the dam at the top and you go across rails in the road surface along which the cranes can traverse. This gives you some idea of just how large it really is. It would have been good to see one in action to give some idea of what it was lifting but that was not to be. Below is a wider view of the dam so you can see how small the crane looks in the grand scheme of things – disguising its true size.
Boeing Field always has the possibility of something interesting going on and a P-8 test flight for a US Navy jet was on the cards while I was there a while back. Even better news was that it wasn’t a long flight that they had planned. Consequently, I was going to be there for both departure and return. Since the jet was lightly loaded, takeoff was not labored and they were well up by the time they were close to me. Still, not a big angle on the jet with the light as it was.
I didn’t head to the approach end for the return as I was waiting for something else. It did mean I was closer to the jet as it rolled out on is landing run. The military ramp for Boeing is at that end of the field so the jet rolled to the end and turned off. Heat haze is always a problem at this time of year but things looked surprisingly good considering.
While walking around on the grounds of Bloedel Reserve, we came across these ferns. The shape of most ferns is pretty familiar. These were unlike anything I had seen before. The ends of the ferns split out into multiple mini fronds. They looked like some sort of lace work that people would have created. Maybe this is nothing new to some of you but I was quite taken but the ornamental nature of these fronds compared to what I have seen previously.
The Growlers weren’t the only things flying at Coupeville while I was there. A bunch of bald eagles were also flying in the vicinity. They were crossing the approach path for the FCLP training which had me a little concerned. I thought they would get lost when the jets showed up but they clearly weren’t very concerned and were used the the jets. They might have got close but they seemed to stay just far enough away to avoid any conflict. A bird strike with a bald eagle would probably be messy for all concerned.
There were many odd shapes on the face of the Grand Coulee Dam. With the water running down in parts and some of the structure of the dam breaking up the smooth face, it was possible to see some unusual patterns in the surface. There were many power lines strung across the water in front of the dam so these could distract from the shapes so I tried moving around to be between each of the lines. With the texture of the face of the dam it was possible to look closely at elements and have no obvious clue what they were.
The huge reduction in air travel – particularly long haul – has resulted in airlines taking a hatchet to their fleets. Lufthansa has been no exception with many jets parked permanently and others in long term storage with a significant question mark hanging over them. The A340-600 fleet is one such fleet. However, while a few of the A340-300s have been put out to grass, a good chunk of the fleet is still in use.
The 300 Series is an underrated airliner. The 600 has longer range and higher payload but it is optimized for the longer range missions and is too much for shorter flights. The 300 is a more versatile type as long as you are not pushing the bounds of payload/range. Consequently, it has hung around a lot longer than might have been expected. With reduced load factors, it is continuing to show its value despite it having been seen as on the way out for many years now.
Lufthansa has started using them on the Seattle run. They are coming in three days a week. The jet arrives around noon and two of the trips are Wednesday and Friday so work means they are hard to get. Sunday is the other day so I decided to give it a go. However, when I got up, flights were on a northerly flow which means no good locations to shoot from and a high and tail on light set up. Not ideal. However, by mid-morning, despite the forecast northerly winds, they had switched to a southerly flow. That meant a water tower shooting location was on the cards so off I went.
I got to the water tower in plenty of time only to notice a lack of arriving jets. Sure enough, they had switched back to a northerly flow. I now had to try and find a new location to shoot from and quickly. I had an idea for somewhere I hadn’t used before so decided to give it a go. I had time to try out on a preceding arrival and my post on that Asiana jet is here. Since things seemed to work okay, I stayed were I was and waited for the jet to arrive. Lufthansa had painted a bunch of their jets in Star Alliance colors but they are now reverting to the mainline livery and happily, that is what I was expecting. No idea how long they shall be around but I shall try again while they are coming here because they will be gone before too long I imagine.
Wandering through the grounds at Bloedel Reserve, we came across a bench for visitors. This bench did not look too inviting and I suspect it hadn’t been used for a while. Maybe this was due to the shutdown period when no one was visiting so no one was sitting on the bench. Alternatively, maybe no one ever sits on the bench. Whatever the reason, this bench has accumulated a decent layer of moss.
The bench is located in a shady spot near water so clearly it is a moist environment. A good place for moss to grow. The bench has plenty of surfaces on which things can get established. It isn’t in the least bit remote, though, so hardly out of the way of regular traffic. Still, with that much moss now on it, I think it is probably not an appealing place for people to sit. Consequently, the moss is going to remain undisturbed. I wonder whether they will clean it off or, if we come back in a year, the bench will be encased in a cushion of moss!
I have posted images of stored 737 Max jets at Boeing Field. However, there is limited space there for storage and far more of the jets have been stored at Moses Lake. I wanted to see how things looked over there which was part of my reason for visiting. As I got close to the field, it wasn’t hard to spot the jets. They are everywhere it seems. The east side of the field has a bunch of them parked up. There are also plenty on the south side of the airport.
I took some shots of them to make panoramas but the fence made it harder to get a good look and the light was on the wrong side by that time in the day. The south side of the field gave some better angles as did places along the road running around the airport. I quite liked the long view across to the large numbers of planes but the heat haze was really harsh so the shots, while giving an idea of how many planes there are, lose something from being so blurred.
The south side of the field had the best light angles and you were quite close to the jets so haze was less of an issue. I like looking through the rows of planes neatly lined up to emphasize just how many of them there are. It seems Boeing is getting closer to restoring their airworthiness so we shall see how quickly they can mobilize to get the jets ready again and how willing the customers are to take delivery at this point!
Heading out of Grand Coulee took me through a town imaginatively named Electric City. I had done a little Googling before making the trip and one of the things I saw in the area was the Gehrke Windmill Garden. I had no idea whether this was worth a look but since I was going to be there, why not stop off. It was a strange little installation. Next to a park, it was set in the middle of the parking lot. Fencing surrounded the garden and within it were a wide array of wind turbines made from anything that the creator could get their hands on. Water funnel, cups, bicycle wheels – you name it. They had been roped in to action as a windmill. All this was right next to the road. Definitely not something I would make a specific visit for but a novelty to check out while passing by – I didn’t even need to take a side turning to get there!