After two month of shelter at home, I did finally venture out in the car to see something other than the house or my bike routes. I swung by Paine Field to see some of the stored Southwest 737s that are there. Planes seem to have been arriving and then heading out again so I don’t know what the overall plan is. They also seem to have moved from where they were when they first came in. I got to see a few of them scattered around near FHCAM.
These jets look like they are in place for a while. The nacelle inlet which is normally unpainted metal is currently covered in some black coating which runs on to the inlet blanking. The exhaust ducts are similarly blocked up. The jets are arrayed around the ramp and, while behind the fencing, the use of a monopod with a ball head and the remote shooting app from Canon allowed me to see what the shots looked like and to take the pictures. I went with a few panos since things are rather close to the fence in some places.
I hope these jets are back up and working before too long.
Alaska’s cargo operation has used 737-400 freighters for a while. They are now the launch customer for a cargo conversion of the 737-700. I read about them taking delivery of the first aircraft but wasn’t too focused on seeing one. I almost ignored this departure since SeaTac has a steady stream of Alaska 737s. I did decide to shoot it though when something about it looked different. Sure enough, it was the cargo conversion. A lack of windows and the cargo markings set it apart.
Mark and I were on the south side of Vancouver when a Westjet plane came in. No big deal there but this flight was a charter operation so, instead of heading to the main terminal area, it came straight to us. They taxied straight to us where the passengers were quickly dropped off. The crew then turned the jet around promptly and taxied back out for departure. It was an efficient delivery and a slightly different location to see an airliner being operated.
Online forums can be a great source of information. They can also be full of rubbish. With the introduction of the split scimitar tips on the 737 fleets, Southwest was an early adopter on their 800 series jets. However, I read that they had not been happy with performance and had stopped adopting them. They definitely weren’t going to have them on the 700 series. Above is a 700 series with split scimitars. A number of airframes have now been fitted including this one so I guess those people were not the most accurate source of info!
When APB launched their Scimitar winglet retrofit program, they picked up a number of customer pretty quickly. I was soon seeing them fitted across the 800 and 900 series 737s of a number of operators. United and Alaska both seem to have gone all in pretty quickly. However, I guess the 700 series jets were not such a high priority – maybe the business case is not as compelling. Consequently, I hadn’t seen them fitted to any 700 series jets until I came across this United example. It was the first I had seen in action. I still haven’t seen many so I wonder whether this is going to be a fleet fitment or if United are testing it on a few airframes before making a larger decision. Anyone know?
SFO controllers are known to make some late runway changes for the arriving aircraft. The two runways are very close together to the sidestep maneuver required is not too drastic but it is still not necessarily something the crews want to deal with. A Southwest 737 was on approach and passing near us on the shore when it apparently got the change instructions. We got a sudden topside view as it turned towards us followed by a reversal of bank as it straightened up on the new runway. Compared to the average arrival, this was quite a bit of excitement! Also, if you look closely, you can see another Southwest jet in the background that had just departed.