The grounding of the 737 Max fleet worldwide means that they have been coming off the production line and going in to storage. A few of them were scattered around the Boeing ramp at Paine Field. One was particularly interesting though. It seemed to have the front fuselage wrapped in something while the rear fuselage windows were not covered but had individual panels sealed across them. No idea what this was all about but it did look unusual.
Paul and I were in Vegas for Red Flag but the early morning is also a good time to shoot at McCarran International. The morning light is ideal for the north/south runways and, with the wind playing ball, you can get the iconic McCarran shots of jets taking off with the weird and wonderful hotel buildings behind them. Where else will you get a pyramid and the Empire State Building in the background. Southwest has a big presence at McCarran and we saw a string of their jets head out including one Max8. We watched it climb out little realizing that the grounding order would be coming within hours or even minutes. Whether the jet continued to its destination or turned around, we don’t know but that was its last commercial flight for a while.
If you drive passed Boeing Field at the moment, there are a few 737s parked across the street in the employee parking lot. One is a development Max 7 but the others a new jets awaiting delivery. They are marked up for Jet Airways. Apparently, the airline has cash issues and that might be the reason that delivery has not been taken on these jets.
I may well have seen one of them during its test flying activities. This jet was still unpainted when it made a stop at Everett. You often get jets passing through Everett en route back to BFI but this one was actually making a stop. I assume they completed the test flying and painting of the airframe in the hope that the financing would come to fruition. Apparently, that has not yet happened. Either Jet will come up with the money or these aircraft will be reconfigured for an alternate customer.
The top of the Space Needle is a good place to watch the floatplane traffic in to Lake Union. They tend to fly really close by. Shooting through the glass is not ideal but the passing Otters are too good to pass up. If you can, getting to the gaps between the glass is a good idea but it is hard to do this and get a good angle on the planes as they pass. Boeing also helped out with an Oman Air 737 Max taking off from Boeing Field and coming our way.
Production of the 737s is rapidly transitioning from the NGs to the Max at this point. Still plenty of NGs being built but the Max is no longer a novelty and soon they will be the vast majority of what is coming out of Renton. I have seen a few Air Canada Max 8s and another one was heading out on a test flight while I stopped for lunch at BFI. I like the new Air Canada colors. As with any livery change, there are plenty that don’t appreciate it but I like the combination of retro and new and the fact it isn’t like everything else is good. The bandit eyes are a bit more of an acquired taste but they are fine I guess.