Seeing a KC-46 at Boeing Field is not necessarily such a surprise. However, seeing one parked up at the FBO was more unusual. I am not sure whether the aircraft had been accepted and was ready for delivery or had actually come across country for a visit. Either way, a USAF crew was about to fly it back across the country. The size of the taxiways meant that it had to cross the runway to taxi up to the departure end where it could line up and head off on its way east. Was it a delivery? Who knows?
While awaiting the NOAA arrival, I happened to shoot a 737 that was coming directly overhead on its way to SeaTac. I don’t shoot much of these flights but every once in a while, I do like to try and get a symmetrical shot from directly beneath the jet just for the fun of it. As this one came over, I just assumed it was another Alaska 737-900ER since they come in all the time. However, when I looked closely at the shot, I realized it was a United jet and, more importantly, it was actually a Max9. Turns out it was on its delivery flight from Boeing Field so must have only left a few minutes before.
Continuing my interest in Amazon Prime Air 737s, the one I saw arrive from the conversion line in China was ready for delivery to Sun Country – the airline that will be operating it for Amazon. It was a pretty sunny day when it went out so heat haze was a bit of a problem. The jet was towed out from the ATS facility. Once it was just short of the taxiway, they unhooked the jet and started it up. Plenty of heat haze looking across the airfield I’m afraid.
It taxied to the north end of the field and then took off towards me. It was obviously not heavy for its flight to Minneapolis and it was off the ground pretty rapidly. This made for more of a belly shot than would have been ideal but it still looked okay and actually gave me a better look at the color scheme than I had expected. It is quite a paint job that they have.
In this recent post, I showed a shot of an Amazon Prime Air 737. With a bit more notice and better timing from an availability point of view, I saw that another jet was coming in to Paine Field from Anchorage. It was being delivered from the conversion line in China and would have the finishing touches taken care of by ATS at Everett. I was there and set up in plenty of time – except… I had one camera ready to go but the other one had been previously used for some video at home and was on manual focus. I was shooting with the 500mm initially and all was well. As the jet got closer, I switched to the 100-400 and everything was wrong. Nothing would focus. It seemed like forever but I must have realized fast and flicked the focus switch because I was able to shoot it as it came level with me and crossed the threshold. What an amateur mistake. Fortunately, I got away with it!
Boeing was ready to deliver a 787 to Turkish Airlines. Normally these take place from the Delivery Center which is a nice building justifying the large wedge of cash that has just been handed over. Boeing crews usually taxi out from the ramp but customer flights seem to get towed to the ramp entrance. Maybe they don’t trust the customer pilots in amongst all of their expensive jets.
The departure was to the north so they taxied to the south end of the field before lining up for departure. A flight to Istanbul is a decent length but, without any payload, it still doesn’t take long for them to get airborne. Judging by the distance to go boards, they were off in about 4,000’. Consequently, they had reached a decent height by the time they came by my location. They headed off to the north to start the long trip home.
I’ve seen a few Korean Air 777s on test at Everett since we moved here. This one was heading out on a delivery flight on a Friday evening. The only reason it gets a post is that, from what I can discover, this is the last 777 that Korean Air has on order. They have a bunch of 787s to come in the coming years but this is their last 777-300ER. They haven’t ordered the 777X (which, given how many different widebody types they operate, is quite a surprise!).
Summer evenings can be a good time to visit Paine Field as flying seems to be busy and the light is often quite nice. On two separate visits, I saw this FedEx 777F flying. The first time it was on some acceptance flights and it flew an approach followed by a low go around. The gear doors had been blown down prior to this approach and the RAT was deployed. It then flew a pattern and landed.
Next time I saw it, it was heading off to Memphis on its delivery flight. They seemed to have a few issues with the transponder prior to departure which was fine for me as it delayed them until the light was a bit nicer. Not sure I would be so happy to take my new plane with a snag though! Memphis when empty is a piece of cake for a 777F so it made it off the ground pretty speedily.
January 2019 brought a milestone for the USAF. They accepted their first KC-46 Pegasus. Admittedly they accepted it with a number of deferred issues that Boeing has been given a few years to resolve but that are Category 1 deficiencies. I guess this should mean we will see a lot of deliveries in the coming weeks and months.
The backlog of jets parked up is substantial. There are jets parked at Boeing Field on both the military ramp and the flight test ramp. There are more scattered around the Boeing ramp at Everett. More of them are in the conversion area at the south end of Paine Field. More still are parked up across the cross runway. It’s a lot of jets and, if you are an accountant, this is a level of Work In Progress that must make you squirm. We should see them start to head on their way before too long.
Ethiopian Airlines has been taking delivery of some Boeing 777F freighters for their cargo operations. One of the new jets was being readied for delivery while I was at Paine Field. Operations were in a northerly direction so, from the terrace on top of the Future of Flight, we were going to get a good view. I was hoping that a direct flight to Bole in Ethiopia would be sufficiently long to mean that the jet would be very heavy with fuel and would run long on take off giving us a good view of rotation. However, while there was a lot of fuel on board, the lack of any other payload meant it still got off the ground pretty swiftly. Still, it was a good view of the initial climb out.
At various times I have seen the fuselages for new Boeing 737s heading by on the trains through Seattle. Usually I am a distance away from them and I get a shot that is a bit hazy and less than distinct. Recently I was working in a yard alongside the main tracks as some equipment was being loaded. I had my camera to hand to record the loading process as a train came by behind us. Initially I figured it was just another freight train so didn’t pay attention. Then, I caught the color of the fuselages out of the corner of my eye and realized a couple of new jets were onboard. Before it got too much further, I was able to grab a couple of shots.