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 was driving over to Seattle a while back and, as I crossed the I-90 floating bridge, I saw a Learjet maneuvering at low level around the hill ahead of me. I decided to see what was going on since I suspected this might be an FAA jet flying a variety of approaches. Sure enough, it was one of their Lear 60s. I have seen them on a number of occasions before at different airports. Tracking them on something like FlightRadar24, it is easy to work out what they are since they fly a tone of patterns around an airport normally dealing with simple arrivals and departures.
Boeing Field is not such an airport as it has a lot of training activity but the Lear is a bit faster than the average piston single. I didn’t know how long it had been there so it could have gone before I arrived but they still had a few circuits to do before they were finished. These involved a different sequence of approaches from offset positions from which they could take their measurements and then break off to do it again. It is interesting to see a business jet being thrown around like this in a way that would not keep the average customer happy!
The first flight of the 777X took place while I was out of the country which annoyed me quite a bit. Having seen the things sitting around at Everett for ages and even watched the taxi trials, I was in the wrong place when they finally got airborne. However, with an extensive flight test program to come, I knew there would be other opportunities. I did manage to be at Boeing Field for a departure on one of the flights. Conditions weren’t great, though.
With the viewing area closed while Boeing parks 737s wherever it can find a space, I was a long way from the rotation point. It was in the rain as it rolled and, while it stayed below the clouds until well past me, things were not ideal. Still, I had seen it fly.
On another occasion I was able to be there when it returned. This had also been a day with some pretty crummy conditions but this time I was seeing the weather starting to improve as the day wore on. A little bit of a wait while they flew test activities over Central Washington was not such a bad thing. Indeed, as they turned for home, the sun was coming out. However, the wind was not abating!
When they called up on approach, I wandered to one side to see how far up the approach I could see. Despite me being to the right side of the runway from their perspective, when I first got a good shot, the jet was actually pointing beyond me to the right. The crosswind was obviously pretty strong. Early in the flight test program, I wonder whether they really wanted to be testing this capability. Of course this then meant I got a head on view as they got closer before running past me. Shots in nice light! Happy guy. In the next year we shall see plenty of these but, for now, I am happy to have got something reasonable of this airframe off the ground.
A new airliner, fresh from the paint shop, looks splendidly clean. When you have an interesting paint color, things are better still. This Korean Air 777-300ER was making its first flight from Paine Field when I shot it. It looked great in nice light. When delivered to the customer, it will be pristine. Then, regular service will result in it looking a little bit more worn and grubby depending on how much time is available to clean it up. Airbridge dirt marks and others scuffs or leaking fluids will seek to muck it up a bit.
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.
I caught this Gulf Air 787-9 as it returned from a test flight to Paine Field. It was at the end of the SkyFair event so the crew will have noticed that there were a lot of people on hand to witness their landing. Not a particular problem of course but probably one of the few landings of the Boeing production tests to get a large crowd.
I was walking along the trail that goes through the park next to the airport at Renton taking a look at the stored jets. There is a bridge across the river that is used by Boeing to move jets from the production areas to the flightline and, as I got close to the bridge, I could see the tractor hooking up to a China Southern 737-800 that had yet to be painted. They looked like they might bring it across the bridge. I figured I might linger and see what was up.
Sure enough, they started to pull the jet out and towards the bridge. I stayed out of the way but the wings of a 737 hang over the trail when they are moving it. This was not a problem so they were happy for me to stand there as the jet was moved out. I figured a little iPhone video was in order.
They pulled the jet onto a taxiway and left it there so I figured it might be heading out on a test flight. With the light now slightly to the other side, I chose to go back to the car and move to the overlook on the west side of the field. The jet was starting up but they clearly had a few things to run through so I had time.
They taxied to the south threshold which initially disappointed me. The wind had flight operations in the other direction which would have meant a takeoff towards us and into the light. Going the other way meant they would be airborne a long way away and heading over the lake. What I hadn’t figured on was, just like at Everett, they would do a run with an abort first prior to flying. They carried this out and were then at the north end of the field.
A turnaround at the far end of the field and they were soon lined up. A floatplane was flying about in the background as they got ready to take off. Then it was power on and rolling. There was a lot of crap in the foreground and this was a bit of an obstruction at the point of rotation but I was able to get some good shots as they got airborne and climbed out past us. The green primer/protective film was glinting in the sun. The flight will have ended at Boeing Field where I hope everything was trouble free.
I nearly missed this one. A JAL 737 was taxiing in at Haneda and the guy next to me seemed very interested in it. He was shooting it when it was still a long way off and I didn’t know why. As it got closer, I could see two Japanese flags flying from the cockpit windows. I figured it must be something so grabbed a few shots. As soon as it was gone, he packed up and left. Talking to someone the following day, he told me that JAL currently has the royal transportation contract and that includes some flights on the narrow body fleet. I guess someone royal was on this flight.
UPS is buying a bunch of 747 freighters at the moment. I have shot a few of them including examples here and here. The route back to Paine Field takes them across our area when the pattern being flown is a northerly. I grabbed the camera to see this primer example heading over. As the plane flew by, there was a lot more noise than would be normal for a jet on the approach and it had a vibrational element which made me think the RAT might be deployed. Sure enough, when I checked the shots, the RAT could be seen under the wing route. This is a normal flight test requirement so nothing to be concerned about but this was the first time I had heard a jet at speed with the RAT out and I was surprised how loud it was.
My luck with KC-46s and bad weather broke recently with a Pegasus launching out of Boeing Field on a glorious day. It was carrying out trials work with a US Navy Hornet. This jet was the subject of its own post. The KC-46 followed it down the runway. It rotated in a good location and the light was so much nicer than I have had recently so I was very happy to get shots of it as it climbed out and headed off to the airspace set aside for testing.