Over six months ago, the Honeywell Boeing 757 testbed ferried from Phoenix – its home base – to Paine Field for maintenance work at ATS. I don’t know whether there were mods to be done too but, with a jet like this, that wouldn’t seem to be a stretch. I only found out it was there when I saw it outside the ATS hangars one time. I figured this was one to watch since it would have to go home at some point.
Whether there was a ton to be done or whether COVID delayed progress, I don’t know. However, it stayed at ATS for a long time. I had an alert on it should a flight plan be filed but nothing happened. I talked to other people up there and we all wondered when it would move. Then, finally a flight plan was filed for a flight coming back to Paine Field. This was good news since it would mean taxi shots, departure and arrival. I headed up. First flight after a long layup is not likely to go smoothly and the time for departure kept slipping and slipping. Eventually, later in the day, the flight disappeared off FlightAware.
A few days later, up it popped online again. Unfortunately, this time it was a flight direct to Phoenix so redelivery. That was unfortunate. So was the fact that we were experiencing some torrential rains. However, this is a rare one so I headed up. As per the last time, the departure time slipped a bit but then it pulled on to the taxiway heading for the runway. Amazingly, the rain had abated and it looked very promising. I got out of the car and walked to the bank to get some shots. At some point, I began to feel some rain drops. Then I felt what seemed to be the stream from a fire hose. The rain came pummeling down and I was instantly soaked. At this point, I was wet so no point heading back to the car.
When they got to the hold point, they stayed around for a while. Then someone came to the door on our side and opened it. I imagine they were getting pretty wet doing this since I was. As it sat there at low power, it was still pulling a vortex into the inlet of one of the engines. Maybe there was a door open warning but they closed it again and then pulled towards the active runway. The plane is covered in graphics pointing at parts of the airframe that have Honeywell technology installed. Its most distinguishing feature, though, is the pylon mounted on the side of the front fuselage on which turboprop engines can be mounted for airborne testing. No engines are there at the moment but the pylon itself is pretty substantial. Coming towards us and then lining up, we had the pylon on our. Side. They powered up and disappeared in to the gloom as they climbed out heading home to Phoenix.
The Convair CV580 has shown up in a couple of posts at least so far. Getting to Everett early one morning prior to heading to Whidbey Island, it was a pleasant surprise to see it out on the ramp. It was even nicer to see the door was open. Before too long the giant square blades of the props started to turn and they were heading off. They did turn the opposite way to what I was hoping for when they taxied but nothing to sniff at. We decided to see whether we could get to the end of the field before they did but they must have taxied smartly and got a quick take off clearance because they were up and away as we drove towards to the runway. Still, a nice start to the day.
I have seen the Honeywell Convair at Paine Field parked up at various times but only once did I catch it flying in. This post includes shots of it which were, unfortunately, on a rather overcast day. A white airframe on a cloudy day is not a great target but its rarity meant I was still pleased to get it. It was due back in at lunchtime recently so I decided to make the quick trip up while eating my lunch. The weather had been crummy but I had seen some gaps developing in the clouds and Everett often is a little clearer than by the office. I figured it might work out.
I got there a little while before it was due in and a clear patch did briefly appear before closing in as an Ameriflight Beech 1900 landed. I looked to the distance and saw potential so waited with fingers crossed. The Convair appeared downwind and then turned on to final. It was a shady shape in a cloudy sky. Had I blown it? As the approach got close in, a burst of light appeared and the airframe jumped out from the background. I was delighted. It touched down, I packed my stuff up and I was back in the office before you knew it!
An older airframe is always a pleasant surprise. While I was at Everett, Honeywell had some people making a visit to Paine Field and they came in the company’s old Convair. This is not the sort of plane you see around much anymore so I was rather pleased to see it show up.