Tag Archives: kpae

The Plane Almost No One Wanted

When Boeing launched the 737NG family, the original models were very similar in size to the previous generation of 737s.  However, there was pressure for more capacity so they added a new model to the family with the 737-900.  A few were sold but it was not a capable enough aircraft and hardly anyone bought any.  Instead, Boeing had to redesign the aircraft with some more capacity after redesigning the rear bulkhead and some more range resulting in the 737-900ER.  This has sold considerably better.  There are still a few -900s around though and Alaska has a few.  They are very early jets and they are not worth the investment for adding winglets so they are some of the few NG generation jets to still have wings with the original wingtips.  Here is one of them arriving at Paine Field.

Alaska Doesn’t Want These Guys

Alaska Airlines likes to advertise that it is “Proudly All Boeing”.  It isn’t of course.  The Q400s and E175s are definitely not Boeing jets.  When they bought Virgin America, they acquired a large fleet of Airbus jets too.  These are not going to be part of the fleet for long, though.  Alaska has made it clear that they are going away.  The A319s are apparently too small so are the first in line for replacement.  Go to Paine Field and you will come across a bunch of Alaska painted A319s bagged up and awaiting their future.  A319s are generally smaller than airlines want these days – it is not that long ago that the A319 was more popular than the A320 but that is no longer the case.  I wonder where these will go next.

Navion Rangemaster

The Navion is a type that you see a fair bit around the US.  They are a popular aircraft and are both used for private flying and also sometimes for display teams.  I’ve shot a bunch of them over the years.  However, I did not know until very recently that Ryan, when they took over the design, came up with a larger cabin version of the aircraft called the Rangemaster.  I only found out because I happened to shoot one at Paine Field.  It was only when I looked it up that I found out what it was.  I may have seen one before but I certainly didn’t know it if I did.  A quick search shows that there weren’t too many of them built and I guess a lot less are currently airworthy.

After Dark with ANA

Over the many posts on this blog, there have been a few that involve hoping for great light at the end of the day.  Some have been successful and others have not.  This is one of the latter.  An All Nippon Airways 787 was out on test from Paine Field.  It was due back shortly before sunset so the potential was there for some lovely light.  Unfortunately, the potential was also there for being slightly delayed and arrived after the sun had gone down.  This is exactly what happened.  I wasn’t going home, at this point, though.  Instead, I shot it in shady twilight conditions.  Assuming Boeing sorts out its issues, it won’t be long before the 787s are all gone so you have to enjoy the opportunity while it remains.

Singapore Airlines Max Delivery

Singapore Airlines has been taking delivery of a bunch of 737 Max8 jets.  These were bought by the Silk Air subsidiary but, after the order was place, Singapore decided to integrate that subsidiary into the main airline.  Plenty of the aircraft had been painted before this decision was made and I guess Boeing’s price to repaint the jets was higher than the other options available so they were delivered in the old colors and then repainted after delivery.  However, more recent jets have been painted in Singapore’s colors from new.  737 deliveries usually happen from Boeing Field but, for some reason, this jet was delivered from Paine Field.  The sun popped out as it lined up to depart for Hawaii where it would stop en route.  Not often you get an airline flight between Paine Field and Hawaii!

Robbed Dreamliner

Dreamliner deliveries have been stalled for about a year now with a brief interlude of deliveries early last year.  They are stored all over the place including this American Airlines jet up at Paine Field.  I think it had a radome when it was built but, clearly someone needed one and the easiest one to hand was on this airframe. Now it sits awaiting a replacement and – hopefully – acceptance and delivery!

 

Everts MD-80 Freighter

Everts has based its operations on older airframes.  They have recently added some MD-80s to their fleet which, I guess, is indicative of the fact that the MD-80 is rapidly disappearing from service.  It is now available for freighter conversion.  I shot one on the ramp at BFI quite a while back in nice light but one was due in to Paine Field just before the end of the day.  There was always the question about whether the light would play ball or not but I wasn’t going to pass up the chance.

Avanti Taunting Me At Sunset

Given my recent Avanti posts, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I had some bad luck again.  After the arrival of the 777X, the local Avanti was showing due to arrive just before sunset.  The weather had been very overcast but, as is often the case up here, the sun was sneaking occasional appearances below the clouds as sunset approached.  The Avanti was due soon and it looked like it could either be great or crap.  About five minutes before it was due in, the sun popped out.  Things looked great for a Cessna that was on approach.

It couldn’t last, though.  The clouds took over again and then things got worse.  The Avanti, instead of turning on to approach, went off on some weird looping flightpath to the north.  I have no idea what it was up to but the time it spent meant the sun was now definitely gone.  Now I was playing “How High Can the ISO Go” as the conditions deteriorated.  At least modern camera are pretty amazing with little light to work with.

I got some shots of it as it came in and they really came out quite well.  At the north end of Paine Field, things are a bit further away so, with a smaller plane, I can make use of the 500mm and f/4 certainly helps in the low light.  Just behind the Avanti was a G550 so I figured why not wait for it to come in too.  The light was even worse but it was still worth a go.  Low light is not great but it can provide some nice shots if you are lucky and this was okay.

FedEx Has A New Base

The end of 787 production at Everett has also meant that Boeing doesn’t have a need for the Dreamlifter operations center that they had built there, next to the Future of Flight visitor location.  I assume the space was leased from the airport but that might not be right.  Whatever the case, a new use has been found for it.  FedEx has set up a small operation there.  SeaTac is their main base in the area and they have a steady stream of wide body freighters heading through there.  Everett is a single 757 each day.  I assume this is the beginning of things and that there will be more to come.  I can’t imagine that they will make that investment for one freighter a day.  We get a bunch of FedEx 767s on test prior to delivery but the 757 is a nice addition.

WH004 Back at Paine Field

The 777X program is hardly zipping along.  The four test aircraft have been in use for a while now but the certification is not due until the end of 2023.  After being built at Everett, the test jets all headed to Boeing Field.  However, the fourth test aircraft, WH004, recently went back to Everett.  I’m not sure why but it did a bit of flying out of there.  One evening, I popped up to get a photo or two when it was returning.  Conditions were ideal but a white jet will always have a bit of light on the airframe.