Ryanair has a subsidiary based in Poland that it has been rebranded as Buzz. I must admit I knew nothing about this until, on my way back home from a meeting south of Seattle, I stopped off at Renton to see what was on the flight line. A Ryanair jet was parked up and next to it was a Buzz jet. It still had some taped markings on it but it was basically finished in Buzz colors and registered in Poland. Obviously it won’t be going to them for a little while longer but, once the grounding is lifted, it should be heading to Eastern Europe.
Tucked inside the fence at Renton was something I don’t think I have seen before. It was a Piper Aztec on amphibious floats. No reason why an Aztec wouldn’t be on floats but it isn’t something I have seen before. I would certainly like to see it on the water at some point. Sadly, because it was tight to the fence, my best option was to use the phone to get the shot!
My Renton visit also produced a P-8A Poseidon. I have seen plenty of them over the years but this one caught my eye because it is the fourth airframe for the UK’s Royal Air Force. Sitting on the ramp on a sunny day with heat haze is not ideal but it was still worth a shot since, once it gets delivered, I am unlikely to get much of a chance to see it again.
I first saw the Douglas World Cruiser when Hayman and I were were skulking around Boeing Field prior to an ISAP symposium. The aircraft was being worked on by a restoration team and we chatted to them for a while. When I moved it up, it had moved too and now it lives at Renton. I have seen it plenty of times as it sits in its open ended hangar at Renton. However, it clearly is moved as, on a recent visit, the nose was pointing out of the hangar rather than in. It is not in a great place to shoot but a bit of live view and holding the camera above the wall and you can get a shot.
I have visited Renton Municipal Airport on plenty of occasions but I had not previously stopped to check out the sculpture at the entrance to the airport. It is sited by the main gate and there is a parking area to make it easy to visit. The formal name of the airport is Clayton Scott Field and the sculpture is of Clayton Scott himself next to a sign showing the direction and distance to multiple locations. The top of the sculpture even includes space as one destination! The locations are chosen and organized to provide a nice spiral pattern to the markers. It is a nicely executed piece of artwork.
I’ve seen a few 737s make their first flights at Renton. This example occurred on weekend morning and it caught me out a bit. They roll the jets across the bridge from the assembly flight line to the runway flight line. The bridge crosses the river just south of the park. Once across, they are ready to start up. This takes longer than a normal start up since this is the first time the plane is going to fly.
The fast taxi with rejected takeoff is the next step. This takes place on the runway and, in this case, was heading towards me up near the Lake Washington end of the Renton runway. All being well with this, it is time to take off. I had hoped that this would involve a back taxi and then departure over the lake but I was to be disappointed. They turned at the lake and powered up for a departure to the south. I had not anticipated this so was badly placed. The moist morning air resulted in vapor in the inlets as they accelerated past me and then climbed off in the distance.
The 737 Max 8 has been the best seller of the Max product line. The Max 7 has barely sold at all and Boeing even had to redesign it to be a shrink of the Max 8 rather than the rework of the -700 that it was originally intended to be. Southwest and WestJet have bought them but they are about the only ones. I guess production examples have started to come off the line during the grounding. When you go around the back of Renton, amongst the stored Southwest jets are a bunch of the Max 7s. I guess certification and delivery of these will be something intended to follow on closely from the return to service of the Max 8 and Max 9 jets.
The 737 Max problems rumble on but this isn’t stopping development activities. The first of the 737 Max 10 jets was rolled out of the factory with little fanfare with only staff being invited. I was showing my relative, Pete, around the area and we stopped at Renton to have a look at what was on the line. It was a nice surprise to see the first Max 10 sitting on the line. I imagine it won’t be too long before first flight.
Ryanair is the launch customer for the Max 200 version of the 737-8 Max. The Max 200 name is going away I believe since it is a high density version of the -8. With the grounding of the Max fleet continuing, a number of the Ryanair jets are now parked awaiting deliveries to recommence. I was walking through the park at Renton on a sunny weekend morning and the Ryanair jets were lined up across the airport from me. Knowing Michael O’Leary’s enthusiasm for direct communication, I would love to know how his conversations with Boeing over compensation are going.