The number of 777X airframes at Paine Field keeps growing. I pictured some before in this post and, one morning over the holidays, I was up that was for something else and figured the morning light is good on the east side of the field where some stored jets are. There are a bunch in a line along the disused cross runway so I got a shot or two before continuing with whatI had gone up there for.
While Boeing has delayed the entry to service date of the 777X, they have continued to produce airframes at Everett with the result being a number of stored airframes on the field. There are four jets in the test program and the rest are not going to fly until certification is close so, for now, they are finding spaces across the airport for them. Some are on the Boeing flight test ramp (with production of the other widebodies ramping down, space is more available I guess) while others are on the cross runway. This has been home to 787s and 737 Max jets over the years and now it is the turn of the 777X. Some of them are identifiable by the paint on the folded wing tips while others are unmarked for now.
Bainbridge Island is the location of Eagle Harbor. This is the maintenance base for the Washington State Ferries. Look at it on Google Maps and you will see a ferry moored up in maintenance or long term storage. However, since the onset of the pandemic, the ferries have been operating at a reduced schedule. This has continued even though traffic levels during summer have increased markedly. This reduced schedule means not all ferries are in service and a bunch are stored at Eagle Harbor. Shooting in to the sun is not ideal but it was the only available shot. Here are some of the ferries either in storage or awaiting a return to the full schedule.
While production Max jets awaiting delivery are all over Moses Lake, they aren’t the only 737s stored there. Coming up on the south side, the first jets to be visible were Delta Airlines 737-900ERs. I assume these have been stored here while a substantial portion of the fleet is inactive due to the massive downturn in air travel resulting from the pandemic. No idea how long these jets will be here but I guess Delta will pull them out as they increase the schedules.
I have posted images of stored 737 Max jets at Boeing Field. However, there is limited space there for storage and far more of the jets have been stored at Moses Lake. I wanted to see how things looked over there which was part of my reason for visiting. As I got close to the field, it wasn’t hard to spot the jets. They are everywhere it seems. The east side of the field has a bunch of them parked up. There are also plenty on the south side of the airport.
I took some shots of them to make panoramas but the fence made it harder to get a good look and the light was on the wrong side by that time in the day. The south side of the field gave some better angles as did places along the road running around the airport. I quite liked the long view across to the large numbers of planes but the heat haze was really harsh so the shots, while giving an idea of how many planes there are, lose something from being so blurred.
The south side of the field had the best light angles and you were quite close to the jets so haze was less of an issue. I like looking through the rows of planes neatly lined up to emphasize just how many of them there are. It seems Boeing is getting closer to restoring their airworthiness so we shall see how quickly they can mobilize to get the jets ready again and how willing the customers are to take delivery at this point!
An early ISAP symposium included a visit to Lockheed Martin’s facility at Fort Worth. We were there to see the first F-35 test aircraft, AA-1. In addition, they had arranged to bring Glacier Girl, a P-38 Lightning, to be there too to provide two Lockheed Lightnings. However, while I was up the scissor lift that was provided for us to get an elevated view, I looked the opposite direction. There were two interesting looking airframes parked up. One was an old F-16 that had probably been used for test duties. The other was not a flyable plane but it was some sort of test rig for the STOVL configuration of the F-35 – what would become the F-35B. A couple of cool looking items that you wouldn’t normally get to see.
After two month of shelter at home, I did finally venture out in the car to see something other than the house or my bike routes. I swung by Paine Field to see some of the stored Southwest 737s that are there. Planes seem to have been arriving and then heading out again so I don’t know what the overall plan is. They also seem to have moved from where they were when they first came in. I got to see a few of them scattered around near FHCAM.
These jets look like they are in place for a while. The nacelle inlet which is normally unpainted metal is currently covered in some black coating which runs on to the inlet blanking. The exhaust ducts are similarly blocked up. The jets are arrayed around the ramp and, while behind the fencing, the use of a monopod with a ball head and the remote shooting app from Canon allowed me to see what the shots looked like and to take the pictures. I went with a few panos since things are rather close to the fence in some places.
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.
Boeing is now delivering KC-46s to the Air Force at a rate that is a bit of an improvement. There are still plenty of issues with the project (with some only recently discovered) but at least jets are now making their way to the customer, even if they are not flying them too much! However, there are still a lot of the jets parked at Paine Field. The early morning sun provides some nice light on the line of aircraft. It is a rather cluttered view with plenty of airfield material in the shot but the light makes it a bit more appealing.
Boeing has many internal issues with its planes currently but, when it comes to the 777X program, GE is the one that is causing the problems. The lack of engines for the test program means the jets are on the ground. Meanwhile, the production line continues to turn out the airframes at the rate original scheduled. Consequently, there are stored jets around Paine Field. The first two jets were turned out in house colors and have appeared on the blog. Meanwhile, a couple of white jets have appeared and they are stored on the flight line.
The latest two jets I have seen are not even painted. They are in the protective film the airframe is built in which looks a bit like primer. Stored on the airfield, they will get engines at some point and then go to the paint shop. In the interim, they have ballast attached to the engine mounts. The first time I saw one, I thought it was another KC-46 being stored until the fin caught my eye and I realized it was a 777X.