Tag Archives: primer

Southwest Max7s Are on The Move

The monumental screw up that was the 737 Max program has been getting back on track with the return to service of the 737-8 and 737-9 along with the new deliveries coming off the line.  The 737-7 has been in flight test for a while now but its certification was going to be delayed until the main fleet issues had been resolved.  Reports now suggest that it will be certificated in plenty of time before the year end deadline that Congress set for cockpit upgrade requirements.

A few Southwest 737-7s (Southwest is the significant customer for this marque) have been parked up at Renton for a while.  These had been painted and then stored.  However, a couple of 737-7s made flights to Boeing Field in recent times.  These are Southwest jets but they have yet to be painted.  The fact that they are on the move might be interpreted as suggesting that certification may not be too far away and that Southwest may soon be taking delivery.  During the downturn that resulted from the pandemic, Southwest increased its -7 orders at the expense of the -8s.  Now traffic is booming, I wonder whether Southwest will reverse that reversal and switch more orders to the -8.

Alaska Max Jets On Test

I got a couple of Alaska Max jets on test on the same day recently.  One was still unpainted but the colors were on the rudder and winglets so it was easy to see where it was going.  The other jet was already fully painted and probably close to delivery.  With me now traveling a little bit more and that travel being with Alaska, maybe I shall get to travel on one before too long.  We shall see…

Return of the G600 Testbed (In The Rain)

A rainy Saturday afternoon had very little going on except the return of a G600 test aircraft to the Pacific Northwest.  I have no idea why Gulfstream has not painted this jet but it is still in primer.  I half expected to see it had been painted when it arrived, but it was still green.  The conditions were alternating between torrential rain and patches of sun.  Indeed, the sun was out five minutes before the G600 arrived but, no surprise, it was back to rain by the time it came in.  When conditions are like that, I go with a heavy overexposure and then pull things back down in post.  Hopefully, before too long, I will be experimenting with a new body, and we shall see whether I need to modify my exposure techniques in bad conditions.

Two Max Jets on Test But Only One Works!

One evening, while at BFI, a couple of Max test aircraft taxied out.  One was painted up in Fly Dubai colors and the other was still in primer although the rudder seemed to indicate that it will be a United jet when delivered.  They both taxied out and then held on the taxiway.  The primer jet was second in line and held for ages.  Eventually, it took the intersection on to the runway and backtracked to the Boeing ramp.  No idea what the issue was but it clearly wasn’t ready to fly.  Their colleagues took off a short while before in their, apparently serviceable, jet.

777X Parking Lot

Boeing is not having a good time of it at the moment.  The 737 Max saga hurt it significantly and it is still getting in to delivering jets that have been stored for a long time.  Some countries have still not cleared it to fly.  Meanwhile, the 787 program is in a bit of a hole with a variety of quality problems showing up such that deliveries have almost ground to a halt.  Those two programs are supposed to be cash generators at the moment which allow investment in the next program.  The KC-46 is also not what you would call a success!

That program is the 777X and it is not going well either.  In the aftermath of the Max problems, the certification program is getting significantly dragged out.  Initially engine problems delayed first flight but now that is a distant memory as all sorts of other things are meaning that service entry is not likely until early 2024.  They should have been in service last year under the original plan.

Production of the last original 777s other than freighters is now complete and production of 777X airframes is well underway.  However, there is nothing to do with them for now so a steady stream of green airframes is piling up at Paine Field.  The cross runway (it doesn’t seem fair to call it a runway given that Boeing has used it as a parking lot for the last decade) is now filling up with airframes with weights where the engines would be and either no wing tips or they are covered with film to disguise the customer airline markings.  Line numbers are taped to the gear doors.  It all looks rather familiar and sad.  It will be a while before these jets are readied for customers and it will be interesting to see how many Paine Field can hold before the production line churns out even more of them than there is space for.

777X Line Up

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.

G600 Test Jet

I heard a rumor about a Gulfstream test jet being at Boeing Field.  With a Saturday morning free, I decided to head over and investigate.  One of the things I had seen suggested it might be the G700.  Since that had only recently had its first flight, I was surprised it would be operating out of the west coast rather than Georgia so I decided to try and see it.  Of course, it wasn’t the G700.  Instead it was a G600 test airframe.  Since I had not seen a G600, I was still pleased to catch it.  The weather was crummy and it was due to go back to Savannah so I was wondering what sort of shots I would get.

Like any test jet, it didn’t depart when scheduled.  It was an hour later than planned when it rolled to the runway and then hung around at the hold point for ages.  Then it turned and taxied down towards the end where I was.  I couldn’t see it departing in the opposite direction because SeaTac was still flowing to the south and wasn’t showing any sign of changing.  It came down past me to the end of the runway and then turned around and taxied back the way it had come.  After all of this it departed into the overcast.

Given that I was expected a departure from the far end and a swift climb into the gloom, I hadn’t expected to get many shots I was pleased with.  Therefore, this sojourn down to my end and back provided plenty of chances to get a bunch of shots so this turned out to be a lot luckier than expected.  I am also a sucker for a jet in primer so thrown in a few instrumented panels for test purposes and I am a happy camper!

Primer 747-8F Almost Makes a First Flight

I love jets that aren’t painted.  I know Boeing uses a film to protect the bare metal and it isn’t primer but it certainly looks like it.  A 747-8F was scheduled for a first flight at Paine Field prior to heading to Portland for painting.  It taxied out and lined up.  I thought I was going to get a first flight for this jet.  It did a high speed taxi run and aborted takeoff as is the norm but something wasn’t right.  They taxied back to the ramp and shut down.  They weren’t flying on this day.  I was a bit annoyed!

Stored 777Xs (777-9)

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.

Green Jet Airways 737

If you drive passed Boeing Field at the moment, there are a few 737s parked across the street in the employee parking lot.  One is a development Max 7 but the others a new jets awaiting delivery.  They are marked up for Jet Airways.  Apparently, the airline has cash issues and that might be the reason that delivery has not been taken on these jets.

I may well have seen one of them during its test flying activities.  This jet was still unpainted when it made a stop at Everett.  You often get jets passing through Everett en route back to BFI but this one was actually making a stop.  I assume they completed the test flying and painting of the airframe in the hope that the financing would come to fruition.  Apparently, that has not yet happened.  Either Jet will come up with the money or these aircraft will be reconfigured for an alternate customer.