Boeing Field not only is the home of development flight test activities for the commercial aircraft business but it is also where the production flight testing for the 737s is done. After the first flight from Renton, the jets come to Boeing Field for acceptance testing and delivery to the customers. Therefore, you can see 737s that you are unlikely to see again once they get into service. I had three customer aircraft on test flights at various times while I was there on one trip.
One of them is not such a surprise for anyone in Europe. A Ryanair 737 landed just as the sun was setting. That is a sight that many European travelers will have seen although we don’t get to see them over here. However, the other two were slightly more interesting to me. One was an Aeroflot jet and the other was from Iraqi Airways. I got the Aeroflot jet twice as it happened. It departed when I was passing through on my way to a meeting and it happened to come back late that day when I was coming back.
The Iraqi jet was one I had seen parked up as I drove by but I didn’t see it leave. However, it was due to return at the end of the day and actually came in not long before the Aeroflot jet. It was clearly going to be in before the sun went down. Aeroflot was a bit of a closer call. We knew it was coming but were watching the shadows stretch across the field and some clouds drift in. Fortunately, the cloud passed just in time and the sun was still just above the horizon so we ended up with some lovely light.