Last weekend I flew out to Seattle to attend a press event hosted by Lufthansa (more on that in a future post) and as part of my trip I made sure to build in a significant time to watch Boeing’s newest creations take off and land at Paine Field (PAE).   This was my first trip to the Boeing Mecca and it exceeded every expectation.   The cherry on top of the trip was the VIP level tour that was arranged by Boeing’s Communications Group which consisted of 1.5 hours of being driven around the entire main factory in a golf cart, gaining sneak peaks at the newest 747-8’s, 777’s and even a rare peak at the very 1st 787-9 that is nearly complete.

Aside from the fantastic tour, I had made sure to camp out at the Future Of Flight Observation Deck as well as their parking lot for 8-10 hours a day hoping to get some fantastic shots.    I want to take this opportunity to thank them for there fantastic hospitality and letting me spend all that time there!

The Boeing traffic at Paine is unpredictable and many flights are scheduled or cancelled at the last minute.  Unfortunately it makes it tough for them to publish a timetable but it does create an environment where every arrival or departure is a pleasant surprise.

In all, I spent 3 days at Paine, logging 8-10 hours each day and the effort was well worth it.   I had booked my room at the Hilton Garden Inn located directly next to the Future Of Flight center, and with a room facing the airfield I was never more than a few hundred yards away from the action.    Each day had approximately 7-10 take offs or landings and all of them were of new aircraft being tested and certified by Boeing.   It may not be the 1 arrival per minute rate we see at LAX but in this case the quality made up for the lack of quantity.

The Future of Flight facility is a great place for plane spotting thanks to their observation deck as well as a parking lot that has tall mounds near the fence-line of the airport that allow for unencumbered views of Runway 16R/34L, which is the primary runway used for Boeing aircraft.

I’ll break up the “Paine” spotting into 3 posts, each covering a specific day.   The following images were taken on August 8.

 

FlyDubai's newest 737

FlyDubai’s newest 737

FlyDubai 737 Over The Numbers

FlyDubai 737 Over The Numbers

Cathay Pacific's 777 - N5014K

Cathay Pacific’s 777 – N5014K

This retrofitted 747, dubbed DreamLiner, is used to transport large aircraft structures between Boeing and their suppliers

This retrofitted 747, dubbed DreamLiner, is used to transport large aircraft structures between Boeing and their suppliers

A special treat at Paine Field is being able find new, unpainted aircraft.  This one being a 747-8 Freighter for Atlas Air

A special treat at Paine Field is being able find new, unpainted aircraft. This one being a 747-8 Freighter for Atlas Air.  Notice the unpainted 747-8F still covered in vinyl in the background! This was a tough photo since it took all 500mm of my lens and I did not have a tripod nearby (hence the blur)……

ANA_JA823A_PAE_787

Even at night, I could not take my lens off the field – Here is ANA’s latest 787, JA823A, nearing completion.

B25_Grumpy_PAE

Paine Field is very much a general aviation field, and there are some fantastic gems that call PAE home. This is a beauty of a B-25!

Norw_787_PAE

Norwegian’s 787 shortly after returning from a test flight

OKAir_737-800_PAE

China-based OKAir shows off its newest 737-800

OpenDreamLifter_PAE

The DreamLifter loads cargo through a hinged aft section.

PAA_DC3_PAE

A beautiful classic: Pan American Airways’ DC-3

PAA2_DC3_PAE

So beautiful, it deserves a second look…..

PAE-General

Another night shot of the flight line – There’s activity 24/7!

Paine_Wide

A wider look at the flight line, loaded with 787’s. You’ll notice on the left side Boeing’s newly completed Delivery Center.