Over the course of my plane spotting career, which is approaching 25,000 presses of a shutter button, today may have been the most rewarding spotting day to date.

In the past I’ve had a fair amount of luck with my spotting.  Whether it was being at the In-N-Out in LAX when Air Force One was in town, or sitting on a mound with a moose nearby in Anchorage when a Dream Lifter showed up unexpectedly, I’ve been in the right place at the right time on several occasions.

Today however, as an LH fan, will go down as perhaps one of my best ‘sessions’.   The reason I say this is because of the aircraft involved.   If you are not aware, Lufthansa’s next 747-8i, D-ABYP, is also Boeing’s 1500th 747 to be manufactured which automatically marks it as a milestone aircraft.

When I had booked this trip back in January, I had a certain degree of confidence that ‘Yankee Papa’ was going to be delivered in June so I speculated that I may be in town for the delivery flight.   Well, I was off by one week.   Lufthansa will take delivery of D-ABYP next Saturday, June 28 after a few ceremonies marking the special event.   My ‘real life career’ calendar precluded me from changing my plans to go to Seattle for the event on the 28th, so I had to settle for my original dates.

So today, as I was standing alongside the runway I heard on ATC chatter that a 747 was getting ready to taxi for departure.  I missed the initial call to hear which aircraft was leaving, so I assumed it was a Silkway or Nippon Cargo 747-8F.   When I saw ‘YP’ get pushed back I got the feeling that Karma was somehow on my side, and they were going to rehearse the delivery for me.

So without saying too much more, here are a few images of the departure and arrival of D-ABYP.   It was about a 2-3 hour spread between arrival and departure, but certainly worth waiting for.

By the way, you may notice a vinyl layer covering something above the rear windows, above the Aircraft Registration.   I suspect this is hiding a special graphic designating this as the 1500th 747.   Unfortunately, this may be the only graphic acknowledging the accomplishment.   I was hoping for a bit more ‘livery’ to recognize such a special aircraft.



D-ABYP taxis towards runway 34L at Paine Field on June 21



Preparing to enter the runway (pardon some of the heat haze).



Notice the runway reflecting on the fuselage?



I was so close to her that my lens was not able to capture the entire craft!



Takeoff roll begins…..



On final, with Mount Rainier in the background.



Over the numbers…..





Nothing like the smell of burnt rubber!