Friday, October 21, 2011

No. 17 Planespotting at Paine Field Everett, Wa

Paine Field in Everett, WA is the home of Boeing’s largest factory and known best as the test field for the fresh off the line 777, 767, 748, and 787 frames. Daily arrivals included B1 First Flight 737 Next-Gen aircraft, coming in from Moses Lake, performing low missed approaches and touch and goes before they head to King County Airport south of Seattle. A few military p-3 Orions and helicopters can be scene in the pattern as well practicing touch and goes but those happen mainly during the summer time. Even if your not a bonafide avgeek or aviation enthusiast I think you will enjoy your time visiting Paine Field.

At the north end of the field you can stop by Boeing's own Future of Fight Museum, check out their exhibits, gift shop or hop on a bus and start your tour of the Boeing Plant. The visitor parking offers nice views of the flight line. You will be able to see the large Dreamlifter, a modified cargo 747-400 that carries parts for the new 787 Dreamliner parked directly across the runway. As you look south you can see 787s, 777, 747, and new 747-8 parked in their stalls. The sheer size of these transport aircraft make it easy for even a cellphone or point & shoot camera to make a decent image. Depending on delivery schedule you might even find yourself less than a football field away from 787 or 747 parked behind the museum.
On a clear day you can spot Mt. Baker off to the north and Mt. Rainier off to the south behind the control tower. The north parking lot brings you in close for aircraft departing Runway 34L when the wind is out of the north and to landing aircraft on Runway 16R when the wind is out of the south.

Boeing Manufacturing might be the largest tenant at Paine Field but jet aircraft aren't the only metal birds you see. There are two privately owned vintage warbird museums located at the airport. Along the west side you have the Historic Flight Foundation which you can access from Mukilteo Speedway. Their collection includes P-51 Mustang, B-25 Mitchel and other aircraft in flying condition. On the eastside you have the Flight Heritage Collection. Both museums offer a rare chance to get up close and personal to vintage aircraft restored in detail and into flying condition. Throughout the summer the skies above Mukilteo are teaming with the sound of radial engines racing through the sky. If your planning on being in the Seattle area over the summer its definitely worth checking out their fly-day schedules and check out these metal birds fly again.


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