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Aviation Geek Fest 2013: Photos and Story

One of three Aviation Geek Fest groups that toured the Boeing Factory Floor. Photo by Boeing.

One of three Aviation Geek Fest groups that toured the Boeing Factory Floor. Photo by Boeing.

This weekend was amazing. Almost  200 people attended Aviation Geek Fest 2013 in Seattle this year — it was bigger and better than ever.

Many attendees came from the Seattle area, but we are quite a few who came from out of state: Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, New York, Texas, North Carolina, Nevada, Montana, Hawaii, Massachusetts and California.

The group was also international. There were a few folks from Canada (British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec) and a father and son came all the way from Oslo Norway for the event. This has truly turned into a world event and it makes sense since Seattle is a major hub for aviation lovers. Awesome.

agf13

The point of the event is to bring aviation lovers (or AvGeeks) together to celebrate our passion and do some pretty cool things together.

We all got to check out the new space exhibits, including the Space Shuttle trainer at the Museum of Flight. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

We all got to check out the new space exhibits, including the Space Shuttle trainer at the Museum of Flight. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

This was the first year where the event was two days. Saturday, the 16th, took place down south at Boeing Field and Sunday took place up north at Paine Field. Starting at 9am, AvGeeks were able to enter the Museum of Flight and start their aviation adventure.

Our group had own room up on the top floor, overlooking the runway with free coffee, tea and water — all of which was needed to keep up during the day. The 737 tour was not until, noon, which gave people plenty of time to check out the Museum of Flight.

There was a model show going on at the Museum of Flight.

There was a model show going on at the Museum of Flight. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

I spent the morning up at #AGF13 HQ (the room at the Museum of Flight) talking aviation and airlines with all the AvGeeks that showed up. At about noon, it was time for us to prepare to get on the three buses to be taken to the Renton 737 Factory. The only down side to the tour is we were not allowed to take any of our own photos. Luckily, Boeing agreed to take some photos for us and share them.

On the ride over to the 737 factory, I Tweeted out a photo of the AvGeeks on my bus and was told they looked sad. This was because I just got done telling them, “no phones and no cameras,” then took the photo. Right after, I also explained that everyone was getting a free $20 gift card to The Boeing Store — that is when I should have taken the photo — oops.

One of the AGF13 groups inside the Renton 737 Factory. Photo by Boeing.

One of the AGF13 groups inside the Renton 737 Factory. Photo by Boeing.

Our 737 tour started with a few short videos highlighting the 737 and of course the new MAX. This tour was super VIP, since it is not open to the public and they stated that this was the largest group that have toured the facility. We were broken into four groups and taken down both of the 737 lines. Since it was Saturday, the line was not moving, but we all enjoyed figuring out the airlines that the 737s belonged to by the liveries on their rudders and winglets. Not too surprising, there was not one livery that could stump our group.

The world's first fighter plane: the Caproni Ca.20 at the Museum of Flight. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

The world’s first fighter plane: the Caproni Ca.20 at the Museum of Flight. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

After the tour, it was back on the buses and we headed back to the Museum of Flight. I hadn’t been in a few years, so I took about two hours quickly going through their new shuttle trainer and checking out old friends (Concorde, first Boeing 747, Constellation, among others) in the Air Park. The museum closed at 5pm, but we were given a special after hours tour of the Personal Courage Wing, which shows off aircraft and memorabilia from World War I and II.

By the time our tour was done at 6:30pm I was quite tired. Really we only had one scheduled event: the 737 tour, but everyone was kept busy the entire day. It was a great day, but I was excited for the next.

Upon arriving at the Future of Flight, we were greeted by a few Boeing 777's viewed from the Stratodeck. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

Upon arriving at the Future of Flight, we were greeted by a few Boeing 777′s viewed from the Strato Deck. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

I was up earlier than I normally am during the weekend, but I didn’t even need coffee right away, I had AvGeek adrenaline in my blood. Shortly after arriving at the Future of Flight, we were treated with a few Boeing 777 test flights, viewed from the strato deck. Like down south, we had our own AGF13 room with coffee to fuel us through the day.

Getting ready to head to the Dreamliner Gallery, AvGeeks hang out at the Future of Flight.

Getting ready to head to the Dreamliner Gallery, AvGeeks hang out at the Future of Flight. Image from AirlineReporter.com

Throughout the day, AvGeeks had the ability to check out the Future of Flight, Historic Flight Foundation and the Flying Heritage Collection free of charge. Although I wasn’t able to do everything, it was fun watching the #AGF13 hashtag on Twitter to see what everyone else was up to. I was hoping to get over to also see the Flying Heritage Collection and the Museum of Flight Restoration Center, but I just ran out of time — next year I promise.

Our Boeing Factory floor tour was set at 3pm. Before hand, at 10am, 11:30am and finally at 1pm, there were separate tours to the Dreamliner Gallery.

Restored Pan Am DC-3 at Historic Flight. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

Restored Pan Am DC-3 at Historic Flight. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

My tour wasn’t until 1pm, but I was once again enjoying talking with the other AvGeeks who were hanging out at the Future of Flight. At about noon a group of us saw via social media that the DC-3 at Historic Flight Foundation was open and very quickly, we were all piled into a car and headed over. I don’t think I have seen a group of AvGeeks move so fast.

I have seen the outside of the plane before, but never the inside — she is a beauty. Historic Flight is hoping to offer rides to paying passengers later in the year (hopefully more on that in a future story).

Our group got to check out the Dreamliner Gallery. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

Our group got to check out the Dreamliner Gallery. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

After grabbing a quick lunch, we hurried back to the Future of Flight to catch our bus to the Dreamliner Gallery. The gallery is the place where airlines go to design the interiors of their 787′s. This is the first facility like this in the world that allows customers to figure out so many options at one place, greatly reducing the time and money spent to prepare a new aircraft to join their fleet.

Checking out the different seating options of the Dreamliner. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

Checking out the different seating options of the Dreamliner. Image by AirlineReporter.com.

Like the 737 factory, the Dreamliner Gallery is not normally open to the public. We went room-to-room looking at seats, lighting, galley options, lavatories and even crew rest areas. None of us wanted to leave, but we were excited to take our Boeing Factory floor tour. We boarded our bus again and headed back to the Future of Flight for a short video before getting on another set of buses to be taken to the factory.

Three of the buses got a water canon salute. Photo by Snohomish County Airport Fire Dept.

Three of the buses got a water canon salute. Photo by Snohomish County Airport Fire Dept.

It is a nice tradition that aircraft get a water canon salute — our buses were no different — at least most of our buses. We were split up into four different buses and just so happens that two of the buses (one which I was on) missed the water canon salute. The other two received a nice wash down from the Snohomish County Airport Fire Department. Kindly, one of the fire fighters took photos and shared them with us.

AvGeeks in front of a Boeing 747-8I on the factory floor in Everett. Photo by Boeing.

AvGeeks in front of a Boeing 747-8I on the factory floor in Everett. Photo by Boeing.

Our four AvGeek groups toured around the factory floor, including the new 787 surge line. I have toured the factory a number of times now, but each time is a bit different and it never gets old walking among the brand new airliners. Being on the floor is very different than the public tour that takes place up on the walking platforms. I much more enjoy looking up at a 777, 787 or 747-8 than looking down.

After our tour, it was back on the buses and to the Future of Flight for an AvGeek social with pizza and beer.

The Future of Flight gallery floor set up in AvGeek social-mode. Image by Mal Muir.

The Future of Flight gallery floor set up in AvGeek social-mode. Image by Mal Muir.

Part of the social was giving out a number of prizes, including two free tickets on Southwest Airlines. By the time I was heading home, I was exhausted — but in a good way. There was quite a bit of walking, talking and learning and I was so thankful everything went so smoothly.

AGF14

Will there be an Aviation Geek Fest 2014? Heck yes there will! Start preparing now.

We are going to set the date to be President’s Day Weekend for next year, which is February 15th and 16th, 2014. The event will likely be similar with new and exciting things. Be sure to add your email to the AGF e-mail list (if you already signed up for AGF13, you do NOT need to sign up again). No details yet, but we are planning for it to be epic.

A huge thanks to…. the Future of Flight, Boeing, Museum of Flight, Historic Flight Foundation, the Flying Heritage Collection, Southwest Airlines and everyone else who helped to make this an amazing event. I cannot wait until next year!

125 PHOTOS OF AVIATION GEEK FEST

More AGF13 Goodies:

This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder. David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.@AirlineReporter | Flickr | YouTube

12 comments to Aviation Geek Fest 2013: Photos and Story

  • Michelle Bernath

    David, thanks a whole bunch to you and your crew for a great event. Jacob and I enjoyed it, although we were only able to attend on Sunday. This was our second year, and we’ll definitely be back for #AGF14. I hope Malcolm enjoys his notebook. ;-)

    See ya next year!
    MB

  • David and team, thank you so much again for putting this together! Was something I haven’t shut up about since returning from SEA and was honestly one of the best experiences ever.

    We hope to see you all again next year. :)

  • Mal Muir

    Michelle I will definately enjoy my Notebook. Thank you SO MUCH!

  • James

    Hey David,

    Thanks so much for putting on this awesome event! Will definitely be returning next year! Just wondering if I could get a copy of the group photos from the 737 factory and the Everett factory?

    Thanks again, James

  • Cook

    A wonderful recap of last weekend’s events. Obviously, the AvGk crowd had a great time. Boeing’s PR folks spare no effort to get their message to everyone and they are genuine professionals. (Look back at some of the roll-out, first flight and early delivery events…) I understand that some were disappointed that no cameras were allowed during the factory tours, but in fairness to Boeing, this is NOT unreasonable (consider the many reasons). The MOF and FOF are great visits and do not require a large group for access; most days are open to the fee-paying public. I’ve seen both, a couple of times and they ARE worth at least one visit. (Just don’t but anything other than a Boeing cap.)
    Lastly, with several semi-new ‘staffers’ at Airline Reporter.com, a couple of whom write exceptionally well the blog’s management might consider using their talents to edit/proofread everyone’s contributions, before they are published. Making that last step into the *professional* class of AV blogs seems oh so close, but the use of English remains the impediment. AR.com now has the in-house talent to fix this, but… A wonderful blog, but with limits. This CAN be fixed, perhaps by managing and organizing, and leaving the writing to others. With some work and within a year, it could be a half-million dollar operation – or more. Best wishes.

  • Jackson

    Thanks for the recap! Super glad I was able to make it out for a bit of it this time around (787 Gallery). Reading up on the other things that I missed out on makes it kind of bitter sweet. Thanks to all the people that made this possible and I look forward to a bigger better #AGF2014!

  • Jackson

    Thanks for the recap! Super glad I was able to make it out for a bit of it this time around (787 Gallery). Reading up on the other things that I missed out on makes it kind of bitter sweet. Thanks to all the people that made this possible and I look forward to a bigger better #AGF2014!

  • John A.

    Thank you so much to all involved in hosting this spectacular event. (Airlinereporter.com, Boeing, Museum of Flight, Future of Flight, Flying Heritage Collection and Historic Flight Foundation) It’s Thursday afer the event and my mind is still blown away with all the action. Meeting fellow avgeeks was phenominal and I’m so happy that everyone enjoyed it. Special thanks also to those who made it to Bob’s Burgers and Brew making it even more special. David, you’re awesome dude! Safe travels.

  • Isaac Alexander

    I would like to echo John A. as well in thanking everyone involved with planning & operating this AWESOMELY EPIC event!!! AirlineReporter.com, Boeing, Museum of Flight, Future of Flight, Flying Heritage Collection & Historic Flight Foundation, Take a bow all of you, you earned it!
    Thankful to the avgeeks that attended the first Sunday Brunch gathering at Bob’s Burger & Brew in Everett. Let’s make that a tradition for next year with even more people. :-)

    Finally, David, any chance that an Aviation Geek Fest type of event could be expanded or held in other aviation cities? I’m thinking Montreal, Toronto, Witchita, Sao Paulo, Hamburg, or Toulouse? Toulouse is opening up a type of Future of Flight Museum in 2014.

  • Mark me down as jealous, and already trying to figure out how I can be there next year. I really like Isaac’s idea of finding other locations for similar events, though I would venture to guess it would be hard to make the kind of connections that you already possess in Seattle.

    Either way, it looks like it was an awesome event, and I look forward to experiencing it first hand in the future.

  • Peter Evers

    On the last two photos of the Boeing factory floor two almost completed 747-8 aircraft can be identified :
    Slant position 1 :
    L/N 1475 – 747-830, RC028, serial number 37833, Lufthansa #8, D-ABYI
    Slant position 2 :
    L/N 1476 – 747-87UF, RC582, serial number 37567, Atlas Air #12, N855GT, with dark blue rudders.

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