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Miles flown for stories
2014: 271,099
2013: 330,818

Aviation in Seattle: Renton Plane Spotting Guide

Renton Municipal Airport, home of the 737.

Renton Municipal Airport, home of the Boeing 737

In the past, we have featured plane spotting guides for Paine Field and also other airports like Anchorage or Tokyo Haneda. With numerous airports in the Seattle area, including SeaTac and Boeing Field, there is sometimes a forgotten, but quite important, airport for plane spotters which provides a continuous stream of aircraft to spot. I am speaking of Renton Municipal Airport, the home of Boeing’s narrow-body aircraft plant.

The Southern Threshold of Renton's runway.

The southern threshold of Renton’s runway

The Renton Airport traces its history back to World War II.  Originally built on reclaimed land from Lake Washington, the airport was built by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support Amphibious Aircraft being built by Boeing on Lake Washington.  The PBB Sea Ranger project was cancelled after the prototype was built, so Boeing ended up using the facility to produce the B-29 Superfortress.  By the end of the war, a total of 1,119 were built.

After the war, the City of Renton purchased the airport back from the DoD for $1 and the facility laid dormant for a few years.  In 1948, the KC-97 Stratofreighter project brought the airport back to life and thus began a long and productive history of aircraft to flow out of the Boeing factory doors.  The first Dash 80 aircraft, famous for the barrel roll over Lake Washington, rolled out in May 1954.  Renton was the home of every single 707 built.

The 727 & 757 were all built there as well.  However, Renton is famous these days for being the home of the 737, where production stands at a massive 42 aircraft per month. Continue reading Aviation in Seattle: Renton Plane Spotting Guide

Photos: Hanging at the LAX In-N-Out for #DorkFest

Dang those planes get low. A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 landing at LAX.

Dang those planes get low. A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 landing at LAX.

When I tell my friends that I am going to fly to a city for a day trip, most of them think I am crazy, but I love it. On Saturday, I got up at 4:00am to start my journey to Los Angeles to hang out with some airline dorks at the LAX In-N-Out.

For only $40, we were able to drive this baby around. Only put 20 miles on her though.

For only $40, we were able to drive this baby around. Only put 20 miles on her though.

Brett Snyder (AKA CrankyFlier) organized the event and about 30 people from around the west coast came to talk planes, eat some good food and spot for airplanes. I was heading down with my friend Mal and even though it is pretty easy to get from the airport to the In-N-Out, he was able to get a great deal on a Ford Mustang Convertible, so we decided to cruise in style. Problem is that we were requested to pick up @danwebbage and @briadavi and a convertable gets a bit tight with four guys in it, but we made it work.

Thai Airways Boeing 777-200. Walked down the street a bit to get better lighting. Love this livery.

Thai Airways Boeing 777-200. Walked down the street a bit to get better lighting. Love this livery.

I had never been to this In-N-Out (I know crazy right), so I was very excited. I have seen many photos and heard great things about the ability to spot, but photos and words can really not do it justice. The planes get so darn low!

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 takes from from LAX.

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 takes from from LAX.

After hanging out at the In-N-Out, it was time to head over to the other side of the airport: Imperial Hill. It was definitely challenging making sure poles, lines and trees did not get in the shot (it is almost like people do not design infrastructure with spotters in mind), but the views were great.

The planes were exciting, but it is hard to beat talking to other aviation dorks about airlines. I am surely looking forward to next year’s event. Now, it is time to put my energies into Aviation Geek Fest 2013.

After being at LA for less than 12 hours, it was time to board my Virgin America flight and head home.

After being at LA for less than 12 hours, it was time to board my Virgin America flight and head home.

Here are some additional goodies from the event:
* 43 of my photos of #DorkFest
* Cranky’s story
* Images from @Braniff747SP

If you attended #DorkFest and have photos you want to share, either leave a comment or email me (david@airlinereporter.com) the link and I will add them to this story.