The first 737 MAX takes off from Renton – Photo: Chu-Yi Chuang
Yesterday, the Boeing 737 MAX successfully completed its first flight — and landing. It took off at 9:46 am (PST) to the cheers of several thousand Boeing employees and media. Wait… wasn’t that earlier than planned — it sure was!
I often poke fun of “Boeing time,” which refers to them often being late for test flights. I might not be able to use the term anymore. We will see. Either way, I was quite impressed that they took off early, but they also had some motivation — the weather.
The first Boeing 737 MAX after landing at Boeing Field
The weather reports for the day did not look great. In the morning, it was overcast and raining. Boeing wanted to complete its almost three-hour test flight, and land at Boeing Field (BFI) before things got worse. It all worked out. It doesn’t mean I kept dry, but it was well worth it!
The new delivery center building has three gates and enough interior space to accommodate three simultaneous aircraft deliveries. The 737-900ER shown parked at the gate was delivered to United Airlines on Oct. 19.
Boeing opened its new Seattle delivery center for its booming 737 program on October 19 at King County International Airport, a.k.a. Boeing Field.
The 90,000 sq. ft. building is more than twice the size of the previous facility, which was located on the same site. It took 15 months to demolish the old structure, build the new one, and renovate some of the adjoining office spaces. According to Boeing officials, the new facility was needed to better accommodate the ever-increasing production rates for their 737 line. The current production rate for 737s is 42 per month, and planned rate increases will take that number to 52 per month in 2018.
The main departure lounge at the new delivery center offers good views of the flight line.
I recently had the opportunity, on behalf of AirlineReporter, to check out the new facility and I was excited to see what an airline’s representatives experience when picking up their $85 million jet.
Air Force One arriving at King County International Airport on October 9, 2015 -Photo: Francis Zera | Airline Reporter
There are few aircraft as readily identifiable as the 747-200B/VC-25 known as Air Force One (even though there are actually two of them; more on that in a bit). The aircraft is designed to ferry the President of the United States, other elected and government officials, VIPs, and the White House press corps, anywhere in the world and in high style.
Any U.S. Air Force aircraft in which the president is flying carries the call sign Air Force One. But it’s the two VC-25s that are the flagship aircraft most of the world will immediately recognize as being the primary mode of transport for the current US president.
President Obama arriving in Seattle via Air Force One – Photo: Francis Zera | Airline Reporter
Suffice it to say that, wherever Air Force One shows up, interest (and security) are high. For the recent Seattle visit, on October 9th, local AvGeek interest was strong, and at least one of the sanctioned airport viewing areas was kept open for public viewing.
Speaking of security, there are two identical VC-25s, one with tail number 28000 and the other 29000. Whenever the president is traveling on one of them, the other is usually stationed somewhere in the region nearby as a backup. There are duplicate sets of presidential motorcade vehicles as well.
Below is a series of images from the president’s recent three-hour fundraising visit to Seattle.
The 737-800, ready to be pulled
Earlier this week, I was invited by Alaska Airlines to watch the Alaska Plane Pull for Strong Against Cancer at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The two competing teams were led by Russell Wilson, quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks and Alaska’s “Chief Football Officer,” and actor and comedian Joel McHale, who grew up on Mercer Island (right outside of Seattle) and is known for his role in the series “Community” and as host of E!’s “The Soup.”
Each celebrity captain had 18 team members, comprised of employees from Alaska’s maintenance and engineering departments, as well as members of the community who were the lucky winners of Alaska’s Facebook contest.
Who could pull a 92,000-pound 737-800 25 feet in the least amount of time? I was there to find out!