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2014: 137,829
2013: 330,818

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An Inside Look at a Restored Douglas DC-3 at Historic Flight

The HFF DC3 - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

The HFF DC3 – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

Paine Field (KPAE) in Everett, WA is home to a variety of both modern and vintage aircraft.  Though brand spanking new Boeing planes are built there and delivered to around the world, the vintage aircraft hopefully come to stay around for a while.

At the Historic Flight Foundation (HFF) there are some glorious classic aircraft that have been painstakingly restored and are much loved by not only their owner, but also the volunteers who look after them. One such recent arrival joining the collection is a beautifully restored Douglas DC-3, in Pan American Airways [PanAm] livery, that has a checkered past.  I was recently invited to check out the aircraft and was able to learn a bit more about its history.

Continue reading An Inside Look at a Restored Douglas DC-3 at Historic Flight

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.

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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

Vintage Aircraft Weekend at Paine Field This Weekend

Who wouldn’t want to spend a beautiful and sunny Saturday at Paine Field with a bunch of historic aircraft and other aviation enthusiasts? Well, I am hoping for the sun, but I am pretty sure of the good times. This Saturday, the Vintage Aircraft Weekend will be going down at Paine Field and if you are in the greater Seattle are, you should surely come check it out. From vintage aircraft (that fly) to vehicles to historians, this is going to be one awesome shin-dig. Here are the details:

Just some of the things spotted during Vintage Aircraft Weekend 2010.

Just some of the things spotted during Vintage Aircraft Weekend 2010.

What: An opportunity to experience history in action at a family event. Enjoy vintage aircraft flybys, military and antique vehicles, hands-on demonstrations, WW II re-enactors, interactive presentations, great food, live swing/jazz music, dancing, and special activities to commemorate the Centennial of Naval Aviation. As many as 50 aircraft will be on display and most will fly on the afternoon of the 3rd.

When: Friday, September 2, 2011, 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm (Big Band Dinner Dance) and Saturday, September 3, 2011, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Festival)

Where: Historic Flight Foundation Restoration Center
Located on the southwest corner of Paine Field
10719 Bernie Webber Drive
Mukilteo, Washington 98275

Speakers: Addison Pemberton and William E. Boeing, Jr. will address the importance of the Model 40B to the survival of the Boeing Company during the Great Depression. Dan Hagedorn will present “Hiding in Plane Site,” the story of operating Boeing Plant 2 in wartime camouflage. Mike Lavelle will share “Lessons Learned 100 Years Ago in the 1911 Transcontinental Flight of the Vin Fiz.” John Sessions will present two hundred shots taken in 2009 during the North Atlantic crossing of B-25D “Grumpy.”

Why: Educate and inspire visitors of all ages through an opportunity to experience history in action!

Tickets: Tickets for the Big Band Dinner Dance on the 2nd are $50 per person and include admission to the festival on the 3rd.

Discounted tickets for the festival on the 3rd may be purchased in advance for $10 at Historic Flight Foundation or online. Tickets for the festival on the 3rd may also be purchased at the door on the day of the event: Adults – $12 | Senior/Military – $10 (65+) | Youth – $8 (6-15) | Child – Free (< 6) | Family – $25

Who: Hosted by Historic Flight Foundation along with many supporters including Cascade Warbirds, Castle & Cooke Aviation, Flying Heritage Collection, Future of Flight, Heritage Flight Museum, Museum of Flight, Paine Field, Port Townsend Aero Museum, and media sponsor – KUOW.

All photos from Air Vintage Weekend website for 2010

Take an Aviation Photography Class at Paine Field on May 14th

Historic Flight's B-25, named Grumpy. Photo by Liz Matzelle.

Historic Flight's B-25, named Grumpy. Photo by Liz Matzelle.

When I look back at some of my photos when I first started this blog, it is very embarrassing. I started with passion and no photography skills what-so-ever. Over the years I have been able to pick up a few tricks and learn from some wonderful people, but still needing to learn some of the basics.

Some of those people are hosting a basic aviation photography class at the Historic Flight Foundation on Saturday May 14th, starting at 10am. Best part is, the class only costs you admission to Historic Flight which is $12 (and you can get your Paine Field Passport there for another $10).

The class will go over the basics and provide Q&A for those who have questions (that’s me). So, if you are going to be in the Seattle area on the 14th and want to build your photography skills, with no judging your lack of skills, then sign up for the class and I will see you on the 14th.

If you are ready to take your photography skills to the next level, they are also offering a class on air-to-air photography on May 20th.

Get more details:
* See the class schedule
* Register for the class
* Learn about the organization
* Directions to the Historic Flight Foundation

Get Your Own Passport at Paine Field Aviation Attractions

Boo ya! Got my first Paine Field Passport stamp at the Future of Flight. Now on to the others.

Boo ya! Got my first Paine Field Passport stamp at the Future of Flight. Now on to the others.

Visiting all the aviation attractions at Paine Field (KPAE) just got a bit cooler. Not only can you visit the Future of Flight, Museum of Flight Restoration Center, Flying Heritage Collection and the Historic Flight Foundation at Paine, but now, all of them have come together to offer the Paine Field Passport.

The Paine Field Passport only costs $10 and lasts a year. Financially it will save you 20% on admissions to any of the destinations from September to May and 20% off any of the attraction’s cafes or gift shops year round. Saving a bit of money is quite nice, but I think the actual passport itself is well worth the $10 all on its own.

Last Friday, I was able to take a visit to the Future of Flight and preview the Paine Field Passports first hand. You can either choose brown, blue or red and they have interesting history and photos of the airport (I chose the classic brown). You are also able to collect four different passport stamps from each of the vendors participating. I am proud to say I now have my Future of Flight stamp and now need to work on the rest (photo of me and my passport taken by Sandy Ward at the Future of Flight).