Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 258,704
2013: 330,818

Photo of Boeing 747SP with 787 Dreamliners Looking On

Kevin Scott caught this once in a lifetime shot of a Boeing 747SP (VQ-BMS) at Boeing Field with three Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the background.

Kevin Scott caught this once in a lifetime shot of a Boeing 747SP (VQ-BMS) at Boeing Field with three Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the background.Click for larger.

Soak it in. This is not a photoshop — you are seeing one classic Boeing 747SP in front of three 787 Dreamliners caught while at Boeing Field in February 2011.

This 747SP first flew on May 1, 1979 and was delivered to Pan Am ten days later with the name “Clipper White Falcon” and registion N540PA. From 1979 until PanAm sold the aircraft to United Airlines in 1986, she held three other names: Clipper Flying Arrow, Clipper Star of the Union and China Clipper.

United flew this 747SP until it was leased in 1993 to Tajik Air. United regained control of the aircraft from February 1994 to August 1995 when it was sold to the Brunei government. They operated the aircraft in VIP configuration until 1997 when it was then sold to the Bahrain government. Then finally in August 2008, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation bought the 747SP and uses it to fly their VVIP (probably add a few more “Vs” to that) customers around the world.

According to 747SP.com, the aircraft has had the following registration numbers: N540PA with PanAm, N149UA for United, V8-JBB and V8-JP1 for the Brunei Government, A9C-ISA, A9C-HHH, A9C-HMH with Bahrain and VQ-BMS with Sands, which I assume will be her last registration number.

Getting a ride on one of Sand’s classic airliners is for sure on my bucket list, but unfortunately I am not much of a gambler.

Photo by Kevin Scott/Depth Photography

Delivery Flight: American Airlines Welcomes First Boeing 737 with Sky Interior

American Airline's flight crew are ready to welcome guests to see the new Sky Interior at Boeing's delivery center at Boeing Field (BFI).

American Airline's flight crew are ready to welcome guests to see the new Sky Interior at Boeing's delivery center at Boeing Field (BFI).

Yesterday American Airlines took delivery of their first Boeing 737-800 (N867NN) with the new Boeing Sky Interior. I felt privileged to hitch a ride on the airplane during its delivery flight from Boeing Field to Dallas-Fort Worth with American and other invited guests.

Before getting outside to see the aircraft and interior we had to go through a little security. There was a conveyor belt and metal detector, but no requirement to remove shoes, laptops or put your toiletries in a ziploc bag — nice.

The aluminum fuselage glistened in the sun outside Boeing’s delivery center waiting to fly passengers for the first time. After the ribbon was cut and photos were taken, it was time to check out the new Sky Interior first hand.

You have to love walking onto a brand spanking new plane and breathing that new-plane smell. There is something to be said about flying on a plane with only 21 other people (including the pilots) on its delivery flight from an airport that doesn’t see scheduled jet service.

Although I thought the ceiling lighting was going to be the most noticable aspect when entering the 737, I was actually first drawn to the new window openings and clean interior walls. Being an airline nerd, I spend a good chunk of my time staring out the window and this was a welcomed sight.

The Boeing Sky Interior on American's newest Boeing 737-800 (N867NN).

The Boeing Sky Interior on American's newest Boeing 737-800 (N867NN).

A combination of the larger window openings, blue lighting in the ceiling and new luggage bins, there really is a sense of space with the new Sky Interior. Boeing allows airlines to customize their lighting and American has pre-programmed the following:

* Boarding and de-boarding: blue top, white side lights
* Take off and landing: blue on top and blue on the side
* Cruise: wall lights are off, top is blue
* Night/Sleep: dark blue on the ceiling, wall lights are off
* Meal: Amber on top and side
* Sunrise/Sunset During Takeoff/Landing: Deep orange tones

On top of the nifty colors, the overhead bins have been improved to mimic the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s bins. They are larger and are able to hold more luggage (48 more bags to be exact in the 737-800). They also fold up into the ceiling to provide more cabin space. If you are 6’1″ you will still hit your head while standing, but those of shorter stature should have better luck.

Even though the windows are the same size in the fuselage, the new interior shows more of the window.

Even though the windows are the same size in the fuselage, the new interior shows more of the window.

Probably more noticeable to flight attendants, the call button has been moved away from the light buttons, helping to reduce the chance of a passenger trying to turn on their light, but instead hitting the call button.

The American interiors on the 737 are newer than other aircraft in their fleet and aren’t too bad, but after seeing the new interior, the standard interior looks a bit aged and cramped.

The new Boeing 737-800 with Sky Interior is part of American’s fleet renewal plan. Later in the week I will go into more detail on American Airline’s future plans to let customers know they mean business.

CHECK OUT ALL 30 PHOTOS FROM THE DELIVERY FLIGHT

 

One Photo to Define Why Seattle Rocks for Aviation

Check out all the Boeing airplanes behind the Boeing 747-8I at Boeing Field.

Check out all the Boeing airplanes behind the Boeing 747-8I at Boeing Field. Click for larger.

I love living in Seattle and covering the airline business. There is so many aviation related things to do in the Seattle area and there always seems to be something going on. Sometimes I will get a photo that really encapsulates that feeling of Seattle being someplace special and I think this one does just that.

The photo was taken after the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental landed for the first time at Boeing Field. Although the Boeing 787, 747-8I and 747-8F are built up north in Everett, WA, most are being stored at Boeing Field during flight testing (there is one in San Antonio, TX as well).

During this event, there was sure a lot of eye candy to be seen. Of course, there is the first Boeing 747-8I (hard to miss in her orange livery) and a 747-8F. There are also five Boeing 787 Dreamliners and I see 12 brand spanking new 737s, which will be delivered all around the world.

I know I wouldn’t want to live in any other city.

 

A Nice Little Wrap Up to the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental’s First Flight

The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental during it's first flight yesterday. Photo by Boeing - click for larger.

The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental during it's first flight yesterday. Photo by Boeing - click for larger.

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of attention around the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. I wanted to wrap it all up with a conclusion of the first flight and links to all the interesting events since the start of assembling the first 747-8I in May 2010.

Yesterday, the 747-8I took off for the first time just before 10am from Paine Field with chief 747-8 test pilot Captain Mark Feuerstein at the controls and Captain Paul Stemer to his side. During the flight, the airplane reached about 19,000 feet and flew up to 250kts (288mph). After almost four and a half hours, the 747-8I successfully landed at Boeing Field to a cheering crowd.

Once landed, the plane taxied and waited for all the media to move to a white tent before being towed up closer. Stairs were brought out and the two smiling pilots were greeted by their families and Boeing executives.

“What a great privilege to be at the controls of such a great airplane on its first flight,” said Feuerstein. “And what an honor to share this day with the thousands of men and women who designed and built this airplane.”

While parked right outside the media tent, the blue initials “JFS” became quite noticeable. These initials are for Joe Frederick Sutter who is considered by many to be the father of the original Boeing 747 program. He was present for the event and today is actually celebrating his 90th birthday (Happy Birthday Joe!).

There will be two Boeing 747-8I’s completing 600 test hours before being certified for delivery. Boeing is expecting to deliver their first Boeing 747-8 Freighter by the end of the summer and the first Intercontinental by the end of 2011.

The excitement of the first flights for the 787 Dreamliner, 747-8 Freighter and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental is now completed. Now we wait for the first deliveries and watch closely as Bombardier works on their new C-series and Airbus completes the A350. In this business, the excitement never seems to end!

A look back at my blogs on the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (dates are when the stories were posted):
* May 11, 2010: Boeing starts the assembly of the first 747-8 Intercontinental
* June 15, 2010: The assembly of the fuselage begins
* October 21, 2010: Video of the 747-8I being put together
* November 1, 2010: Video of the 747-8I being moved to final assembly position
* January 16, 2011: First simulated flight for the Intercontinental
* February 02, 2011: She is seen outside without paint for the first
* February 12, 2011: The 747-8I gets all wrapped up to hide the livery and media gets to see the first Lufthansa 747-8
* February 13, 2011: Video and photos/write up for the 747-8 unveiling
* February 23, 2011: Photo of the Intercontinental in the snow
* March 14th, 2011: Interior tour of the Boeing 747-8I
* March 20th, 2011: Photos and video of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental’s first flight and first landing

Boeing’s First Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Lands at Boeing Field (Pictures and Video)

After a successful flight around Washington state, the first Boeing 747-8 International landed at Boeing Field, located in Renton, WA. On this post is an HD video of the landing and taxi. Sorry for it being wobbly, I had to get in a really awkward position to get this video without getting people in it, but it worked.

CHECK OUT THE 29 PHOTOS FROM THE BOEING 747-8 INTERCONTINENTAL’S FIRST LANDING AT BOEING FIELD