Browsing Tag: KPAE

Delta's Queen of the Skies took a victory lap across the country on Dec. 18.

Delta’s Queen of the Skies (N674US) took a victory lap across the country on Dec. 18

With Delta Air Lines’ last 747 now in the boneyard at Pinal Airpark in Arizona, we thought it would be a good time to look back at the next-to-last farewell tour in late December when it visited both the Boeing plant of its birth and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

N674US taxiing at Paine Field in Everett. Wash. Photo: Jordan Arens

N674US taxiing at Paine Field in Everett – Photo: Jordan Arens

This particular bird (N674US – LN: 1232) first flew on September 30, 1999 and was delivered to Northwest in October of that year. It was transferred to Delta’s fleet in June of 2009 and flew with the airline until being put out to pasture. With the retirement of these iconic planes from Delta’s fleet, no U.S.-based passenger airline flies them any longer (unless you count Atlas and their charters).

A Boeing employee inspects a composite wing spar at the Building 40-02 spar shop.

A Boeing employee inspects a composite wing spar at the Building 40-02 spar shop

In a big milestone for the program, Boeing officially started production on its new 777x line on Oct. 23. The 777X will feature new GE9X engines, an all-new composite wing with folding tips, longer range, while leveraging technologies from the 787 Dreamliner.

The one-piece composite spars measure more than 100 feet long, and each aircraft requires a total of four spars - two per wing.

The one-piece composite spars measure more than 100 feet long, and each aircraft requires a total of four spars – two per wing

777X chief project engineer and vice president Terry Beezhold said it’s taken Boeing seven years to get to this point in the project. The current project schedule calls for the first test flight to happen in the first quarter of 2019, and the first delivery about a year after that.

Honeywell's Boeing 757 sits at Paine Field

Honeywell’s Boeing 757 sits at Paine Field

Honeywell recently reached out and let me know that their Boeing 757 would be parked at Paine Field (north of Seattle) overnight. They asked if I’d like to take a tour before it departed back to Phoenix. Um… yes please!

The third engine on the side of the 757

The third engine on the side of the 757, with a B-52 in the background

The rain partly cleared as I arrived and the first obvious difference between Honeywell’s 757 and the run-of-the-mill 757 is the third engine on the side of the fuselage. The engine mount is used to test different Honeywell engines in the “real world.” During my tour, the Honeywell TFE731 engine was hooked up and it was being tested for vibration issues.

The Paine Field Fire Department, ready for action!

The Paine Field Fire Department, ready for action!

I think many people have a child-like persona that lives inside them. I know I do. When I had the opportunity to hang out with the fine folks at the Paine Field Fire Department, my inner seven-year-old was not only excited, but very jealous of my mid-30s self.

Yes. I am very much having a good time - Photo: AirlineReporter

Yes. I am very much having a good time. – Photo: AirlineReporter

I think my initial pitch was to do a story about how the Paine Field Fire Department operates at the airport — and it was very professional-like. When they told me they would love to host me for a story, I couldn’t help but ask if I could turn on the lights and sirens. They told me they could arrange for much more than that. I was down!