This weekend was the third Aviation Geek Fest and I think it was a success! We had people come from Denver, Calgary, Vancouver, Dallas and even New York City to share their passion for aviation. In all, about 70 people attended the event and were able to experience unique aviation activities.
The day started with a nice welcome by a Boeing 747 Dreamlifter taking off from Paine Field as some aviation geeks gathered to watch on the Future of Flight’s Strato Deck. Afterwards, folks had the opportunity to check out the Future of Flight’s gallery before we divided into four different tour groups: Boeing Factory Floor Tour, Boeing Dreamliner Gallery, Paine Field Fire Department Tour and How to Become an Airline Pilot with Regal Air.
Since I have been lucky enough to get a few factory floor tours and a view inside the Dreamliner Gallery, I decided to take the Paine Field’s Fire Department tour and was not disappointed.
I heard that the rest of the events went great and I am kind of hoping that some of you that were able to go on the other tours can leave your impressions in the comments.
I went on this tour not to write a story on the fire department (although I hope they welcome me back for one), but I was going as an aviation geek. This means I was able to fully enjoy myself, take photos, ask interesting questions, but did not having to worry about taking notes — like a true avgeek.
Although the actual fire station was very interesting, getting there was half the fun. We were picked up in a the fire department’s Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) bus and were followed by a fire truck. This was in case something were to happen at the airport, the fire personnel in the bus, could hop on the truck and take care of any situation.
The bus had everything that would be needed in an emergency and even a few old first class airline seats to rest on, if needed.
As we headed towards the fire department, on the other side of Paine Field, we stopped and were given some wonderful photo opportunities of the airport. It was nice to be able to see aircraft from angles I have never seen before, while being escorted by a fire truck. The kid in me was quite pleased.
Once we arrived at the fire station, it was time for our tour. The station is still rather new and has everything needed to take care of most incidents that might occur at Paine Field. The airport actually has two fire departments; the one we toured that is operated by Snohomish County and a second that is operated by Boeing. They work together to insure proper airport operations.
The Snohomish County’s main duty is to take care of the airport and private operators, while Boeing’s department is to watch after all the new 777, 767, 787 and 747-8 aircraft.
Although there were so many questions that one could ask about an airport fire operation, my big question was if I could turn on the fire truck lights — and I did. A life long dream was finally accomplished.
Seth Miller, who was also on the tour, put on all the fire gear that a person would need during an emergency situation. It make me hot just thinking about sporting all the gear while fighting a fire.
At the end of the tour, one of the fire rigs pulled outside and showed off its two water cannons on the front of the engine. The largest cannon on the roof is capable of pumping out around 1500 gallons of water per minute, which is sure to help put out most fires.
As we headed back to the Future of Flight, we had some additional opportunities to plane spot and enjoy our drive around Paine Field. Although it is a bit sad to see so many aircraft waiting to be delivered, it provides photo opportunities that will soon no longer be possible.
After everyone returned from their separate tours, we received a presentation from a team of the Boeing Moonshine group who specialize in making production lines as efficient as possible. They are a MacGyver-like team that will build tools and equipment on the spot to help the productivity of supply lines around the world. Their accomplishments has allowed Boeing and their suppliers to become more efficient and able to do more with the same or less space.
After their talk, we were taken to another room where the avgeeks gathered eight to a table and were given the task of building an unknown item in a short amount of time. At first it was not so clear what the items were, but after fiddling around, it started to become obvious that they were customized business card holders.
When they completed the first round, they had to take them all a part again, the Moonshine team gave them better instructions and explained that they wanted eight of them built in 1minute and 50 seconds. The first team, who celebrated their quickness, completed theirs in less than a minute. An impressive feat, but they did not end up winning the competition.
It was a lesson in how a supply chain successfully functions. You cannot be late, but you also cannot be too early. It is about delivering your product right on time and the team that was closest to the delivery schedule of 1min and 50 seconds became the actual winner.
Once our supply chain tasks were completed, it was time to head to the Future of Flight Cafe to enjoy pizza, soda and beer while handing out prizes that were donated by United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and the Future of Flight. Luckily there were enough that everyone received at least one thing, but I was so into the socializing and talking about airplanes that I managed not to take one photo of this part of the event — oh well.
I think overall, it was an amazing event and I always love getting around others that share my passion of aviation and airlines. A huge thanks to the Future of Flight and Boeing for working to make this event unforgettable and to United for donating gifts and for Southwest to not only donating gifts, but also having one of their bloggers attend.
You better believe there will be another in the future and I hope that you will be able to join us.
OTHER PHOTOS OF AVIATION GEEK FEST:
Rest of my photos of #AGF12
Seth Miller – aka Wandering Aramean
Kevin Frysinger – aka @TxAgFlyer
If you attended and have photos you are willing to share, either leave a link in the comments or email them to me – firstname.lastname@example.org