An American Airlines 777-300ER on approach to Paine Field in Everett - Photo: Mal Muir |

An American Airlines 777-300ER on approach to Paine Field in Everett – Photo: Mal Muir |

I don’t know about other AvGeeks & plane spotters out there but I have this list of aircraft that I have been trying to get photos of lately.  Well it sure was a lucky day in Everett when I can tick two off the list in the span of a few minutes.

What is on my list?  First, I hope to get each airline that operates the Boeing 787s (because some of the liveries are just downright pretty) and also every airline that operates to Australia (where I am from). Other than that, my list is pretty much made up of  airlines that I feel good looking schemes or ones that I haven’t seen before.  The holy grail’s though are the special schemes and the retro liveries.

A Saudia Cargo 747-8F About to turn onto 16R at Paine Field - Photo: Mal Muir |

A Saudia Cargo 747-8F about to turn onto 16R at Paine Field – Photo: Mal Muir |

The four that have eluded me lately up at Everett had been the American Airlines new Livery, Aeroflot’s 777-300ER, Saudia Cargo 747-8F and the Uzbekistan Airlines 767.  When I saw on the Saturday morning that the American 777 was doing a test flight, well you can bet where I was headed.  Even though the fog was thick in the morning for the takeoff, I ran some errands and came back for the departure.  When the sun had burnt away the fog and it was a glorious looking afternoon.

To make the afternoon even better, as the American 777 came onto its final approach, the Saudia Cargo 747-8F got taxi clearances for the test flight it was about to begin… score!

An American Airlines 777 in the New Livery Touches down as a Saudia Cargo 747-8F taxi's by  - Photo: Mal Muir |

An American Airlines 777 in the New Livery Touches down as a Saudia Cargo 747-8F taxi’s by – Photo: Mal Muir |

Even though some of the photos were not perfect, it doesn’t matter.  It’s about getting out and enjoying the sunshine, seeing the aircraft and chatting with fellow AvGeeks.  Here is to a fruitful spring and summer of spotting!


This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent.

Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.

@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos

CORRESPONDENT - SEATTLE, WA. Mal is an Australian native who has been a huge fan of airlines and aviation and currently works in airport-related operations. Email:
Boeing 747 Dreamlifter Makes Emergency Landing at Paine Field

Great pics. Curios….did the Saudia have an N number on it (and if so, what was it) or was it already registered to Saudia? Reason for curiosity…is it really a Saudia plane or is it an Atlas plane in Saudia colors?? Thinking the tail number might be N854GT??


Definately had an N rego but nothing to do with Atlas. Rego was showing as N5023Q which was the registration that Atlas Air was to have. But it is most probably going to change to a Saudi rego before delivery I would assume.

The Saudia Cargo is a 747-87U F, c/n 37562 l/n 1429, and should have been the 1st one for Atlas Air as N850GT. However Atlas refused the 1st 3 aircraft because they weren’t up to spec (weight/range problems – there are still 2 early Cathay Pacific ones stored at PAE for the same reasons). It was re-regd N5023Q prior to ff back in January. When delivered to Saudia Cargo it will become HZ-AK13.

Atlas Air re-used N850GT on c/n 37570 which they operate for Panalpina Cargo in full Panalpina colours (or colors if you prefer)

Thanks for that Ken. Saves me the hassle of explaining it all out. Although I was wondering what those CX Freighters were doing there and if they would ever move…. ever.

N5023Q is a “dealer tag” owned by Boeing so it hadn’t been handed over to the end customer yet…could be Atlas or could be Saudia. Will be anxious to know. Atlas is due for a few more Dash-8’s any day now.

These are great picture!!!

Great pics! Keep them coming…

Spot on, Mal. You Nailed it with that last shot. Keep sending us the good stuff and thanks.


Nice new livery for USAirways!

Great shots. I am looking forward to getting some of my own in a few weeks up there.

Question: I have seen a few different people finding out that certain planes would be flying at certain times. How do you find out? Is is just a matter of using FlightAware, or is there some other better source specifically for Paine Field?

Hey Dave

You will love your time around Paine Field but my biggest thing is be prepared to wait!

I wrote a short guide for Aviation Geek Fest this year so that should help you out a little

But the hardest thing is that there isn’t really a source to tell who is flying. Flightaware will be your friend on the day but it’s not all that accurate or ideal with test flights. To be able to tell what aircraft is what I use the BOE flight number from FlightAware and then correspond that against the Puget Sound Test Flight Blog though again this is not always accurate as it may be a day or two behind. But its better than nothing

It should be “the holy grails” not “the holy grail’s”, in the last sentence of the second paragraph, although it is not a metaphor I would use for what you are describing. Perhaps “the icing on the cake” or some reference to a “home run” would be better.

Also “made up of airlines that I feel good looking schemes” should probably be [changes in brackets] “made up of [delete a space] airline[r]s that I feel [sport] good looking schemes”.


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