The Spirit of 12s Boeing 747-8 Freighter taking off at Paine Field – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
The Spirit of the 12s Boeing 747-8F has been pretty popular, especially by tracing a 12 using their flight path. Tomorrow, Saturday the 1st from 11am to 1pm, it will be on the ground next to the The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour where you take photos and cheer on the Seahawks.
There will be a special Seahawks rally that starts at noon (arriving by 11:30am is suggested) and then fans will be able to file past the specially-painted 747-8F and take photos. Admission to the rally and taking photos are free. If you like the Seahawks and you like airplanes, this might be your thing.
A special flight path for a special plane – Image: FlightAware.com
It is rare to catch more than two Boeing 747 Dreamlifters at Paine Field. It is even more special when one is able to catch three Dreamlifters. But three Dreamlifters and a Beechcraft Starship (NC-50 / N8285Q)? Oh yes!
On November 10th, that is exactly what happened next to the Future of Flight – Aviation Center & Boeing Tour — and what a view. The Dreamlifters were parked at their new Operations Center and the Starship was at a fund raiser for the Future of Flight.
There are four Dreamlifters that have been built (you might have remember that one recently landed at the wrong airport) and they are modified Boeing 747-400s used to transport 787 Dreamliner parts around the world.
An awesome photo, closer up of British Airways 787 at Paine Field. Taken by moonm.
Three days this week, we have posted a photo post on a new livery on a 787 (An American Airlines 787 and a Norwegian Air 787 were posted earlier this week). Today we are highlighting British Airways first Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a sort of semi-livery. As in the tail is painted, but the fuselage is not.
We have seen this before and every other time, it has turned out to mean a special livery for the 787. Is British Airways planning the same? As of posting, no official word from the airline, but my guess is we will probably see something a bit different than their standard livery.
British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner seen from the Strato Deck at the Future of Flight. Photo by Sandy Ward.
This has been a good month for BA and new aircraft types. Earlier, their first Airbus A380 rolled out of the paint hangar in Germany and now the 787 in Everett. Just too bad we do not know when the Dreamliner will be delivered to the airline.
Any guesses what this livery might entail? Or do you think it will just end up being the standard livery?
A big thanks to moonm and the Future of Flight for letting us use their photos.
AN-124 landing at Paine Field last Saturday.
Check that off my bucket-list: sitting in the command seat of an Antonov AN-124.
This aircraft is big. The AN-124 is the world’s second largest aircraft, behind its larger cousin, the Antonov AN-225 and it is comparable in size and payload to the Boeing 747-8F and the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy.
The AN-124 is kneeling with the nose up, ready to unload its cargo.
Getting solid numbers on how many have been built and are currently flying is not easy. From what I can find, it appears anywhere from 40 to 60 AN-124s have been built, with over 25 still in service today.
The AN-124 next to a Boeing Dreamlifter, which were both next to the Future of Flight.
The AN-124 was initially designed in the 1970’s to provide heavy transport for the Soviet military. The first airframe was started in 1979 and the first flight took place in December 1982.
BONUS: Interactive cargo loader for the AN-124
Antonov ceased building the AN-124 after the fall of the Soviet Union, but due to demand, the AN-124 was put back into production and is still currently being built and mostly sold to private airlines who fly cargo around the world.
The cargo deck has its own crane system to easily load and unload cargo.
This past Saturday an AN-124 was spotted heading to Paine Field in Everett, WA. A group of AvGeeks rallied and headed to watch her land from the Strato Deck on the Future of Flight. I have seen the AN-124 a few times passing in person, but never in action — she is an impressive beast.
|Max Take Off Weight
The aircraft that stayed a few days, RA-82046, was delivered to Volga Dnepr Airlines in 1993 and obviously still flies for them today.
The AN-124 is not a small aircraft.
After landing at Paine Field, the AN-124 parked on the taxi way, blocking it. There was a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 that was looking to take off and they had to taxi down the runway and turn around to make it. It was a nice comparison of size.
The controls of the AN-124. RA-82046
One thing I did not realize on the AN-124 is that the body can move down (much like a bus will kneel) to make the loading and unloading of cargo easier. Once the large nose lifted up, the plane lowered and two Boeing 747-8 fuselage panels were removed.
The aircraft also has an internal crane where a flat bed can pull right up to the aircraft and cargo can easily be loaded and unloaded.
The AN-124 flight deck holds six people. It is huge.
I was lucky enough to get access to the inside of the aircraft and what a trip — it was almost like traveling through time. The flight deck was huge, seating six people: two pilots, two navigators and two engineers. I am quite certain it was larger than my first apartment in college.
The forward part of the upper crew rest area behind the flight deck.
Behind the flight deck is a crew rest area with a lavatory, small kitchen and two seating areas that can convert into beds. There is a second upper deck behind the wings (we were not able to view) that is designed to hold up to 80 passengers or additional cargo.
One of the crew rest nooks with fax machine.
Walking around in the AN-124 felt more like being in a submarine than it did an aircraft. Things seemed to be laid out in a utilitarian way, not necessarily for looks or atmosphere. But really… what would you expect from the aircraft? It was designed for military operations.
The AN-124 as seen from the Strato Deck on the Future of Flight — the Dreamlifter was moved at this point.
The AN-124 is quite versatile in what it can haul. According to Antonov’s website, the plane been used to deliver,” a 90 ton hydraulic turbines, the Liebherr large dimension mobile crane, the USA Euclid mine truck, the fuselage of the Tu-204 passenger aircraft, a 109 ton locomotive, General Electric GE90 aircraft engines, various combat vehicles, Lynx anti-submarine helicopters, a spaceship in its container and other unique cargoes.”
Anotonov AN-124 taking off from Paine Field on Tuesday heading to California.
Antonov continues to provide additional packages to improve the payload, range, technology and all around cost effectiveness of the AN-124. It is likely we will be seeing these beautiful flying machines well into the future.
I will also be sharing a video of the AN-124 shortly, so stay tuned. Aircraft data from Wikipedia.org
GALLERY OF ADDITIONAL ANTONOV AN-124 PHOTOS
Want more photos? Of course you do, here are 21 additional AN-124 photos on Flickr. And a HUGE thanks to Christine with the Future of Flight and the others who helped to make this possible!
||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
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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