N580HW, a 61-year-old Convair 580 – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com
Those of us in the Seattle AvGeek scene are all too familiar with Honeywell Aerospace Flight Test’s Convair 580 (reg N580HW) based at Paine Field (PAE) [where Boeing makes their 747, 767, 777 (for now) & most 787 aircraft]. The aircraft is serial number 2, it was built in 1952. It is not every day that you have the opportunity to see a 61-year-old aircraft in operational service, let alone fly on one. This was my lucky day.
Before making the drive to the “Honeywell Museum of Flight” at Paine Field, I was at Honeywell’s Redmond laboratory to partake in a demonstration of Honeywell’s advanced Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), and landing monitoring research.
At the time, I was not sure if I would be getting a flight on the Convair or their Sabreliner (N670H). Shortly after my arrival, I was told that we would all be hopping aboard N580HW — I was thrilled, but also at the same time kind of jealous of the Sabre crew!
A Boeing 747-400 LCF (aka Dreamlifter) at Paine Field. Image: Bernie Leighton.
The Boeing 747-400 is already a large plane. When converted into a Dreamlifter, it only gets bigger. But this amazing aerial photo of N747BC, one of the four Dreamlifters built, makes it look a bit small.
Time to take a VIP tour of one of TAM’s Boeing 777-300ERs at Paine Field. Photo: David Parker Brown
Recently, I was invited to take a special tour of one of TAM Airlines’ brand-spanking new Boeing 777s that was parked at Paine Field. The plane was so new that Boeing was still prepping it for delivery. How could I refuse?
The aircraft I toured (PT-MUJ) and was TAM’s fourth 777-300ER, which was delivered on August 29th, 2013. The airline has ordered a total of nine of the type.
The 777 is the first aircraft that TAM has equipped with their new First Class product, and I was excited to check it out.
A row of Robinson R-22s at Boeing Field
From my previous articles, I think it’s apparent to both fans and occasional readers that I’m relatively obsessive when it comes to matters of aviation photography.
Helicopter spotting is not new; far from it. Friends of mine are pioneers of helicopter-borne aviation photography, but I had never really considered it to be viable in the Pacific Northwest.
Turns out that I was wrong – very, very, wrong.
You can file this story into the “better late than never,” category. Paine Field Aviation Day happened way back in May 2013 and I have been meaning to share my photos, but kept on forgetting.This year was bigger, better, and filled with some surprises that were worthy of still sharing.
This is the only Hamilton H-47 [first flown in 1928] in the world left flying (reg NC-879H). It was caught taking off from Paine Field with a Dreamlifter and 787 Dreamliner in the background.
Admission to the yearly event is only $10 and gives visitors access to the Historic Flight Foundation, the Flying Heritage Collection, lots of airplanes on the ground, and as many other awesome activities and fly-bys as one can handle.
Although there were many scheduled flights that were entertaining, as more of an airline guy, I found the standard Boeing movements just as great. Continue reading below to see some of the photos of the day, including a Boeing 747-8I, Antonov AN-124, a few Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and more.