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.
The first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (ZB001) on the flight line at Paine Field (KPAE). Photo by Bernie Leighton.
Yesterday, I was airborne over Paine Field again to capture Boeing’s gorgeous new 787. The 787-9. This aircraft will not only carry more passengers than its shorter sibling, but also offers a higher take-off weight. This will allow customers who use this frame to open routes that were never possible with current aircraft.
Although this is the first Boeing 787-9 to come out of the factory, it will not be the first to be delivered to launch customer Air New Zealand. This frame (ZB001), along with the next two that will come out of the factory, will be dedicated test aircraft. They will, however, be refurbished and make their way to Air New Zealand as ZK’s NZC and D by the end of next year.
With the first engine-run occurring earlier this morning, Boeing is hoping that the first flight will occur, “later this summer.” Afterwards, Boeing will conduct a number of different flight tests to earn airworthiness certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).