Browsing Tag: Seattle

I'm still convinced that KBFI has the best runway view in the US. Photo by Adam Kephart
I’m still convinced that KBFI has the best runway view in the US. Photo by Adam Kephart

This is a continuation of my multi-part series on learning to fly. You can read the whole Fly With Francis series here.

It’s been a good while since I’ve done a Learning to Fly post. Since the last time, I’ve completed my first biennial flight review, which is a mandatory mini-checkride done every two years with a flight instructor, that’s designed to verify that a pilot has properly maintained both their flying skills and regulatory knowledge.

I’ve been doing a ton of local flying around Puget Sound, plus a few flights over the mountains to central Washington state, all via rented aircraft from Galvin Flying.

Because of the Pacific Northwest’s consistently lousy winter weather, with very low clouds, rain, and low visibility, it had been a couple months since my last flight. So I booked some time with a trusted CFI and got lucky with a nice weather window, and off we went to do some practice.

I honestly miss the structure of flight training. You could expect to be constantly challenged, and asked to randomly perform flight maneuvers or emergency procedures. There are still plenty of challenges when flying on your own, but you soon settle into comfortable routines.

Our flight track from Flightradar24
Our flight track from Flightradar24 – the first one is our pattern work, the second is the entire flight

Our training flight first consisted of three laps around the traffic pattern at Seattle’s Boeing Field doing touch-and-go landings, then we exited the pattern and flew to one of our local practice areas, the one we refer to as northeast practice, as it lies to the northeast of BFI. We also have west practice, which is across Puget Sound and east of the Bremerton airport, and southeast practice, which is, perhaps unsurprisingly, southeast of BFI and east of Auburn airport.

A lot of my own flying has been to the southwest over to Tacoma Narrows Airport, or northwest along the Olympic Peninsula to Jefferson County Airport in Port Townsend, so we went northeast for something of a change, plus the transit time is the shortest of the three training areas.

Traffic is always a concern when flying in congested airspace; going out on the first good afternoon following a spell of bad weather always means there is plenty of traffic to keep an eye on
Traffic is always a concern when flying in congested airspace; going out on the first good afternoon following a spell of bad weather always means there is plenty of traffic to keep an eye on

The Cessna 172 we flew that day was equipped with a Garmin G1000 instrumentation and navigation system, which includes traffic. The arrows on the screen above represent aircraft in the area as we were leaving the practice area and descending to stay well beneath SEA’s overhead Bravo airspace when we were returning to BFI. The extended line from each arrow shows direction of travel, and the numbers indicate the altitude above or below your own; super handy info to augment what you’re seeing out the windshield.

There was nothing crazy or groundbreaking about the flight. We did some touch-and-go landings, then went out to the practice area and did a couple of stalls (one power-off approach to landing stall, and one power-on departure stall), and then headed back.

Adam the CFI took the controls so I could grab a few photos
Adam the CFI took the controls so I could grab a few photos

It’s focused practice flights such as these that keeps you safe as a pilot, and keeps your basic proficiency levels up to standard. I’ll go out again with Adam this spring to do some simulated emergencies to keep those skills sharp, too.

And I’ll leave you with one more photo of one of my favorite views ever. More soon — summer is coming.

A cockpit view from a Cessna 172 just about to touch down on a runway
Just about to touch down on 14L at the end of the flight. Photo by Adam Kephart.
Looking out the nose of a B-29 over Seattle – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Typically we cover airlines and airliners here at AirlineReporter, but occasionally an opportunity in the non-airline[r] worlds pops up that we just can’t pass on.

So when the Museum of Flight here at our Seattle HQ announced that Doc, one of only two airworthy Boeing B-29 bombers, was planning to visit in mid-May, we jumped at the chance to see her up close. Even better, we got to take a short ride around Seattle.

The airplane arrived earlier this week (May 17). Its Star Wars-esque nose, four engines, and incredibly shiny fuselage made it easy to spot on the horizon. The pilots eased the bird onto the runway and taxied down to the Museum of Flight ramp as a crowd of onlookers gathered to watch.

While the B-29 was originally produced in Seattle, Doc is not a native Pacific Northwesterner. It was one of 1,644 B-29s built at Boeing’s Wichita plant, in Kansas, and rolled off the line in March of 1945. It never saw combat, and went on serve in radar calibration and target-towing until it was decommissioned in 1956.

Doc, one of two airworthy Boeing B-29 bombers left in the world, rests after a media flight at Boeing Field in Seattle on May 17, 2022

It continued its service to the United States Air Force even after retirement, but instead of towing targets, it became one. The airplane spent decades soaking in the desert sun, along with the occasional bomb or bullet, on an Air Force bombing range near China Lake, California before being discovered in 1987.  Restoration didn’t begin for another decade, in 1998, following a considerable amount of paperwork to pry the plane loose from the US government. Eighteen years and over 450,000 volunteer hours after that, the restoration was complete, and Doc once again took flight in 2016.

Its Seattle visit is the first for Doc, and the first B-29 visit to the area in almost eight years.

Come to look at the planes, stay to have a good time! Photo: Sean O'Neill | FlickrCC

Come to look at the planes, stay to have a good time at the Museum of Flight! Photo: Sean O’Neill | FlickrCC

UPDATE: All of our tickets to the event have been assigned. See below to be added to the waitlist. 

If you live in the Seattle area, you like airplanes, and you enjoy getting together with other like-minded people, please keep on reading. On July 30th, our friends at The Points Guy will be at the Museum of Flight to host a special aviation-themed event and you should join!

What will happen at the event? Fun games, aviation-related presentations, travel discussions, a little Q&A, and the best part is talking to other AvGeeks! (there will also be some food and drinks).

You will need a ticket, but we might be able to help with that. We were kindly given a few free tickets to give away to our readers.

The details & how to get your ticket:

What: Exclusive TPG Aviation Event
When: July 30th from 7pm to 9pm
Where: Museum of Flight in Seattle
Cost: Nothing, just a smile
How to get on the waiting list (updated):  We have given out all our tickets for the event. If you wanted to be added to the waitlist, you can email me at da***@ai*************.com with ’œTPG’ in the subject line. I will know by Sunday if any come available. Thanks!

Hope to see you there (I will be there, along with a few other AirlineReporter writers)!

RDU’s stunning Terminal 2 ticketing area – Photo: RDU Airport Authority

Two cities on either side of the country have become the epicenter of a battle royale that would make wrestling promoter Vince McMahon proud. Put on your best ring announcing voice and proclaim this the ’œBattle of SEA and RDU!’ (rolls off the tongue better than “Seattle-Tacoma International Airport versus Raleigh’“Durham International Airport)

Through a TV news and PR career, I’ve lived in some cities I would have never imagined, including six years in Raleigh, NC (2001 to 2007). Back then, American Airlines dominated with regional jet service to smaller cities and big planes to major hubs of Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and New York.

Delta mainly flew to Atlanta and Cincinnati. You also had the option of Northwest Airlines to its hub cities of Memphis, Minneapolis, and Detroit. One city not on the list back then was Seattle. I flew out to the Emerald City in 2005 to see my Minnesota Twins in the baseball opener via a connection in Minneapolis on Northwest.

What a difference a decade makes. Thanks to increased competition and more nonstop flights to cities that were once ignored by the airlines, the consumer has more choices than ever as Seattle and Raleigh, NC have two nonstop flights that started within the past two years. RDU also has a stunning updated terminal that makes Sea-Tac’s 1970’s airport look even worse than its brown facade and cramped restrooms seem.

Alaska was first with nonstop Seattle to Charleston, SC and Raleigh, NC flights. It was a roll of the dice for Alaska, who does not have much brand recognition east of the Mississippi. The Charleston flight was literally a gift to Boeing, since so many of its employees shuttle between the two cities (due to their 787 factory there). Raleigh has a big tech and pharmaceutical community, so the airlines are banking on that business.

Alaska says the risk is worth the reward.

“We are all about providing nonstop access to destinations like Charleston and Raleigh making travel convenient and efficient for our guests,” Alaska spokesperson Ann Johnson tells AirlineReporter. “Since we started service in Charleston and RDU, we have increased it based on the demand. We have increased the number of days of week that we operate the Charleston service. At RDU we launched a second destination to SFO last year. Alaska offers the most nonstop service out of Seattle to top destinations.”

Delta did not respond for comment on this story.

I had a personal flight recently on Delta (I paid for and did not receive any perks for doing this story) and thought why not break down the service.

Air France flight 338 arrives at Sea-Tac Airport March 25

Air France flight 338 arrives at Sea-Tac Airport March 25

Following an absence of over six years, Air France is once again flying to the U.S. Pacific Northwest, using a Boeing 777-200ER with a three-class cabin for flights from Paris-Charles De Gaulle (CDG) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on an initial schedule of three flights per week. Seattle is Air France’s 12th U.S. gateway.

Of course there was cake

Of course there was cake

The new SEA-CDG service will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, increasing to five per week during the summer peak season (June 19 ’“ Sept. 1) by adding Mondays and Tuesdays to the schedule.