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November 2010 Boeing updates

Well here is some news that I thought was worth sharing.

737NG Improvement package

Boeing is using a Continental (or should I say United) 737-800 as test bed for their new 737NG performance improvement package. The airplane, N76528 (cn 31663/3464), a 737-824, will also be Continentals first 737 with Boeing's Sky Interior when delivered. During the course of flight testing, the airplane will test out new CFM56-7BE engines. Previously, Boeing used a 737-900ER in the Summer of 2009 to test out a the new CFM engine nacelle on Continentals N37434. If all goes according to plan, the new engine and additional performance upgrades will be used on all 737NG deliveries from mid-2011 onward. Hat tip to David and RSK for the heads up.

Air Australs first 737-800

Rolled out on 12 November and due out of the Renton paint hangar at the end of the week, F-ONGA (cn 40910/3484), will be the airlines first 737-800 and will be delivered to the airline in early December 2010. Air Austral made the order for two 737-800's in late 2009 to compliment their current fleet of 737 Classics. The second 737-800 is due to be rolled out in about two weeks.

Ethiopian 777-200LR

Delivery of the airlines first 777 will be this week, but it will make a stop at Boeing Field on Wednesday and park at the Museum of Flight Thursday for a private delivery ceremony. Delivery ceremonies at the Museum of Flight are not uncommon, particularly because the museum is located in the City of Tukwila, where the sales tax rates are less than in Everett or Seattle. The airplane is due to make a one way commercial flight from Seattle-Tacoma International airport on Friday, 19 November, to IAD and then on to ADD. Hat tip to Tim for the info.

The 3500th 737NG

The fuselage section of 737NG No. 3500  was rolled off a rail car and into the Boeing Renton factory last week. The airplane, a 737-8V3,  will be going to Copa Airlines as HP-1716CMP (cn 40361/3500). The 3000th 737NG went to Jet Airways in September 2009, but wore no special markings. I wouldn't expect any special markings for this one either. The current production rate of the 737NG is roughly 31 planes per month, with the intention of increasing to 38 a month by 2012.

Boeing 717 at Boeing Field

More interestingly, on the Boeing Seattle ramp. The Ex-Midwest 717, reg'd N912ME, arrived late Friday afternoon from Victorville and is still parked on the Boeing ramp as of today.

N794BA gone for good

The Ex-Korean Air Cargo 747-400 BCF that was assisting the 747-8F programme in wake turbulence testing was flown down to Pinal Airpark in Marana, AZ in early November to get ready to be leased out to a cargo operator. The airplane was only with flight test programme for three months.

P-8A T-4 flown

The fourth airworthy P-8A Poseidon took it's first flight from RNT on 18 October 2010. The airplane was subsequently rolled into the 14-01 building, a former 737 assembly plant across the street from BFI, two days after it's first flight. In order to fit inside the hangar and make it across East Marginal Way, the raked winglets were removed. The plane will have it's electronic equipment installed at BFI and then flown to Naval Air Station Patuxent River to join T-1, T-2, and T-3 with their flight testing by the US Navy. The fifth P-8A is on the assembly line at RNT and is due to roll out in December. The next P-8 off the line should be the first Indian Navy P-8I due for preliminary delivery in early 2011.

Identify the aircraft by sound

I was playing around with my new iPod touch and decided to see how well the built in microphone worked. I think it does a grand job for voice memos, but for recording airplane departure rolls, not so great. Nonetheless, I decided to record a few clips for this blog and whip up a quiz for people who enjoy aircraft noise as much as I do.

All audio clips were recorded on clear October afternoons with an iPod touch roughly 150 yards away from the runway centre line. All planes are on their departure rolls. The answers can be found out by clicking the link below the options which shows the actual aircraft that was the noise maker. Enjoy!

First audio clip can be found here: Clip one

  • A.) McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C w/ General Electric F404 engines
  • B.) Northrop T-38A w/ General Electric J85 engines
  • C.) Learjet 24 w/ General Electric CJ610 engines
  • D.) Fouga Magister CM170 w/ Turbomeca Marboré IIA engines
  • *** Click here for answer ***

Second audio clip can be found here: Clip Two

  • A.) McDonnell Douglas MD-83 w/ Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines
  • B.) Boeing 727-200 w/ Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines
  • C.) Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler w/ Pratt & Whitney J52 engines
  • D.) Gulfstream G-III w/ Rolls-Royce Spey RB.163 engines
  • *** Click here for answer ***

And lastly, the third clip. This one might be a bit easier: Clip Three

  • A.) Boeing 777-200LR w/ GE90-110B engines
  • B.) Boeing 737-800 w/ CFM56-7B engines
  • C.) Boeing 787-8 w/ Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines
  • D.) Airbus A330-300 w/ Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines
  • *** Click here for answer ***

Stay tuned for future blog posts. After months of neglect, I will start posting regularly here again.

Boeing AEW&C and P-8 update

The AEW&C Programme


Boeing Field (BFI) once use to be a haven for the long delayed and problem plagued 737 AEW&C programme, but after five years of rigorous flight testing, they’re starting to leave the nest. The first AEW&C was a normal 737-700 off the line from Renton and was modified at BFI to its current state. The first AEW&C had its first flight in 2004, but problems with the electronics systems delayed official delivery to the first customer, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), by years.


There are three customers for the 737 AEW&C; Australia, Turkey, and the Republic of [South] Korea. The RAAF has five “Wedgetails,” one of them currently in Honolulu flying with a Boeing callsign. Turkey, who has four planes, calls theirs the “Peace Eagle,” and still has one plane, which will be eventually registered as 06-001, at BFI. The most recent AEW&C recipient is the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF). Their first AEW&C, or “Peace Eye,” flew with its modifications for the first time in June of this year and is currently residing at BFI for further evaluations before heading over to South Korea. The RoKAF has three Peace Eye's being modified in South Korea which were fairly recently delivered stock 737-700’s. There are supposedly three more 737 AEW&C’s are on order; two for the Turkish Air Force and one for the RAAF.  

The P-8 Poseidon programme


Since the first flight of the P-8A Poseidon on 25 April 2009, there are currently three fully assembled (airworthy) P-8A’s for the United States Navy. Two of these planes, YP001 and YP003, or T-1 and T-2, are at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland for flight testing with the US Navy. One P-8A, YP004, or T-3, remains on the Boeing integrated defense systems ramp at the southwest corner BFI awaiting its second flight. If history is any guide, this plane will fly four or five test flights before joining T-1 an T-2 at NAS Patuxent River


As of 28 July 2010, one P-8A being assembled at Renton’s 4-20 building. It’s in the final stages of assembly and should be rolled out of the factory very soon. There are also two non airworthy test frames, YP002 and YP005, or S-1 and S-2, also in the 4-20 building at Renton still undergoing static and fatigue tests.


The first Indian Navy P-8I, the only other customer of the P-8, will start assembly sometime this year. The Indian Navy will take delivery of their first P-8I in 2011, while they’ll get an additional seven in 2015. The United States Navy has a total of 105 P-8A's on order.

Jet City Report update - 14 July 2010

After a long absence, I’m back to posting. My apologies for not making my posts a regular occurrence.

Image courtesy of the Boeing Company

Boeing's Sky Interior

The first 737NG with Boeing’s new Sky interior will be on flyDubai’s A6-FDJ (cn 40237/3356) and should make it’s first flight out of Renton Municipal airport by the end of next week. This plane will be flight testing for a few months at Boeing Field before delivery and will have a temporary Boeing company N-number assigned for the flight testing phase. This plane’s block number is YR001 and will use the call sign “Boeing 001 Experimental.” Now don’t confuse this with ZA001, the first 787 Dreamliner who flies as “Boeing 001 Heavy Experimental.” When Boeing planes with the same callsigns fly on the same day, they usually resort to flying as the last three digits of their line number. So, YR001 (being the less prestigious of the two) will probably be flying as “Boeing 356” more often than not. For more information on Boeing’s sky interior, follow this link.

McChord Air Expo

The 2010 McChord Air Expo is this Saturday and Sunday at McChord Field (KTCM/TCM). Arrivals day will be this Thursday for performers and Friday for static displayed aircraft. The airshow will feature A B-2 flyby and a multitude of static and air displays. McChord Field is home to the US Air Force's 62nd Airlift Wing which flies the McDonnell Doulas C-17A. For more information on the airshow and performers, follow this link.

         

Programme update

 Stay tuned for a P-8 Poseidon and AEW&C programme update which will be my next blog post.

Boeing deliveries - Week of 11APR10

A day late, but here's the Boeing deliveres from last week.

Boeing Seattle (BFI):

  • 12APR10 - Alaska N529AS (cn 35198/3229), a 737-890.
  • 13APR10 - Shanghai B-5269 (cn 35779/3235), a 737-76D.
  • 13APR10 - Pegasus TC-AAU (cn 40873/3238), a 737-82R.
  • 15APR10 - Shandong B-5526 (cn 31717/3237), a 737-8FZ.
  • 15APR10 - China Eastern B-5265 (cn 36767/3239), a 737-79P (seen above).

Boeing Everett (PAE):

  • 14APR10 - Emirates A6-EGA (cn 38984/861), a 777-31HER.
Boeing deliveries & news - Week of 4APR10

A bit of a slow week for deliveries, but not for test flights.

Boeing Seattle (BFI):

  • 6APR10 - American N832NN (cn 33521/3228), a 737-823.
  • 6APR10 - Norwegian Air Shuttle LN-DYD (cn 39002/3231), a 737-8JP.
  • 9APR10 - American N833NN (cn 31093/3236), a 737-823.

Boeing Everett (PAE):

  • 6APR10 - UPS N338UP (cn 37944/988), a 767-34AERF.
  • 8APR10 - Qatar Airways A7-BAK (cn 36097/859), a 777-3DZER. 

News:

Early this morning, the first P-8A Poseidon (cn 34394/2599) flew non stop from Boeing Field to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. The plane left flying with the callsign "SCORE 85" and was cleared to FL230. The plane, referred to as T-1 in the flight test programme, was preliminarily delivered to the US Navy the same day as it's first flight, which was on 25 April 2009. T-1 flew a few test flights in October 2009 before entering five months of ground vibrations testing of externally mounted weapons. T-1 flew four test flights earlier this week before today's ferry flight to Pax River where it will under go further flight tests by the US Navy.

Boeing deliveries - Week of 28MAR10

Boeing Seattle (BFI):

  • 29MAR10 - Lion Air PK-LGU (cn 35737/3225), a 737-9GPER.
  • 29MAR10 - American N831NN (cn 33211/3217), a 737-823.
  • 29MAR10 - Norwegian Air Shuttle LN-NOJ (cn 37884/3223), a 737-86N.
  • 30MAR10 - Private Customer HZ-ATR (cn 39317/3219), a 737-9FG BBJ3.
  • 1APR10 - China Eastern B-5501 (cn 39388/3204), a 737-86N.
  • 1APR10 - Pegasus TC-AAT (cn 40872/3227), a 737-82R.
  • 1APR10 - Southwest N945WN (cn 36660/3226), a 737-7H4.

Boeing Everett (PAE):

  • 29MAR10 - FedEx N449BA (cn 32969/827), a 777-F28. (Fmr AF order).
  • 29MAR10 - Asiana HL7791 (cn 35525/853), a 777-28EER.
  • 31MAR10 - ANA JA785A (cn 37951/855), a 777-381ER.
P-8A T-1 flying again

On a rainy and windy April day, P-8A Poseidon T-1 taxied down the bravo taxiway to runway 13R at Boeing Field. This would be the airplanes first flight since October 2009 after five months of ground vibrations testing. Today, T-1 was flying with the call sign "SCORE 85 Experimental." T-1 would be flying with a Boeing commercial airplanes (BCA) chase plane, N416X, and would be performing an airborne pickup of SCORE 85. Just around 1600 local time, N416X took off and flew a left downwind pattern while SCORE 85 taxiied onto the runway to position and hold. N416X would then line up with the bravo taxiway, which parallels with runway 13R, and when ready, would tell SCORE 85 to start their departure roll so N416X and SCORE 85 would meet side by side at the point of rotation. N416X would fly alongside the plane for the entire duration of the two hour flight and would be labeled by ATC as "SCORE 85 Experimental Flight."

Since the Poseidon is a US military ITAR compliant programme, you cannot track these planes on any free or subscription based flight trackers. Because of this, I followed SCORE 85 on the radio as long as I could and heard it cleared direct to Pendleton (PDT) via V 4 vectors and was last heard cleared to FL350. After loosing radio contact with the plane, all I could do was sit and wait. Not knowing for certain how long the flight would be, I chatted it up with some fellow BFI spotters to pass the time.

Roughly two hours after SCORE 85 departed, I heard it call into Seattle Approach. A few minutes later as it was about to land, a dark rain cloud dumped it's load on me while winds challenged my balance while standing on a 120 cm (four foot) step ladder. The plane touched down perfectly on runway 13R with N416X following it in side by side flying 15 m (50 ft) over the bravo taxiway. After landing, the plane taxiied back to the runway for a high speed taxi test. The US Navy test pilots who were in command of the airplane must've thought I was one crazy guy. Drenched, even in a rain coat, wearing my P-8A Poseidon baseball cap, I was feverishly shooting the plane before my lens was covered in rain drops as they taxiied by. After the high speed taxi test, they came back on the bravo taxiway for one last photo pass, which is when the photo above was captured.

All three airworthy Poseidon's are due to return to the air by the end April with T-1 transferring over to NAS Pax River for US Navy evaluations late in the month. There are also two test frames that will never fly (YP002 & YP005) that are finishing up static and fatigue tests over at Boeing's Renton facility.

Boeing deliveries - Week of 21MAR10

Boeing Seattle (BFI):

  • 22MAR10 - Private Customer N382BJ (cn 38608/3208), a 737-7KK BBJ.
  • 22MAR10 - American N830NN (cn 31091/3209), a 737-823.
  • 22MAR10 - Garuda Indonesia PK-GMH (cn 30142/3213), a 737-8U3.
  • 25MAR10 - Norwegian Air Shuttle LN-NOV (cn 31713/3215), a 737-8FZ.
  • 25MAR10 - Southwest N944WN (cn 36659/3220), a 737-7H4.
  • 26MAR10 - Ryanair EI-EKW (cn 38506/3221), a 737-8AS.
  • 26MAR10 - Ryanair EI-EKX (cn 35030/3222), a 737-8AS.

Boeing Everett (PAE):

  • 23MAR10 - Delta N709DN (cn 40559/854), a 777-232LR.
  • 24MAR10 - China Cargo B-2077 (cn 37713/856), a 777-F6N.
  • 24MAR10 - Delta N710DN (cn 40560/857), a 777-232LR.
Boeing deliveries - Week of 14MAR10

Boeing Seattle (BFI):

  • 15MAR10 - Lion Air PK-LGT (cn 35736/3207), a 737-9GPER.
  • 17MAR10 - SAS LN-RNW (cn 34549/3210), a 737-783.
  • 18MAR10 - Ryanair EI-EKV (cn 38507/3211), a 737-8AS.
  • 19MAR10 - Pegasus TC-AAS (cn 40871/3212), a 737-82R.
  • 19MAR10 - Copa Airlines HP-1539CMP (cn 29667/3151), a 737-8V3.

Boeing Everett (PAE):

  • [None]

News / Notes:

As I mentioned in my last post, the third 787-8 and second and third 747-8F's took their first flights from Paine Field (PAE) this week and are now at Boeing Field. The Boeing Company has stated in a press release earlier in the week that some flight testing of the 747-8F would be done from BFI before all three airplanes head down to Palmdale, CA (PMD). The third 747-8F, RC522, is scheduled to fly Sunday morning.

Busy days at BFI

As I write this it's late Wednesday evening, but it feels like it's already the end of the week. The past four days have been quite eventful as one 787 and two 747-8F's have departed on their first flights from Paine Field (PAE) and arrived at Boeing Field (BFI). Also, ground testing on airplane four (787 ZA004) and two P-8A Poseidon's have been on going throughout the week. 

On Sunday morning I went to BFI to catch a Garuda Indonesia 737-800. While waiting, I heard on the Boeing TM frequency that 787 airplane one (ZA001) was going to fly, but today was a little different. On this particular test flight their gross takeoff weight was 502,400 lbs (227,000 kg), or only 100 lbs under the 787-8's Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW). After hearing how heavy they were, I decided this was a good opportunity to try and get a head on rotation shot. I went to the end of runway 13R to get the shot below.

Boeing Field's runway is 10000 ft (3048 m) long, and based on reports from other observers who saw the takeoff from another angle, it looks like the plane rotated at 8900 ft (2712 m).

After that excitement, airplane three (ZA003) filed a flight plan to fly from Paine Field (PAE) to Grant County (MWH) for a touch and go and a low approach, and then arrive to BFI after a routine two hour first flight. Airplane three is the fourth 787 to fly and will test and demonstrate the new cabin features that Boeing has been marketing.

While airplane three was airborne, we got word that the third 747-8F test airplane was going to fly the same day as well. However, the flight times were quite unpleasant. The ETA to BFI was around 1830-1900, and to make matters worse, the clouds rolled in turning a sunny Sunday morning into a dull overcast afternoon.

As reported, the second 747-8F test aircraft, the third one to fly, took it's first flight early Wednesday afternoon from PAE and arrived to BFI a little more than two hours later in some wonderful picturesque conditions.

Upon landing, a Boeing Company CT-33 chase plane, N109X, followed the airplane in flying about 100 ft above my head as I took the shot seen above. Talk about a distraction :)

Boeing deliveries - Week of 7MAR10

Boeing Seattle (BFI):

  • 9MAR10 - flyDubai A6-FDG (cn 29636/3197), a 737-8KN.
  • 10MAR10 - JAL Express JA327J (cn 35356/3201), a 737-846.
  • 11MAR10 - American N829NN (cn 33210/3200), a 737-823.
  • 11MAR10 - GOL PR-GGZ (cn 37600/3205), a 737-8EH.
  • 11MAR10 - Ryanair EI-EKR (cn 38503/3202), a 737-8AS.
  • 11MAR10 - Ryanair EI-EKS (cn 38504/3203), a 737-8AS.
  • 12MAR10 - Ryanair EI-EKT (cn 38505/3206), a 737-8AS.

Boeing Everett (PAE):

  • 9MAR10 - EgyptAir SU-GDL 9cn 38284/850), a 777-36NER.

 

So I've been neglecting this blog as of late, but I plan to do some more posts here in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Boeing deliveries - Week of 28FEB10

Boeing Seattle (BFI):

  • 3MAR10 - Norwegian Air Shuttle LN-NOT (cn 37816/3194), a 737-8JP.
  • 4MAR10 - American N827NN (cn 33209/3193), a 737-823.
  • 4MAR10 - Norwegian Air Shuttle LN-DYC (cn 39164/3196), a 737-8JP.
  • 4MAR10 - Southwest N943WN (cn 36913/3195), a 737-7H4.
  • 5MAR10 - Ryanair EI-EKP (cn 35028/3199), a 737-8AS.
  • 5MAR10 - Ryanair EI-EKO (cn 35027/3198), a 737-8AS.

Boeing Everett (PAE):

  • 28FEB10 - LAN Chile CC-CXK (cn 37802/987), a 767-316ER.
  • 2MAR10 - FedEx N852FD (cn 37723/848), a 777-FS2.
  • 3MAR10 - Thai Cargo N775SA (cn 37987/852), a 777-FZB.
  • 4MAR10 - Qatar Airways A7-BAJ (cn 36096/851), a 777-3DZER.

Notes:

Let it be known I missed two Hainan 737-800 deliveries on last weeks post that left on 27FEB10. The reason why I missed them is because they did not show up on the public flight trackers and departed early on a Saturday morning when I'm nowhere near an airport ;) Last weeks delivery post has been amended with those fly away deliveries.

Boeing deliveries and news - Week of 21FEB10

Boeing Seattle (BFI):

  • 22FEB10 - Republic of Korea AF N413NS (cn 35238/3189), a 737-7ES (future AEW&C)
  • 22FEB10 - WestJet C-GWSY (cn 37421/3184), a 737-7CT.
  • 25FEB10 - Ryanair EI-EKN (cn 35026/3187), a 737-8AS.
  • 26FEB10 - American N826NN (cn 31089/3185), a 737-823.
  • 26FEB10 - GOL PR-GGY (cn 37599/3191), a 737-8EH.
  • 27FEB10 - Air China B-5500 (cn 36752/3188), a 737-89L.
  • 27FEB10 - Hainan B-5503 (cn 36782/3186), a 737-84P.
  • 27FEB10 - Hainan B-5502 (cn 35757/3192), a 737-84P.

Boeing Everett (PAE):

  • 25FEB10 - Qatar Airways A7-BAH (cn 37662/849), a 777-3DZER.
  • 27FEB10 - China Cargo B-2076 (cn 37711/846), a 777-F6N.

Notes:

The RoKAF 73G will be South Korea's third AEW&C Peace Eye and flew this week to Georgetown, DE (GED) to get fuel tanks installed. It will be two to three months before the plane will return to BFI, still unpainted without any internal or external modifications other than the fuel tanks. At BFI it'll be worked on for roughly two weeks on the Boeing IDS ramp and will then head to South Korea for final modifications. South Korea's first AEW&C is currently being worked on at Boeing Seattle inside the south bay of the 3-390 building, while the second one flew to South Korea for final modifications just a few weeks ago.

The Ryanair 737-8AS delivery was the airlines 250th 737NG delivered to the airline. It had no external markings indicating this though.

News:


Boeing has notified the City of Tukwilia that it will move a P-8A Poseidon from the Boeing 9-101 building across East Marginal Way at 0400, either Sunday or Monday, to the Boeing IDS ramp. The planes currently inside the building are the second and third airworthy P-8A's that haven't flown, or been outside for that matter, since September 2009.

A week at BFI - Friday

This post concludes my five day series documenting the activity at Boeing Field (BFI) from my perspective as a spotter.

------------------------------------

FRIDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2010

To conclude my Week at BFI posts, this Friday proved to be another slow and rainy day. The weather returned to the normal overcast with occasional rain showers. There was only one 737NG test flight (seen above) during the day while both the first and second 787 test aircraft departed in the early afternoon. Two deliveries went out, one American Airlines 737-823 and a GOL 737-8EH. The GOL 737 went to Greensboro, North Carolina (GSO) to have seats installed and should continue to Brazil on Monday.

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