dimanche 11 juin 2017

Boeing Plant 1

When people talk about airliners the most common word which comes to their mouth is "Boeing"! So when I tell people what my job is, too often they think I am flying a big Boeing. Well, I am sorry folks, I only fly a European designed wonderful piece of machinery called Airbus A320! But yes, if I could choose, I would also fly a Boeing. It seems those airplanes fly better, are aimed towards Pilots, just like the DC-3 is!
And today Ladies and Gentlemen, we are going to the place where it all begun for The Boeing Company. Not landing at Seattle Tacoma nor Everett, rather choose KBFI or Boeing Field! Carefully planning our route today as going towards such a congested airspace needs some study of charts. And since our lovely DC-3 started to get angry with its transponder altitude encoding, we might be facing with a no-go from air traffic control. So here come the question, should we be honest and tell them or...?
We were in between then. I filed a flight plan stating our transponder works fine and Paul called the flight services in order to advise them of the erratic functioning of mode C (the altitude mode of the transponder). They were fine with it, as long as we make sure to stick to our assigned altitudes! This is what we normally plan on doing anyway!
But before reaching Seattle, we still had to fly south and without any or very few contacts with ATC. Also like always in those areas, the weather to get out of the fjords wasn't perfect at all. Low clouds were present in the morning of our departure. Checking windyty this is what we had

Rain and low clouds. The good thing is that the forecast showed us an improvement for the later stage of the day. As we had more than 5 hours of flight time planned for the day everything could change. Fortunately it did! 

Precipitations near Seattle

Cloud layers and winds along the route

We saw an opportunity at 10 am and took the air for some beautiful sceneries along the way. Here are some nice pictures

Francisco, Peter and myself
Because we are cool people! Francisco, Greg and I
Happy flying alone (guess they trust me!)
Not far from Vancouver!
And then we approached our destination, Seattle, with a lot of chatter on the frequency today, basically flying from north you have to cross Everett and Seattle Tacoma airspaces and to say busy isn't any euphemism! We could see airplanes flying everywhere in every directions, landing lights ON!
Arriving into Seattle Boeing Field was a dream of mine, just like was Anchorage. We arrived via Victoria VOR (YYJ) west of Vancouver and avoiding Paine Field (Everett), we made our way towards Elliott Bay pointing towards the Space Needle for a right downwind to runway 32L at Boeing Field. A very precise flight path needs to be flown in order to keep away from Renton (another Boeing factory) which stands south south east of Boeing Field. The fact is, when you fly on the left and you make a right hand downwind, you are pretty unsure of when you should turn. For instance I had the chance of having Paul sitting right next to me to guide us for the approach. This place is his play field in the end!
On downwind you find yourself on a small ridge and finally very low compared to the ground but high regarding final approach. Together with a pretty bumpy ride it was interesting to say the least.  We made a couple of my signature "s" on the runway, still unsure of my landing technique on the Gooney Bird!!! 

Welcome to the USA! Just landed and the Ford Mustang awaited us! However to fit 5 people plus bags inside it wasn't possible! Nice touch from Signature but we unfortunately had to change the model!
That night we ate a very good steak at one of the best steakhouse downtown Seattle. Such a nice city! 

The next day, on the 11th June, I spent most of my day at the Museum of Flight located right across our DC-3 on the ramp. This is a pretty big museum and houses many many airplanes all of them  having made history in aviation. First of all the Boeing Plant 1 still sits were it was built and one can see interesting features of early Boeing models. Then you have the first 747 that took flight on the 9th February 1969. The 747 changed the way we travel today, just like the DC-3 changed it more than 30 years before the 747!
If you ever find yourself in the Seattle area then don't hesitate to take time and go to the museum. Peter and Alex enjoyed it like crazy. Paul went also with his two kids!

The DC-2, the precursor of the DC-3
Trying to get the same smile

It was also necessary to clean the airplane a bit before our flight on the 13th with journalists. So Paul and I went the afternoon until late to bring a new look at the airplane. Of course we hadn't cleaned anything since Japan!
The day ended with some good talk about aviation around a nice cold beer. 

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