Thursday, September 15, 2011

Paine Field Airshow

We had the opportunity spend a fantastic day at the Paine Field Open House and Fly-In in Mukilteo in May 2011.

This one is somewhat unique in that there are two Historical Airplane 'Museum's' on site as well as the largest building in the world by volume, Boeing Everett Manufacturing Plant. The Future of Flight owned & operated by Boeing includes the history and future of Flight focusing on Boeing including a Tour of the manufacturing facilities. The Flying Heritage Museum owned by Microsoft co-found Paul Allen, includes over 25 rare & historical planes and exhibits. The Historic Flight Museum Collection is home to eight aircraft from 1927 to 1957 completely restored and flight ready.
During the Pain Field Open House & Airshow all of these locations brought out thier entire flying collections in addition to other fly-ins and Boeing aircraft.
The first part of the day included on tarmac viewing of the planes, tanks, landing gear, engines, airport Firetrucks, classic cars and so much more.

Thousands of fans attended this year and this event continues to grow dramatically each year.
Allowing us access onto the tarmac allowed for some unique and exciting photograph opportunities...

In the afternoon, the planes taxi'd on the runway for fly-by's:

One of the most unique and exciting treats at the event was getting up close and personal with the Boeing Dreamlifter transport aircraft.
Boeing uses this aircraft to transport fuselage, wings and other large sections for thier new 787 Dreamliner. There are four (4) Dreamlifters and all are highly modified 747-400 aircraft that spent a number of years in regular service with various Airlines.
The Dreamlifter has a main cargo volume 3 times the capacity of a 747-400 Freighter and is big enough to carry:
  • 42 million ping pong balls
  • 8 million 12oz cans
  • 80 Mini Cooper cars
  • A 10 lane/3 level bowling alley with room enough for a restaurant
  • 1 pair of 787 Wings
  • 1 787 Mid-body Fuselage Section
The tail opens up to allow cargo to be loaded. The swinging portion of the plane tail weighs as much as a fully loaded WWII B-17 Bomber. Below is the hinge part of the tail section.
 As mentioned, the Dreamlifter is a highly modified 747-400. In the photo below you can see where the original fuselage was cut out (the line just below the "Operated by Atlas Airlines") and the "bulge" was welded & riveted on. You can also see the seam just to the right of the entry door
Here is a close up of the riveted and highly reinforced front section... Wouldn't it have been nice to be the rivet salesman?
Near the end of the event, they took this Dreamliner out onto the tarmac and prepared for takeoff:
Then it was time for take off!!
This big boy takes off LOW and SLOW!!
The Super Cargo Loader has 32 tires and 16 steerable axles.
The entire cargo can be loaded / unloaded in less than 1 hour.
The Dreamlifter is capable of transporting any approved payload to any designated site within 24 hours.

Then she came around for a very unique fly-by with landing gear down.
This offered the opportuntity for these photographs:
And then the Dreamlifter fired up the engines and was off to Asia to pick up another set of 787 Wings...
All in all, a fantastic day with amazing experiences.
May 2012 you can be sure that you will find me on the tarmac at Paine Field to be a part of this event once again...

"More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination." 
~Wilbur Wright