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Trip to Seattle to see Boeing and Museum of flight?

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  • Trip to Seattle to see Boeing and Museum of flight?

    Thinking about a trip to Seattle this summer for a few days. My two favorite things are Airplanes of all kinds & Classic Automobiles/Muscle Cars. The reason for this trip is to see the Boeing plant tour(s) and Museum of Flight. Also I have heard there are a couple great Car collections in the Seattle area as well. Also I will be going alone which is great so I can go at my own pace.

    My questions are:
    1) How much time to set aside for the Boeing tour(s)?
    2) Is there more than 1 tour for different assembly lines?
    3) Is there anything else to see at Boeing Plant once the tour is over?
    3) How much time to set aside for Museum of flight?
    4) I would like to take in 1/2 a day to full day for plane spotting. Which airport woud be best to see heavies and/or which has the best views for planespotting? Paine, Boeing, Sea-Tac?
    5) Anybody know of any Classic Car Collections open to the public?

    Any input would be appreciated, and thanks for helping me plan my trip as I have never been there before.

  • #2
    I did the tour (I'm not aware of more than the one) back in 2008. As far as I remember it takes about 1.5 hours but I spent most of the day there and went back the following day for the first flight of the B777F (http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=6316671).

    In addition to the tour you have the Future of Flight which has some very interesting exhibits and a balcony to see over the field from, and the restoration centre over the south side houses things like a United Boeing 247 and the prototype B727. Check my photos, sort under "airport name" and page forward to location Snohomish County Airport/Paine Field - KPAE.

    This link should hopefully have them sorted: (http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos....|||&newsort=10)

    No cameras are allowed (lockers provided) on the Boeing tour although one or two people do manage to get press passes or suchlike now and then. The tour covers the assembly plant and is run by the coachload from the Future of Flight, details and booking here: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/tours/index.html

    The restoration centre does open but it was closed when I was there. You might want to see if they have a website / drop them an e-mail to check times.

    As you probably know, KPAE and KBFI aren't that close to eachother (KBFI and KSEA are) but 1/2 day to 1 day isn't nearly enough to really do much more than one airfield.

    The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field is fantastic - both inside and outside with the static displays (prototype B737, B747, original Air Force 1, Concorde etc. etc.) and the movements are interesting (if relatively sparce) because Boeing do their flight testing there. PM is cargo departure time: you can have about half a dozen machines departing in not so much as 20 minutes, arriving usu. during the afternoon. Page forward / back for Seattle Boeing Field/King County - KBFI.

    SeaTac is the commercial airport and has steady traffic pretty much all day long although most will be short-medium hall. Heavies tend to come in during the afternoons, various airlines on various days. Page forward / back for Seattle-Tacoma Int'l Airport - KSEA.

    If you're planning is spot on, you might be able to take an early tour at KPAE, spend the morning there and have enough time to see most of what KBFI has to offer, finishing late to catch the cargo heavies but, TBH, you would be better off planning at least 2 days to do more than 1 location.

    Paul
    Last edited by HB-IHC; 2010-03-14, 21:59.



    All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last (Marcel Proust)

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    • #3
      T-Bone

      Museum of Flight you can do in 1 day. (full day). The tour as you know takes about 1.5 hours and appointment is a good idea. The future of flight is also ok but its still growing.

      The Boeing factory tour is Located at the Everett Plant (at KPAE) and the Museum of Flight is at Boeing Field (KBFI).

      KPAE has a great viewing area near the Future of Flight museum. A few heavies are here as that is where we build the 777,747,767 and 787. It depends on the day your here whether you will see them fly. Fedex and UPS have early morning flights

      KBFI has a lot of 737 flights as that is where we do the test flights for them. The 787 also flies out of KBFI for test flights so you might catch one of them there.

      Sea-tac has a ton of flights and lots of heavies. There is a site that shows the best viewing locations but Im not sure what that is right now. I have not personally gone down there as its a long way for me .



      If I can find them, I have lots of passes to the Museum. Send me an Email to w7psk at w7psk dot net and how many you need and Ill see if I can find them and send them to you.

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      • #4
        Great info guys, thanks so much as it gives me a tentitive plan.

        Day 1 arrival: Fly into Sea-Tac so I will get my rental car there, and probably should get a hotel room on that side of Seattle if it's a safe area? As I might arrive early afternoon I could do some plane spotting at Sea-Tac for a few hours before I check into a hotel.

        Day 2: Will start out early and make a day trip north to the Boeing plant for the tour & Future of Flight. Then after that head over to the Museum of Flights restoration centre at KPAE. Then for the remainder of the day I will plane spot at KPAE, and drive back down south to the hotel for the night.

        Day 3: Full day for the Museum of flight. As my hotel isn't going to be too far this will give me a full day here, and if I am done early, well you guessed it, plane spotting at KBFI.

        Day4: Not sure about this one yet. Could head back home or try and find a car collection to see (might be one in Tacoma). I'll look at it like a bonus day if I stay.

        If you see any issues with my plans please let me know. W7PSK, I will be on my own for this trip, as I think it might be too many planes for the wife to handle. The good thing though is I will be on my own schedule, and can plane spot until dark if I want.

        I'll let you know when my plans are set and if you have a pass to get rid of I would gladly accept it. Thanks again.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by T-Bone View Post
          Great info guys, thanks so much as it gives me a tentitive plan.

          Day 1 arrival: Fly into Sea-Tac so I will get my rental car there, and probably should get a hotel room on that side of Seattle if it's a safe area?
          I had no problems and it seemed safe enough (I used 1 motel and 1 hotel on the east / south-east side of the airport)

          Originally posted by T-Bone View Post
          As I might arrive early afternoon I could do some plane spotting at Sea-Tac for a few hours before I check into a hotel.
          If you're spotting from 188th street (see http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=6746519) be aware that this is a known druggies area after dark. That's not to say don't go... I was there until dusk on a number of occassions and, apart from twattish lads that like to honk their horns as if they had something worthwhile to say, it was fine. You might also get moved on by the airport authorities / police if you park up in one of the areas close to the perimeter fence. Best to park on one of the side roads if you can.

          Originally posted by T-Bone View Post
          Day 2: Will start out early and make a day trip north to the Boeing plant for the tour & Future of Flight. Then after that head over to the Museum of Flights restoration centre at KPAE. Then for the remainder of the day I will plane spot at KPAE, and drive back down south to the hotel for the night.
          KPAE is generally not a place where you'll see many movements. I would ask at the desk in the FoF to see if anything is happening for the day. They might know, they might not. Once you're done seeing all you set out to see at KPAE you can play it by ear and probably get back to KBFI before dark (it's pretty much on the way to / from KSEA) and sit outside the Museum of Flight to catch any remaining test flights and the cargo heavies. Nice benches... food and drink available if you want.

          ABX, ATI, DHL, UPS are all regular and can go out any time after about 1600 with a mass exodus around 1900ish but it's best to get up to date info. on which carriers / types come in / go out at which times on which days.

          KBFI might lack the volume but, if you're fairly local, I would drop in there at every opportinity even if its only for 30 minutes at a time.

          Originally posted by T-Bone View Post
          Day 3: Full day for the Museum of flight. As my hotel isn't going to be too far this will give me a full day here, and if I am done early, well you guessed it, plane spotting at KBFI.
          For any given day, if your accomodation is close to the airport, then you also have the option of dropping in to SeaTac for short bursts en-route.... worked well when I was there.

          Originally posted by T-Bone View Post
          Day4: Not sure about this one yet. Could head back home or try and find a car collection to see (might be one in Tacoma). I'll look at it like a bonus day if I stay.
          Can't help you with cars I'm afraid... I wouldn't look at one twice unless it was the one I was driving or the one behind or infront of me

          Paul
          Last edited by HB-IHC; 2010-03-16, 13:57.



          All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last (Marcel Proust)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by W7PSK View Post
            There is a site that shows the best viewing locations but Im not sure what that is right now.


            If I can find them, I have lots of passes to the Museum. Send me an Email to w7psk at w7psk dot net and how many you need and Ill see if I can find them and send them to you.

            Did anybody find the site for spotting locations by any chance please
            I am aiming to visit LAX and Seattle in April.
            cheers
            Dave

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            • #7
              HB-IHC, great info. Also I forgot to mention, nice pics!!!

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              • #8
                Thinking about the airports KBFI & KPAE has me wondering why are Boeing test flights etc done out of KBFI? Are they not built at the Boeing plant located at KPAE?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by T-Bone View Post
                  Thinking about the airports KBFI & KPAE has me wondering why are Boeing test flights etc done out of KBFI? Are they not built at the Boeing plant located at KPAE?
                  As W7PSK mentions: "KPAE... build the 777,747,767 and 787."

                  B737s are assembled at KRNT (Renton Municipal) fairly close to KBFI.

                  However, as far as I know, there are no tours given at KRNT and, of course, you would have to be either lucky or know information beforehand to catch a new B737 on it's maiden flight.... which is likely to land at KBFI anyway.

                  I'm sure there is a gamut of reasons why Boeing utilise KBFI as their test centre, not least that it ensures the relevant expertise and facilities (assembly & paintwork / flight testing) are economically grouped together.

                  So, first flights will generally land at KBFI ready for pre-delivery testing. You will notice, for example, that virtually all but the roll-out and first flight B787 images are currently shot at KBFI but you may also see testbed aircraft used for ongoing development and in service aircraft which undergo testing following modifications.

                  Once testing is completed (by Boeing and the relevant airline representatives) the "keys" are handed over at a ceremony and the aircraft officially passes from Boeing to the airline, who's pilots take the controls and depart for home base.

                  I was lucky enough to capture a moment like that here: http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=6318340


                  Paul
                  Last edited by HB-IHC; 2010-03-18, 11:10.



                  All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last (Marcel Proust)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by B2Spirit View Post
                    Did anybody find the site for spotting locations by any chance please
                    I am aiming to visit LAX and Seattle in April.
                    cheers
                    Dave
                    I found this, and printed it off to take along.
                    http://nycaviation.com/spotting-guides/sea/

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T-Bone View Post
                      I found this, and printed it off to take along.
                      http://nycaviation.com/spotting-guides/sea/

                      perfect - that gives me something to read...!

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                      • #12
                        T-Bone
                        I have the Envelope in me pocket wiith 2 passes (just in case) to drop in the mail today. Have fun.

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                        • #13
                          W7PSK thank you so much, that is very kind of you. I got the flights, hotel, and rental car all booked, so I am good to go (this summer).
                          Also I booked my connecting flight from Vancouver to Seattle a few hours later so I can do some plane spotting in the lounge area at CYVR that was designed for spotting. It looks pretty cool in the CYVR video.

                          So last night I was flying around Seattle in my flight sim C182 to get a lay of the land and freeways etc. On the way from my Renton hotel to Everett I flew over Kenmore Air. Doh!!! That's another thing I have always wanted to do and completely forgot about. As I have never flown in a sea plane before, and never flown around Seattle, I think I will partake in a sight seeing flight too, and do a little plane spotting at Kenmore. I live about as far away from the coasts as you can get so that will be cool to see and hear few float planes come and go.

                          P.S. Maybe that second ticket is a sign my wife should tag along... I guess she has some time to decide.

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                          • #14
                            Didja ever recieve them ???

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by W7PSK View Post
                              Didja ever recieve them ???
                              You betcha! They arrived in the mailbox today. Thanks again that is just great.

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