Spotting at Seattle Everett Paine Field (Boeing)
Paine Field is a single-runway airport in Everett, to the north of Seattle. It is one of the three airports in the Seattle area involved in the production and testing of Boeing’s commercial airplanes.
It’s great to visit the places where aircraft are born. As a spotter and logger, it gives you chance to catch up on new aircraft destined to live in far flung corners of the globe before they disappear off. Let’s face it, most of us can’t afford to dash off to another continent every few months to catch up on new airframes.
Therefore, if you’re in the Seattle area, a trip to Paine Field is a must. This is where Boeing builds its 747-8, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The flightline is often full of examples that are undergoing testing and pre-delivery work.
The huge assembly building at the north of the field has four production lines in operation, whilst opposite is the paint hangar. Most aircraft are built with rudders already painted, so you can get an idea of which customer the unpainted airframes are destined for.
Future of Flight / Boeing Tours
Also at the northern end of the field, on the opposite side of the runway to the production building, is the Future of Flight. This offers a museum of Boeing, various aircraft exhibits, and a fantastic Boeing store selling all sorts of goodies.
The Future of Flight is the place where tours of the Boeing Production Facility take place. You can book and find out more from this link.
On the top floor of the Future of Flight building (accessed inside) is the Observation Deck – an outdoor terrace with views over the whole airfield and runway. You can fairly easily log and photograph most aircraft from here, but you’ll need a strong pair of binoculars for the distant stuff.
Stored and Historic Aircraft
A number of aircraft are in storage at any one time at Paine Field. Most recently many early 787 Dreamliner aircraft have been stored prior to modifications. These are usually kept on the K apron (opposite Future of Flight), and on the old cross runway near the control tower.
There are also a number of historic aircraft stored and under preservation at Paine Field. From the access road (or the Observation Deck with binoculars) you might see a de Havilland Comet 4B, a Learjet, and a B-52.
The Hilton Garden Inn Seattle North/Everett is situated alongside the Future of Flight. Any east-facing room should have views of the runway and part of the flight line.
In addition to new aircraft, Paine Field is often visited by executive jets, light aircraft, freighters, Boeing 747 Dreamlifters, Boeing 737s visiting for work, and all manner of supply companies sending parts in.
The excellent Paine Field Blog is perfect for keeping up with what’s happening, and tying up aircraft seen after your visit. Have a look at http://kpae.blogspot.com/