Tsaord asked in the other thread if there were any A.netters there - there certainly were as you can see! I was there too, with SEAChaz in the area where the ordinary people could go, over at the Future of Flight building - across Paine Field from the Boeing factory, with a clear view to the hangars.
Mr. Harlot and I got there around noon, and were surprised to find almost nobody on the berm looking at the plant. We had purchased special tickets for the FoF - $7.87 a ticket for today. Only 750 were available and surprisingly I do not think they sold out. There were some special events inside the FoF although I do not understand why there was a Hello Kitty walking around. We got the 787 special for lunch - hot dog, drink, chips and dessert for $7.87.
We sat outside with our friends Kate and Jeff and had lunch and waited. We did visit the Rolls Royce 747 that was parked outside the FoF and that was available for viewing - you could walk right under it, and they had a platform so you could peek in the Trent 1000 on the wing.
Charles (SEAChaz) showed up a bit later. We parked ourselves on the berm and waited and waited. More and more people arrived and sat on the berm. When we first arrived, we were not allowed to park in the FoF lot because it was reserved for VIPs - but after we parked across the street we could walk in to the FOF site no problem. Later, you could not even walk in without showing your ticket for the day. They were also thoroughly searching bags as you entered the FoF - security was tight.
We had a bit of drama just before the rollout from the paint hangar - a private plane was just about to land and he declared an emergency due to engine trouble. This was JUST before it rolled out, by like five minutes. The tower directed the next plane in line to land to go around. The plane in trouble landed fine. I did not see it, but my friends saw that he had smoke coming from the engine just before landing.
All day I had been looking at the paint hangar through my binoculars. Fire trucks would come by and line up - then go away. Buses would approach and stop - then continue on. Police cars drove by in formation - and kept on going. It was very frustrating! Then some guys walked toward the paint hangar and I figured this had to be a good sign - especially when they went inside! Keep in mind that we were watching from at least a mile away so it was hard to tell what was up!
All around me as I sat and watched, people compared their cameras and lenses and chattered excitedly. Some people had no real idea what was going on - "is it going to fly today?" It was exciting, though, and neat to be there with lots of people who love aviation like I do. There were about 100 of us on the berm. The VIPs were up on the roof of the FoF but I think we had more fun than them anyway.
We waited anxiously after 2:00, because it had been indicated to IAD787 that she might roll out any time after that. But she didn't move until 3:30, when the doors started to open. It was so exciting! Mr. Harlot went down the berm a bit to take better pictures and he said he could hear me shout "the doors are opening!!"
Then they rolled her out - the nose appeared - and she kept on coming - and she was beautiful. Just amazing. She was side-on to us when they first tugged her out, and then turned at us, and then side-on again as they rolled her toward the bridge. Before she got to the bridge, the State Patrol closed down SR
-526 that goes under the bridge. We could see her being tugged across the bridge. Then she turned her tail to us and proceeded toward the hangar that held the big event.
There was a small plane flying over with a banner - "ARGOSY CRUISES CONGRATULATES BOEING 787" - but I think he was disappointed because he was not allowed anywhere near the event itself. He had to stay south of the tower which was a mile south of the event hangar. We could see him though.
Mysteriously, once the 787 was across the bridge and near the hangar, the tower closed PAE
airspace for what was supposed to be ten minutes. I got a bit excited because I had heard that something good was supposed to happen. But nothing did ever happen other than some private pilots complaining that the closure was going for longer than expected (they had been told ten minutes) and joking to the tower that they should ask Boeing to cover their fuel.
We had to leave at 4:30, and just as we left, they opened the event hangar and when we drove by on SR
-526 everybody had spilled out and the plane was surrounded. Charles got nice pictures of that.
What an amazing couple of days! We saw the Parade of Sevens yesterday - watched them gather up at PAE
and then later saw all of them fly over and land at BFI
. So much fun. My legs are sunburned after sitting outside today, but it was worth it. What a blast. Charles - glad we got to see you again and it was fun to hang out. Jon - it was great to meet you - glad you had such an amazing time!
I am a happy camper tonight (except for my painful legs!).