Over the past two weeks, I have been spending a lot of time in the air. Although I’m not a pilot, I will never skip a chance to go flying. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had flying happened just two weeks ago.
Because Alaska Airlines operates over half of the flights at Sea-Tac International Airport, the two businesses have a close relationship. I’m thankful for this because Alaska Airlines took all of the interns (Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines, and Horizon Airlines) on a delivery flight! Most people in the aviation industry never have the chance to go on a delivery flight of an aircraft, so I am very grateful I had the opportunity to.
The day started off at Alaska Airlines Headquarters, right across the road from Sea-Tac. We got to see all around the corporate building, then we got on a bus to head over to the Boeing 737 factory in Renton, WA. Boeing doesn’t offer public tours of the Renton factory, so it was pretty awesome to get to see inside. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos, so I don’t have any to share with you all. After the tour, we headed over to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle. It is one of the best flight museums in the country. My favorite part is the 787 Dreamliner and Air Force 1 that they have on display for people to walk through outside. Have any of you ever been inside a 787? They’re huge!
After we were all toured out, we got on the bus and headed over to the Boeing Delivery Center building at Boeing Field. From there, we were able to go out on the ramp and meet our ride for the next hour. It was a brand new Boeing 737-900ER. We were able to take pictures in front of the aircraft, in the engines, as well as inside of the landing gear! It was amazing to see all of the wiring that goes into just the landing gear.
Once we had taken all the pictures we could, we boarded the aircraft. Just like new cars, it had that “new airplane” smell. We were able to sit wherever we wanted and roam about the cabin. Our flight route was leaving from Boeing Field, flying over the Cascade Mountain Range, and then looping back to Paine Field in Everett, were there are more Boeing factories.
During the flight, we were able to ride jump seat and talk to the pilots. Boeing also gave out gift bags with goodies and a full meal. It was awesome! We even played trivia over the speaker inside the aircraft. It was such a long, aviation-filled day, but I will remember it for a lifetime. I hope everyone gets the chance to go on a delivery flight, because you truly get to appreciate all of the work that goes into creating a brand new aircraft.
Now I mentioned I’ve been doing a lot of flying lately. I also was able to go on a few GA flights over the past few weeks. The first, we just did a few loops around my town and over the lake where I live. It’s crazy how different things look from the air!
The second GA flight I went on was incredible. We took a 172 up to Seattle and did a scenic waterfront flight. Normally, if anyone wanted to go on a Seattle flight, it would cost hundreds of dollars per person. However, the beauty of knowing pilots is that you get that whole experience and more, for a lot less! We flew north over Tacoma, the Puget Sound, around and under the Bravo airspace at Sea-Tac, and up to Seattle. It was so pretty, especially because we went at sunset. Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and its even better from the air! We couldn’t get enough in just one fly-by, so we looped around for about 30 minutes, taking pictures and admiring the city from above.
A few years ago, I never would’ve thought I would be where I am today. I mean a delivery flight?! That’s a dream come true. Then flying over Seattle with some of my best friends, I never would’ve guessed. When I get to reflect back on all of the amazing aviation experiences I have had, I feel so blessed to be attending ERAU, where I’m making my dreams come true one by one. It is incredible all of the opportunities Riddle has given me, just in my first year. I cannot wait for the aviation-filled years to come!
Until next time,