Photo of the Week - April 26, 2013

Grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplanes awaiting approval to fly
Paine Field
Everett, WA
April 26, 2013

On May 20, 2013, United Airlines resumed flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane. It was the first flight by a domestic carrier since the planes were grounded by the FAA on January 16, 2013. The planes were not allowed to fly while overheating problems with lithium ion batteries were being resolved.

Boeing has orders for more than 800 Dreamliners waiting to be filled, at a retail cost of $206.8 million per plane. As of April 2013, Boeing has delivered 50 planes to eight airlines; only one has been delivered in 2013.

While the 787 was grounded, Boeing continued to roll out planes from its Everett, Washington factory. Unable to fly the planes, Boeing was forced to park the planes anywhere they were able to find space at the Paine Field facility – unused runways, around the control tower and near large hangars.

On April 26, I was given the opportunity to fly over Paine Field. The sight was fantastic; everywhere you looked there were planes parked. My pilot, Ted, counted at least 41 Dreamliners parked on that day. That represents nearly $8.5 billion at retail cost.

What was nearly as impressive as the sheer number of planes was the number of airlines represented – LOT Polish Airlines, Mongolian Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Air India, Thomson Airways, Hainan Airlines, Qatar Airlines and others.

Thank you to Ted Enderlein for expertly piloting this adventure (and for taking off the door of the plane so I could photographic unrestricted!) And, thanks to Doug Norberg, who masterminded the plot to photograph this (hopefully) once in a lifetime scene.

Check out additional photos of the planes at Paine Field here.