The An-225 Mriya. Yes, really.
Oh, what an exciting day. Where do I start...
So I have an old habit of searching the DOT Docket Management System for any filings with the keywords "volga", "antonov" or "polet" in them because Volga-Dnepr, the Antonov Design Bureau and Polet airlines all fly Antonov A124 cargo planes for Boeing on occaison. They must file 'emergency exemption' applications with the US DOT because foreign carriers are not allowed to carry cargo between two points in the US ('cabotage'). Anyways, I search for these applications in case they might apply to ferry 777 engines from GEAE in Columbus, OH to Boeing Field.
So on Thursday, I do my search. And what do I see?
August 29 - September 4? Wow, that's close! Wait, WHAT? AN-225? I couldn't believe it. I had written off the possibility of seeing the An-225 in my lifetime as a Lotto-like longshot, but here it was, in black and white, stating that its coming to Seattle.
I started digging around on Flightaware.com for any sort of leads or flight plans. And then I saw that it had already landed at Ohio's Ricckenbacker airport which means it was only hours from making the trip to Seattle.
So after waking up every few hours to check for a flight plan, it was finally filed late in the morning. ETA: 5pm PDT. I started work early and skipped lunch in preparation, so I was ready to go. I packed my ladder in my truck to prevent the perimeter fence from being in my photos.
Despite the horrendous traffic, I made it to KBFI at 4:45 pm and found it business as usual. No one seemed to have any idea what would be landing soon. Only 2 other cars came in time to see it with the intention of seeing it, one photographer with 3 or 4 bodies and massive lenses and a group of men with point and shoot cameras.
After it landed and taxied, it parked not far away, so I drove down to get a closer view. It was in a really good position for viewing, despite being on Boeing property. By now a small crowd had gathered, most had seen the plane fly over as they were driving home, and diverted themselves to see it for themselves.
As we were waiting for the expected unloading to take place, 4 Boeing flatbeds arrived with tarped 777 motors on them. What the heck? I thought it was BRINGING engines in from GEAE in Columbus. A lot of other folks were confused too.
After while the nose opened and the ramp, after many tries, deployed. The ground crew spent a very long time fidgeting with the ramp. Turns out they had parked the plane where the ramp came down on a bump so they had to shore up each side with wood planks before unloading.
I found out later that they were indeed bringing 2 777 engines in, and they ferrying the 4 others to Moses Lake/KMWH.
Unfortunately it was getting late so we had to leave before we could see any cargo movement, but it was still an awesome day to remember.