2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

AWM Cruise Banner 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!Folks, it’s been too long since my last post. Believe me, I’m gonna make up for it with a flurry of new posts in the coming week(s)!

As you’ve no doubt read, I’ve been on the Airways Magazine Alaska cruise for the past week, and I come back bearing a bounty of avgeek gifts! As was last year’s cruise in the Caribbean, this trip was a smashing success for all involved.

Aux Kevin Ketchikan! 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

In Ketchikan, AK, I meet up with Cap’n Kevin, the original inspiration for the character of Allen in The Last Bush Pilots. Here’s to 30 years of safe Alaska bush flying, Cap’n!

AK Airways Cruise Map 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!
As those who’ve read my novel The Last Bush Pilots will recall, Alaska’s version of Mother Nature is notoriously fickle and unpredictable.

LBP book-cover-with-award 350dpi LoAnd yet, for the entire week, we were blessed with uncharacteristically spectacular weather!

Ports of call—Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway and Seward—offered incredible samples of Alaska for all tastes. Wildlife abounded, from majestic bald eagles to enormous humpback whales. And, inevitably, all roads led to the Alaskan skies—that is, in Alaska, people take airplanes like “Outsiders” take a bus!

Aux Airways Talk 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Preaching to the choir: chatting about aerial adventures in the skies of Alaska!

Several Airways Magazine writers were on hand to speak during the cruise, including Airways Editor Enrique Perrella, the ever-hysterical and fascinating B747 Captain Alan Carter, Airways Historian David H. Stringer, and Yours Truly.

Aux AK Cockpit 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Cap’n Babyface, in Command! Circa ’88

Since I started my flying career as a bush pilot in Southeast Alaska, I introduced them to the layout of the land.

And, of course, talked about the crazy times flying the wild skies over the very waters upon which we trod!

Needless to say, a great adventure on the high seas of the Inside Passage were had by all . . .

2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!


Even before the cruise set sail, the aviation odyssey began. Enthusiasts from around the world flocked to Seattle for a two-day excursion of Boeing’s Museum of Flight, the B-747-767-777-787 manufacturing plant, and several more equally amazing aviation museums. We even had time for some serious plane spotting. (And, speaking of serious planes, don’t miss the video below!)

Day 1—Boeing Museum of Flight

Pavillion Pano 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Boeing Museum of Flight’s Airplane Pavillion!

What to do when in Seattle for an Avgeek? Can you say, Boeing Field?!

Starting with a tour of the Boeing Museum of Flight (museumofflight.org), our group of aviation enthusiasts got their fill of aviation history, and I’m not just talking Boing 707s, 747s, 787s and Stratoliners. The museum wisely adds airplanes of all kinds, from the first DC-2s and -3s in commercial service, to the original Air Force One, and even a full-on, bonafide Concorde Supersonic Transport!

But enough prattling on. Here’s some pics!

Museum of Flight 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Aux SST 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Name that nose!

MainMuseumPano2 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Museum of Flight Main Gallery

SSTCockpit! 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

State of the Art (at the time) Concorde cockpit. Yep, all “steam gauges,” and a Flight Engineer to boot!


IMG_6432 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

WWII Gallery. (Not pictured, on Level 2: WWI Gallery!)

2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Next up, a very unique treat: lunch aboard a currently-being-restored Boeing 727-200!

IMG_6484 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

AA727LunchAWGroup!2 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Photo courtesy Zeraphoto.com

Day 2—PAE Boeing Plant Tour and Dreamlifter Plane Spottin’!

Everett Factory doors 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Stock pic of Boeing’s plant

2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

  Day 2 of our Seattle Adventure found us repositioned up at Everett-Paine Field (PAE), home of the world’s largest building: Boeing’s 747-767-777-787 manufacturing plant!


Stock pic of the interior. Note 787s on one side, and 76-77s on the other!

IMG_6505 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!  Unfortunately, NO photos or videos were allowed, for safety reasons. The tour took us along catwalks over the workers, and they’d had one too many mishaps over the years, with cameras and such dropped on workers or precious airplane parts! However, look below and you’ll find some links to some great videos of the plant itself.

Thanks to astute Twitterer and flight tracker Jennifer S, our group was alerted to the arrival of an Antonov 124 later that afternoon. We adjusted our busy schedule accordingly to accommodate this special surprise treat! In addition, we were able to bag the landings and takeoffs of, not one, but two Boeing Dreamlifters, of which there are only 4 in the world!

IMG_6520 Dreamlifter 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

To our delight, not one but 2 Dreamlifters showed up. A rare treat!

See a video of the Dreamlifter landing, below!

2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Our heavenly day of Avgeekery ended with Paul Allen Flying Heritage (War) Museum tour (flyingheritage.com), as well as the Boeing Museum of Flight Restoration Center (historicflight.org), who was busy working on their latest prize possession: a de Havilland Comet!

Comet 4C 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

de Havilland DH 106 Comet 4C. The first version after solving the mysterious inflight failure problem (explosive decompression due to fatigue in the square windows!)

IMG_6526 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Fascinating War Museum on Paine Field, with nearly all equipment in running order, including tanks and planes!

2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Finally, I leave you with this very short and very amazing video of a Boeing Dreamlifter landing at Paine Field!

Direct Link: https://vimeo.com/capnaux/dreamlifter

And Then There Was the Cruise . . .

Aux Enrique AK cruise! 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Airways Magazine Editor Enrique Perrella and I set sail out of Vancouver. Go North, young men, Go North!!

But We’ll Leave that for Our Next Post!

Till then,

This is Cap’n Aux . . .

Aux Glacier View! 2017: An Airways Odyssey—Part 1!

Sailing Off!

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