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Flight Test Pit Crew Keeps Dreamliner and 747-8 Test Program On Track

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Fareed Guyot
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
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#1 Posted: 4/20/2010 09:53:50

 

Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington is one of the biggest in the U.S., covering 4,700 acres and has five runways. Once the former Larson Air Force Base, one of its runways is 13,500 feet long and 200 feet wide. It's an alternate landing site for NASA's Space Shuttle and that gives you a sense of scale. But Grant County isn't very busy, and that makes it perfect for test flying. See this report from NWCN.com 

 


 



Thank You for listening to EAA Radio. Afterburner Al - Station Manager-Emeritus, EAA Radio - http://www.eaaradio.net
Hal Bryan
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#2 Posted: 4/20/2010 10:35:49

I did my Instrument training in nearby Ellensburg, WA, and shot a lot of approaches into Moses Lake. We'd occasionally see Boeing test flights, but, more frequently, we'd be sharing "the pattern" with Japan Airlines 747s - JAL did a lot of training there (more than 10,000 crew members). That was where I had my first, and, thankfully, my worst encounter with wake turbulence ...!

JAL trained at Grant Co. until late 2008 - the story I've heard says that they're downsizing their 747 fleet in favor of 787s, so they don't need the larger runways, etc. That was the end of an era - JAL had been there for 40 years, and, for 30 of those years, they had a program where they'd give every 6th grade student in the city a free 747 ride ...

 



Online Community Manager - EAA
Fareed Guyot
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
105
Posts
43
#3 Posted: 4/20/2010 10:42:15

I have only been to Moses Lake once or twice even though I did a fair amount of instructing out of PUW (Pullman, WA)  One day doing a round-robin training flight from PUW to the tri-cities to Moses Lake we were put on the Localizer going into  Moses Lake.  We were above an overcast layer and my student was doing fine.

They stuck a 777 behind us and told him to slow down.  I think at this time the 777 was still in test phase.  Either way this was an untenable situation and they told us to do a 360 on the localizer. As we completed out turn we saw the 777 with everything hanging off and out of it including the pilot's hands and feet in an effort to stay slow.

Once on the ground we saw one of the ubiquitous JAL 747s practicing touch and go's. Had never seen a jumbo do that before.  The next time I would see that is at Willow Run Airport near Detroit where a DC-8 freighter was doing its best to paint the pavement with rubber.

 

 



Thank You for listening to EAA Radio. Afterburner Al - Station Manager-Emeritus, EAA Radio - http://www.eaaradio.net