Paine Field, Snohomish Country Spotting Guide

Paine Field, Snohomish Country Airport (PAE/KPAE), is the home of the Boeing Everett Factory, the world’s largest building by volume and the primary assembly location for Boeing’s wide-body 747, 767, 777, 787 aircraft. Paine Field is also home to four flight schools, Chinook Flight Simulations, Regal Air, Northway Aviation and Everett Helicopters making it a popular destination for flight training. There are also a number of flying clubs on the field.

The most interesting traffics at PAE are all the Boeing new stuff for airlines, specially heavy aircraft 777, 787, 767, 747. KPAE is a very interesting airport, however you must be lucky to catch some interesting visitors, sometimes there is no movements for hours, except for the local aeroclubs. Dreamlifters come and go usually at least twice a day on weekdays, but the test flights or deliveries are very unpredictable.

Written by Remo Garone & Peter Psenica (last update May 2015)

 Rating Movements  Visitor Rating
How was your spotting trip?
Rate this airport now.1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...
Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Information    Runways 16R / 34L 16L / 34R
2’746m (9’010ft) 914m (3’000ft)
Asphalt / Grooved Asphalt
Terminals Boeing Everett Delivery Center
Spotting Information Ladder Recommended for spot 2
Car Recommended
Restrooms Available at the museum and next to spot 2
Drinks/Food Available at the museum and next to spot 2
Hotels Hilton Garden Inn Hotel (next to the museum)
Season March until October
Runway Usage  16R / 34L Mostly used by every aircraft
16L / 34R Only used by general aviation
WEARING When the wind is not particularly strong, landings and take-offs can happen from both directions, according to the apron where the aircraft is based.

Spot #1 – Arrivals & Departures rwy16R
WHERE This is the most popular location at Everett and its located next to the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and the Boeing´s Center of Flight Aviation Museum where the factory tour starts. Parkt your car there and walk just a few meters to the Hotel parking to climb up a small hill from which you can take great pictures.Otherwise you could go inside The Future of Flight exhibition which offers you an entrance to a large balcony, which has great elevated view onto the RWY 16R, but the entry costs 10 USD (it is included if you buy a more expensive exhibition ticket).
WHAT From this spot you can get every arrivals and departures on rwy16R without any problems. A ladder isn’t necessary at this spot.
TIME During Winter : from 13:00 until sunset
During Summer : from 14:00-14:30 until sunset
MISCELLANEOUS A few hundred meters to this spot, there is the museum with a shop that provide everything you want.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-200mm
Spot #2 – Arrivals & Departures rwy34L – Afternoon
WHERE From the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, take the Paine Field Blvd until you arrived at the intersection take on the left to reached Mukilteo Speedway until you have the possibility to take on the left on Bernie Webber Dr. Then drive just a few meters park your car next to the way.
WHAT From this spot you can get every arrivals and departures on rwy34L without any problems. A ladder is necessary other wise the approach could be tricky.
TIME During Winter : from 13:00 until sunset
During Summer : from 14:00-14:30 until sunset
MISCELLANEOUS A few hundred meters to this spot, there is a petrol station with everything you need and even a restaurant across the street. You can easily walk from the spot to this location.
FOCAL LENGTH 18-200mm
http://www.spotterguide.net/images/numbers/Number_03.png Spot #3 – Arrivals & Departures rwy34L – Morning
WHERE It is a parking at the end of 109th St SW, probably for employees, but fully accessible to anyone. On the Google Maps it looks like being freshly finished, but in reality it was already fully available some two months ago when I was there. Just park the car and you see the threshold RWY 34L in front of you and when you want to photograph something, step out of the car and go to the grass to the left.
WHAT From this spot you can take photos on final approach before touch-down. A side-on short is hard to get as the fence gets in the picture then, but slightly angled photos are fully possible.
TIME During Winter : from sunrise until 11:00
During Summer : from sunrise until 12:00
MISCELLANEOUS There is nothing close-by to buy drinks/foods. Brink with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH Dreamlifter around 100mm for an P3 Orion 170mm. 50-200 mm should be good

Sorry, but we can not provide sample pictures here. If you have photos from this location please don´t hesitate to contact us.

Don´t miss our newest guides!

2 thoughts on “Paine Field, Snohomish Country Spotting Guide

  1. Peter Psenica

    Hi Jeremy,

    I have visited Seattle area at the beginning of May 2015 and I would like to add information about a morning spot for RWY 34L. At the end of 109th St SW (on the eastern side), there is a small (free) parking, from which you can observe the threshold of RWY 34L. As the fence to the left goes down, it is possible to take nice shots of aircraft right before touch-down on RWY 34L from the elevated grass area next to the parking lot. Also, if there is anything taxiing to the RWY 34L for departure, you can take a shot of it through the fence, although the TWY is extremely close. The same is possible when the aircraft is already on the RWY, but on a hot day heat-haze can be a problem then. PAE is a very interesting airport, however you must be lucky to catch some interesting visitors, sometimes there is no movements for hours, except for the local aeroclubs. Dreamlifters come and go usually at least twice a day on weekdays, but the test flights or deliveries are very unpredictable. Just to add to your info on spotting location 1: The Future of Flight exhibition offers an entrance to a large balcony, which has great elevated view onto the RWY 16R, but the entry costs 10 USD (it is included if you buy a more expensive exhibition ticket). And one more information: When the wind is not particularly strong, landings and take-offs can happen from both directions, according to the apron where the aircraft is based.

    Hope this helps other spotters visiting the area.

    Best regards,
    Peter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *