While this is not a
museum of one is at Paine Field the Boeing Future of Flight center
located in the NW corner of the airport. From here you can take a 90
minute tour of the largest building by volume in the world and watch
the assembly of Boeing airliners.
No cameras or
electronic devices of any kind are allowed inside as Boeing does not
want a lot of Air Bus people coming in and documenting the assembly
process. Not that Air Bus hasnít probably already been in and looked
at it anyway. It was sort of funny as we had a nice young lady who
was the tour guide and lead us around and did the talks. However,
other Boeing employees were assigned to the tour and were ostensibly
there to answer questions, but they were really there to make sure we
did not sneak off the walking path or take photos with hidden cameras
when in the balconies over looking the assembly floors. They always
walked behind us and then stood behind us when we were looking down at
what was going on. I was somewhat amused by this.
We did 747, 777 and
787 assembly. Actually I picked a Tuesday to do this as I thought I
would see more, but as most of the work is inside the aircraft and the
assembly of an aircraft takes so long a weekend visit would probably
work just as well if I fits better in the schedule.
A 747 takes 4.5
months to build and has 4-5 discrete stations, the first being the
assembly of the wings to the fuselage section. When that is complete
it is moved forward to the next station and hydraulically lifted 12
feet to move it to the next station. If one were able to catch a
glimpse of this when he was there this would probably be about the
most exciting thing to see inside.
The 777 line is a
continuous process that moves a 2 inches per hour. I can not remember
whether the 787 line was continuous or discrete.
This is the main assembly plant that one tours, which is 29 million
cubic feet, which does not mean anything to anyone. However, one can
take all of Disneyland from Anaheim, CA and put it inside the building
and still have 10 acres of inside parking for cars. Or there is room
to play something like 75 football games inside all at the same time.
In other words, it is big. We are looking east from the Boeing
Future Flight Center.
We are still looking east across runway 16-34 at the paint hangars
which are south of the previous photo. When complete the aircraft are
moved on a taxiway that crosses the main east west road in front of
the plants. They do this at night so as not to cause traffic problems
as no doubt persons like me would stop to take photos if done during
the day. An interesting thing I learned is that all control surfaces
are pre-painted prior to assembly with the paint scheme of the airline
it is going to. This is because there is a weight to the paint and it
has to be factored in when rigging the aircraft. The remainder of the
aircraft is in a green protective coating until it is painted. Two
miles or so to the right and to the south of this photo on the west
side of the runway as from where I took this photo is John Sessionís
Historic Flight Warbird Museum. Again, about 5-10 minutes away and
our next stop. Across from that museum on the east side is Paul
Allenís Flying Heritage Museum.
There are airliners everywhere awaiting
test flying and delivery.
Inside the Future of Flight.
Arlington Naval Air Museum
Boeing Future of Flight Center
Canadian Museum of Flight
Aviation and Space Museum
Flying Heritage Museum
Fort Lewis Museum
Historic Flight Museum
Heritage Flight Museum
McChord AFB Museum
Museum of Flight
Museum of Flight Restoration Center
Tillamook Air Museum