Saturday, June 13, 2009

Boeing Boeing Gone

Friday 10 30 AM. A childhood fantasy fulfilled, as we entered the visitor center at the Boeing plant in Everett WA for our 11 am tour of the manufacturing plant. OK, I liked Kiddyland and Disneyland once upon a time, but for me airplanes are my vehicles of choice: flying 'em and building 'em are the "might have been's" of my life and career. Not too late for either, I s'pose.

Luckily for us, just as we arrived, the 747 Dreamlifter was taxiing into position for takeoff.

Had not even heard of this plane, frankly, and thought for a moment we were looking at a prototype for Boeing's answer to the A380. Once on tour, we learned that this aircraft was specifically
designed and built to bring in large components (most made in Japan) for the new 787.

Everything is scaled at Gulliverian dimensions, and when the elevator doors opened and our tour group walked onto the balcony overlooking the factory floor, it was the eye popping
moment I had imagined. The Everett plant is where they assemble the big guys---777, 767, 747, 787. The main assembly building is the largest building in the world by volume No cameras or cell phones etc inside, so the one interior shot here is downloaded from their website, just to give you a peek at what we enjoyed in person.

The 787, after several years' delay, is only weeks away now from its maiden flight. Almost worth camping out around here to witness aviation history. Guess I'll have to catch it on YouTube.

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