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Boeing factory tour, May 2018

I also did the Boeing factory tour it was mind-blowing!

The main assembly building, which is one of many, could alone house…
8 x Nimitz Class aircraft carriers
Or Disneyland and 12 acres of car park
Or The Vatican City

There are very few pillars, but with 34 or 45-ton cranes that run on both axis above almost the whole building, I cannot believe how the roof stays up!

There are 10,000 people working in that one building, 35,000 at this one Boeing plant (Paine Field)

What did I see?

  • About 30x aircraft lined up on the main ramp, dozens of different airline’s tails, some jet-less planes with huge square concrete blocks hanging from their engine pylons.
  • Off in the distance were lines and lines of US Air force tankers, yet to be painted and in shimmering green, covered with the sort of plastic you get as a screen protector.
  • The third runway at Paine Field is rented by Boeing from the State, for use as an aircraft car park.
  • In the main assembly building each section is a slice with a specific aircraft type being constructed in it, the first was the 747/767 section and we saw lots of cockpit jigs and wings.
  • Another bay had 2x 747’s freighters, 1x 767’s freighter and 6x 767 tankers in it! The UPS 747 was very close, lots of talk about how they moved the ‘centre and wing section’ around on air beds as this was over the 45-ton crane’s capacity and was too early to have an undercarriage fitted.
  • In the 777 Bay, there were 7x aircraft, the work towers and aircraft all moved together 2 inches an hour, and they move in a U shape up the building. In the first leg, bits of the fuselage are next to each other then mated and at the end, as they turned around the corner, the wings are added. They became more whole as they make the trip back towards the hanger doors (which are 350 ft long). The second to last section had jacks and holes in the ground to test the undercarriage retracting. Engines are lined up waiting to go on last
  • The last bay we visited had 8 or more almost all composite 787 Dreamliners

They make 14x 787’s a month, half in North Carolina

Down at Renton in South Seattle, they make 57x 737’s a month!

It was on Sunday I visited, so the actual activity in the bays was nominal, they work a 5-day week

Tour was an hour and a half and was Disney-like in the way numerous buses shuttled hundreds of visitors around

Well worth the trip, but no cameras/phones or anything handheld is permitted

Must pre-book, only USD$25, but be aware it was also a huge Boeing promotional exercise