The Boeing “Future of Flight” is situated across from the world’s biggest building by volume, the Boeing Everett plant where they build
B-747-800, B-777-versions, B-787-8/900 and the KC-46 tanker B-767 version.
I am here with 199 other AVgeeks for a weekend Fest. We are about to do a tour of the factory and have been granted VIP status, which means we will tour the actual factory floor compared to the public tour which are viewing the production lines from a balcony.
Boeings rules about the factory visit are very clear, no photos!, no photos!, no photos! and do not even think about sneaking your smart phone with you. All the phones and cameras are collected in a shopping basket where we have a name label on them so there will be no confusion when we collect them after the tour. You can also rent a storage locker at the Future of Flight and keep it there during your tour.
The bus takes us to the plant and we pass two paint shops, with a third under construction. It takes 3-5 days to paint a big aircraft and with increased B787 production there is a need for a third paint shop.
We enter the building that is so big that it created its own weather patterns.
That was eliminated by installing a special ventilation system.
Everywhere you look another five- or six-story-tall airplane is towering over you. Some are covered with a green, protective temporary coating. One Dreamliner tail is painted with the Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Logo. Another sports New Zealand Air’s Maori Koru design.
Boeing paints the tails before they’re attached to the planes. Then they balance the tails. Paint adds weight, which would ruin the plane’s balance if the tails were painted after being attached.
The 787 fuselages are joined together with the help of a giant piece of equipment called a “saddle.” This U-shaped metal cage straddles the top of the planes during the body-joining process.
We gather around a B-777-300 to see the General Electric GE90, (up close and personal). The jet engines that will power this aircraft is a high-bypass turbofan aircraft engine built by GE Aviation for the Boeing 777, with thrust ratings ranging from 74,000 to 115,000 lbf (330 to 510 kN). Currently the world’s largest turbofan engine, it is one of three options for the 777-200, -200ER, and -300, and the exclusive engine of the -200LR, -300ER, and -200F.
The 19,000-pound behemoth hangs from the wing of a B777, but the engine still looks very large, more than 3.5m (11ft). in diameter. Boeing says it’s so big you could fit the body of a 737 airliner inside it.