Day two in Seattle. The highlight of the day is the Future of Flight and Boeing Factory Tour. This place is located somewhere north west of Seattle. We had always wanted to visit the world famous Boeing but did not managed to do that because Nanzaro did not meet the minimum height requirement for the tour.
The Future of Flight is a Aviation Museum but more importantly it is the starting point of the Boeing Tour. We bought the entrance tickets online before the Seattle trip to make sure we have the time secured. You can try to walk in and get the tickets but on some days they are so popular that there are no tours available.
Security is tight and they are really serious about it. You cannot bring your bags in, not even cameras, cell phones and believe it or not, not even an iPod! Since we had already pre-purchased the ticket we just had to go pick up the ticket.
We visited on a Monday morning and so there were hardly anyone there. Also, we booked the first tour of the day which is kind of early for a lot of people too. We enjoyed it this way because we get a lot of space at the exhibits.
The Boeing Factory tour started with a video presentation on the history of Boeing planes.
It is too bad that we did not managed to get any pictures at all of the Boeing Factory Tour. As stated earlier, the security was tight. We had to board a bus escorted by a security vehicle during which we were repeatedly warned about not bringing along any form of electronic equipment including cell phones, mp3 players and such.
The factory tour was spectacular. It is amazing learning of the assembly processes of Boeing planes. The factory is the largest building in the world in terms in volume. It is so big that, you could fit about four Empire State Buildings in the same volume. The building is so big that there is a transit system within the building and have something like seven restaurants in them.
This factory is where the assembly lines for 747, 767, 777 and the brand new 787, also known as the Dreamliner. We get to see the planes at various stages of construction. We were also shown the contrast of the manufacturing process between the 747 Jumbo and 787 Dreamliner. They had been building the 747 for decades already and so we see that the manufacturing floor was very organized. For the new Dreamliner, it was a bloody mess! The Dreamliner project is already two years behind schedule. It became so bad that all the headoffice staff on the 787 Dreamliner project were forced to work on the factory floor! Gosh, I had never seen so many makeshift cubicles and meeting rooms scattered all around a half finished plane. I wished I could show you the photos.
See the picture above? That is the interior of the Dreamliner. It is a lot more spacious than most planes with a lot of new innovation in aircraft design. For one, the window shades are now replaced with electronically controlled shades and LED lightings which will help reduce travel fatigue of long haul flights.
After the tour, we happened to witness the landing of a Dream Lifter. The Dream Lifter is basically a fattened version of the 747 and is designed to fly in parts for the 787 Dreamliner from all over the world. It was a huge plane and it’s jaw dropping seeing it land right in front of us.
After the 2 hour tour, we went to the museum where the exhibits feature mostly Boeing planes. There are many interesting exhibits including the interiors of existing and new planes.
Being members of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, Nanzaro and Arkensen had a great time checking out the flight cockpit.
If there is one trip you want to make while in Seattle, you must try to make it to this excellent Boeing factory tour. The museum was nothing to shout about but the factory tour was one of the most interesting we had ever been to.
OK, see if any of you know this … question … why are all the Boeing planes are number 7X7?