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A Day Filled With Superlatives

sunny 75 °F

(Wed) Cousin Tom lives some distance from my motel so it seemed most practical for us to meet at Boeing's Visitor Center at an appointed time prior to our tour. In a strange coincidence we arrived at the large parking lot within a minute of one another and parked beside each other. Boeing's Visitor Center is called 'The Future of Flight' and that is where the tour began. A 20 minute video on the Boeing Company and glimpses of what we were about to see was our introduction. We then boarded a bus which took us across Paine Field, a former Army Air field from the pre-WWII years. Of course it has been expanded since those early days to accommodate the giant planes of today.

Boeing's Wide Body Assembly Plant, as it is officially called, is the world's largest building by volume covering 98.3 acres under one roof. It measures over 1 mile long X 1/2 mile deep and is 11 stories high! It has 6 hanger doors from which the finished planes are exited and each door measures 81' high X 300' wide (the length of a football field). As I said, it was a day of superlatives. The 777 assembly line moves at 1.8 inches a minute. The plant operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with 35,000 employees. Airplane orders go into the year 2020.

The giant 747 has 6 million parts, whereas the 777 only (?) has 3 million! The new 787 Dreamliner, a plastic (composite) plane only requires 2 million parts and has 70 miles of wiring. We saw the 767 assembly line, also which included the military version 767-2C, a flying fuel tanker capable of refueling 3 aircraft simultaneously. It is capable of holding 80,000 gallons of fuel. The Dept of Defense ordered 178-767-2C tankers to replace the ageing KC-135's. Boeing flies parts to Everett from their factories and suppliers across the globe. Listed were at least a dozen countries where the parts were manufactured. Large components, such as wings, tail assemblies, cockpits are flown in by 4 modified 747 cargo carriers which look like pregnant guppies. The huge tail section of these planes are hinged, then swung out of the way, and these giant components are loaded/unloaded in a matter of minutes. They are then transported to the assembly plant across the airfield. A 'just in time' process on a huge scale. Needless-to-say, we were impressed for I could go on and on.

It was quite a day.

Posted by dixter 20:00 Archived in USA Tagged a to plant huge visit body assembly wide boeing's

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