We took a look at two other aviation museums at Paine Field before the main event at Future of flight. That added to our trip to the Museum of Flight restoration center on Saturday. So one trip to Everett will get you four prime aviation attractions.
I’ll leave the other museums to a seperate post as they deserve a discussion on their own. For us the main event kicked off about noon with the gathering of our group at the Future of Flight. The folks at the Future of Flight are great supporters of AGF and it would not do to not mention Sandy and all the good folks who help David @airlinereporter get this event happening each year.
The buses took us over to a non-descript Boeing building north of the field. The inside is anything but. This is the Dreamliner Gallery where airlines come from all over the world to deside on whats going inside that $200 Million airplane they just bought, or in many cases the many Billions they just spent on multiple planes. So this isn’t your car dealers showroom. It is designed with both Boeing’s customers experience in mind and attempting build the brand for the 787 that the airlines will carry to the public. Its clear Boeing believes this is a different type of plane. The windows, the pressurization features, the lighting and the ‘architecure’ of the interior are all intended to break the aluminum tube metaphor of flying.
There was extensive discussion of the curved lines, the soft colors, and all those little cresent shapes. It is suprising how much airliners are customized for each airline, right down to the color of the buttons on the coffee makers. Each item having a different part number and adding to the complexity of making it all work together. There was alot of discussion about the need to come to a much smaller parts list to make the dreamliner a cheaper operating airplane.
After an extensive tour of the Dreamliner Gallery we headed back to the Future of Flight for the Everett Factory Tour. Like the 737 factory this is a no pictures allowed tour so all I can tell you is I was there and its REALLY big.
The plant originally built for the 747 production now holds the 747, 767, 777, and 787. The 777 and 787 lines are the most active with the 747 and 767 production on modest build rates. It will get a bit of a boost with the KC–46A which will take over the balance of the 767 space shortly.
Again the Dreamliner is the biggest star of the factory to be sure. The alumium airframes are still being put together but the carbon fibre frame of the 787 is very clearly a different thing. While I can’t show you the pictures of the factory, it would amaze you to see how clean and well ordered everything is. A little more of that Kasan inspired efficiency.
So in a tour full of big numbers probably the biggest to me was 45,000. The number of people that work at the Everett plant both on the line and in supporting positions. That is a decent size town in itself, coffee shops (Tully’s), dry cleaners, movie rentals.. wait someone still has movie rental stores? Go figure!
The final event for AGF was the Pizza and Beer back at the Future of Flight gallery. This included the prize draws with the top prizes being a couple of tickets from Southwest Airlines. Again the support from Boeing, Future of Flight, and other sponsors was awesome. We walked away with a pretty cool Boeing calendar and a $20 gift card that we used the next day at the Boeing Store.
So how good it AGF? Well one of the folks at our table was a Boeing employee who brought his wife out for AGF because it was the best way for her to see the factory. He also shared a cool bit of trivia, the customers of the 787 do actually get keys. Not to start the airplane but they do get between 4 and 12 depending on the interior fit and the lockable feature.
The things you learn at Aviation Geek Fest! Can’t wait to learn more next year.
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