Twenty five of us from Bremerton-Olympic Council and one from the Lake Washington Council enjoyed a great VIP tour of the Boeing, Everett plant on June 30, 2015. Upon arrival we received parking passes and ID badges then then boarded a very comfortable Boeing bus for the ride from headquarters to the factory. Once their we received a presentation about Boeing, the factory, and what is being built there at this time.
The Boeing factory in Everett is the largest (by volume) building in the world with 472 million cubic feet of space. Public tours bring 270,000 people there each year. There are 19 cafeterias serving 39,000 employees who work staggered start/end shifts. One million light fixtures illuminate their work and the huge interior space creates its own weather at times…inside…with clouds and rain!
Final assembly of four aircraft types is done at Everett using subassemblies, components and parts from around the US and the world. The types are 7474, 767, 777, and 787 with various “dash” numbers following.
The 747-8 which is presently being built is the largest cargo and passenger version. 1 ½ each month are built and, including fasteners, there are 6 million parts in each one. The passenger version is selling well at $350 million each. Painting, done to customer specifications, takes 3-5 days and adds 6-800 pounds of weight.
One 767 cargo version is being built each month as well as unspecified numbers of USAF refueling tanker versions.
777s are completed at the rate of 8 per month, or about 100 a year. The 777X will eventually replace the original 777 and, among other improvements, will have composite wings. The engines used on 777s are the most powerful and largest commercial engine and the circumference of one is the same as that of the body of a 737 aircraft.. The landing gear on a 777 is the largest on any Boeing jet.
The newest aircraft is the 787-8 and -9 and is now turned out at the rate of 8 per month from Everett and 2 per month from Charleston, SC at a cost of $250 million. It takes 4 weeks to assemble using components flown in on 4 Dreamlifter aircraft. Because the center body section of the -10 version is too large to fit in a Dreamlifter that version will only be built in Charleston. The new composite body of the 787 is less succeptible to damage and is easier to repair. And because there is no longer the expansion and contraction of metal due to pressurization/depressurization the cabin can be pressurized to a lower equivalent altitude giving passengers a more comfortable ride. At least one tour group member personally attested to that.
Our tour concluded at this point and we reboarded the bus for the return to our cars and home. An incredible experience and our sincere thanks to Boeing for their hospitality and to Byron Faber, as always, for his having arranged the tour. – Norm Marten