A preface.. a week or two ago, Boeing rolled out the first 787-8f. I wasn’t a fan of the livery, and said so on twitter. The twitter rep for Boeing’s Future of Flight noticed this, and invited me down to have a look at it in person, and take the tour of the factory, for free *Squee* :D
So we rented a car, and and her parents and I headed off down there.
Well, back up a second. I rented a Red, 3.5L V6 Dodge Charger. It was a freakin’ awesome car, with only 2400kms on the clock (we did another 380kms). Shame it was raining most of the day. Second hand prices aren’t too bad either. Hmm! :D
I went on the tour in 1999 with my mum, but I didn’t have the plane-nerd background I do now, so I knew this was going to be different. Also, we almost got crashed into in a high speed car chase back in 1999, which fortunately didn’t happen this time. The whole concept of being able to drive to another country for a day trip is cool. Back in 1999, they had a small shop in the middle of a parking lot. They now have a huge exhibition center + store. The exhibition center has all sorts of cool stuff to walk up to and touch and feel, such as a 747 tail, GE90 engine, a 787 carbon fibre re-enforced plastic section 41-43 or so and a 727 cockpit.
The tour starts in the 747 assembly hall, where they were making line number 2 – 6 of the 747-8f. I was reminded once again just how amazingly complex building a plane is. And that building is something else.. it’s huge, and contains a mix of offices and assembly areas and cafeterias. I’d kind of like to work there, much in the same way that as a concept, working in an Apple store would be cool. You then hop back in the bus and go onto the 777/787 production area. Also interesting to see.
All up on the tour, I saw:
- N787EX – First 787 (as well as the next 12 or so in production)
- N7808A – First 747 Dreamlifter
- N747EX – First 747-8f (as well as the next 6 in various stages of production)
- A6-ECX – New 777-300 delivery flight for Emirates
- .. and some other stuff
So I’ve now seen the first 737, 747, 757 and 787. The first 727 is also at the Paine Field Airport, but I didn’t see it. Eventually I’ll see it and the first 707..
All up, good fun. Thanks so much to Sandy for the invite :)