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The tour starts at the Future of Flight visitor center
alongside Paine Field Airport. While waiting for
your tour to begin, you can enjoy the large exhibit
hall, gift shop, and cafe. Exhibits explain aspects of
aircraft design, the working of the powerful
engines, the history of Boeing, and the advantages
of the upcoming 787 Dreamliner.

The tour starts with an introductory film, and then a
charter bus takes you across Paine Field to the
factory building.  You access the building at its
bottom through tunnels that run 1/3rd of a mile
from one side to the other. A freight elevator
brings your tour group up to a viewing platform,
where you step out into the largest interior space
in the world - an awesome sight. The bus brings
you to two areas of the factory where 747 and 787
aircraft are constructed. We visited on a weekend
when the factory was mainly idle, but during the
workweek you might see huge sections of planes
being moved overhead by the system of cranes
built into the ceiling. These cranes can lift 30-40
tons of material at a time.

Back at the visitors center, we went up to the roof
for a view of Paine Field, the factory building, the
painting hangers, and the nearly completed aircraft
parked outside. Boeing's customers take delivery
of their aircraft by sending their own pilots of Paine
Field, conducting test flights, and flying them off to
all points around the world.

Paine Field is also a busy airport for small aircraft
with a local fleet of 600.  We watched several small
planes land and a medium sized jet plane take off. I
stood on a little hill just off the parking lot nearby
to the runway. The jet engine was extremely loud
and shook the ground under my feet - that might
be one of the few places the public can get so
close to a jet taking off.

Photo Album

Future of Flight Visitor Center

By Ethan Turner
Nye Beach
Future of Flight Visitor Center
Interior of new Dreamliner engine
The factory building
The painting hangars - the paint alone to cover an aircraft weighs 600-800 pounds
Single aisle jet departing Paine Field
Exhibit Hall
The assembly building as seen from the highway
The Dreamlifter and the painting sheds
The moon over Boeing