Plane Jane

Friday was all about large buildings and planes; on Friday morning, I drove the family to Everett to visit Boeing’s Future of Flight facilities, which is located in the largest building in the world, by volume, at 472,000,000 cubic feet. It’s the only public tour of a commercial jet assembly plant in North America, and it is, in a word, awesome. It’s a little difficult to wrap my brain around the fact that just this plant alone employs over twenty-seven THOUSAND people, even when you’re looking at the scale of this building, even when you can see an assembly line of full-size planes inside. This building is so large that Boeing keeps over 1,300 bicycles on the factory floor for employees to get around. This building is so large that it has its own fire department, hospital, water treatment plant, electrical substations, and FOUR telephone prefixes. This building is so large that it created its own weather–warm air and moisture accumulated near the ceiling, forming clouds. That is a one DAMN BIG BUILDING. Boeing has a moving assembly line, though it moves too slowly for the naked eye to discern. A plane moves through this assembly line from start to finish in about four months, so if I were to visit again three months from now, the model 777 number 666 (devil plane! devil plane!) that was in its earliest stages of construction on Friday would nearly be ready to roll off the line. We also got to see the very first 787 Dreamliner, which is awesome beyond belief. My friend Banjo works for Boeing, and she was telling me how incredible this plane was when it was still a hush-hush secret; now that I’ve actually seen and touched one, I am convinced it will change the way we fly, because, of course, my opinion about these sorts of things matters. First off, it’s constructed of nearly 50% composite materials, which makes it about 40,000 pounds lighter than airplanes constructed of conventional materials–this makes it much more fuel efficient, so…yay environment! Equally as important to passengers is the fact that the composites are stronger, which enables it to have much larger windows and a cabin pressure of lower altitude, which increases comfort/reduces jetlag.


    They’ve also increased the size of the cabin, which is an incredible boon for claustrophobics. Seriously. That picture makes me excited to fly again, and I have been a VERY surly flyer lately, angrily defending my personal space bubble. I fit within the confines of my seat, and I expect that anyone sitting next to me does the same. If I wanted to be touched by strangers, I’d go to Neighbors. Last but not least, I designed my own super-sweet airplane. Come fly the Mellzah skies!


After we left the Boeing plant, we went back to Seattle where the ever-lovely Carrie escorted us to the viewing deck of the Columbia Center building, which was at one point the tallest building west of the Mississippi. As we got to the top, it turned out our timing was perfect as the Blue Angels were just starting their show over Lake Washington, which my grandparents were very, very excited about.


I only ended up getting one picture, as a certain roommate was using my camera to take pictures of herself for her Internet Boyfriend, and failed to tell me that she’d killed the (proprietary) battery. And lo, there was much gnashing of teeth. Still, even from this one picture you can get a decent idea of just how much this jet black building looms over everything else. Afterward, keeping to the trend of going somewhere and immediately turning around and going back, I took everyone to Pike Place Market, finally found/paid for a parking spot, the grandparents took a quick peek and were ready to go back. GAH.

15 Comments Plane Jane

  1. apestyle August 7, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Nice cabin.

    1. admin August 7, 2007 at 6:23 pm

      People can actually stand up and not crack their heads on the overhead compartments now!

  2. storm_dancer August 7, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    That’s the coolest building ever.

    1. admin August 7, 2007 at 7:21 pm

      You just wanted an excuse to use your banjo icon. I approve. 😀

  3. drspooky August 7, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Sometimes your posts make me miss Seattle.

    1. admin August 7, 2007 at 7:21 pm

      It will still be here if you ever decide to come back, m’dear. 🙂

      1. stationary_jew August 8, 2007 at 12:40 am

        That’s really only true until next month’s earthquake. You did get the memo?

        1. admin August 8, 2007 at 1:31 am

          Shit, no! Uh…I suppose then Seattle and I will be in the OCEAN should anyone choose to visit.

  4. lemur68 August 8, 2007 at 3:52 am

    I’ll have to see both the Boeing plant and the Columbia Center observation deck in one of my future trips there….

    1. admin August 8, 2007 at 5:28 am

      Do you come to Seattle often?

      1. lemur68 August 8, 2007 at 6:13 am

        I’ve been three times since ’04. I was thinking of moving there for a long time, but I’m more attracted to Portland these days, as it’s cheaper and seems to be more relaxed, or “chill” as they seem to like to say in the PNW.

        Well, maybe they don’t use “chill” as an adjective more there than in other places, but I got that impression from Craigslist posts by people describing themselves as “chill”, which was often accompanied by “420-friendly”….

        1. admin August 8, 2007 at 3:35 pm

          Yeah, ‘chill’ is pretty much a stoner phrase here. Portland is very cool, it definitely has a more relaxed feel to me as well, so you’re not imagining it. 🙂

  5. ph34rtimmybunny August 8, 2007 at 6:25 am

    and what amazing sights are you gonna show me when I’m there in 2 weeks sleeping on your couch? lol

    actually that is good to know about stuff up there since I’m seriously considering moving up there in about 6-8 months.

    1. admin August 8, 2007 at 3:34 pm

      Pretty much whatever you want so long as you don’t pull the same ‘arrive and then immediately leave’ stunt, because then I might have to murder you dead.

      Can you send me your flight schedule so I know when to pick you up? Are you just staying for the weekend of PAX or will you be here longer? I need to make sure I get the time off of work!

      1. ph34rtimmybunny August 8, 2007 at 3:51 pm

        basic flight stuff right now is I’ll be flying into seatac at 9:30 pm on the 23rd, and my flight leaves at 5:20 pm on monday the 27th, so PAX plus about half a day. my job is being all weird about my going in the first place, but I looked at them and flat out told them that I’m going and that is it, they can’t afford to fire me. I’ll call you later to figure it all out, off to work now!

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