Future of Flight

Boeing tour is must-see for visitors to Seattle area

By CARY ORDWAY

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has captured the imagination of frequent fliers and aviation enthusiasts around the world and the internet is alive with videos showing the first test flights of this new ultra-efficient airliner.

If you're one of those who is fascinated by the development of this aircraft and the history of the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company, a visit to the Seattle metropolitan area simply has to include a visit to the Future of Flight, the company's public tour offered in Mukilteo, just a half-hour drive north of downtown Seattle.

You'll get an up-close view of the first few Boeing 787's and you'll be able to see step-by-step how Boeing constructs the modern airliners that you board when you take off for exotic destinations around the world. Although aviation buffs will be the most enthralled with the tour, this is one of those activities that the whole family will enjoy. It's educational, fascinating and fun all at the same time.

The Boeing Company has gone to great expense to create a tour center worthy of this historic company. Inside these modern facilities — built in 2005 -- you'll find a 100-seat theater and a restaurant in addition to a couple of stores with Boeing related merchandise — everything from model airplanes to leather bomber jackets. The museum area displays several historic aircraft allowing you to get a true feel for their size and features.

But that's just the beginning. A comfortable upscale motorcoach will take you the short distance to the manufacturing area where you'll be able to walk through the largest building in the world by volume, as recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records. The building was built in the mid-60's as Boeing began work on the 747 jumbo jet and has grown over the years to enclose 472 million cubic feet of space over 98.3 acres. Currently the building is used to assemble the 747, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner.

The tour lasts 90 minutes, but the time goes fast as a knowledgeable guide takes you step by step through the construction of an airplane. You'll see how the various parts of the aircraft are pre-positioned on an assembly line and added piece by piece. Several giant aircraft are under construction at any given time so you get to see these airplanes in the various stages. Along the way there are helpful displays that explain the amazing process that creates flying machines that are safe and reliable with many redundancies built in to ensure that the failure of no single system will bring the airplane down.

Tour Procedure

  • All tours are conducted in English and last 90 minutes.
  • Boeing does not permit still photos or video cameras on the tour.
  • Children must be at least 4 feet (122 cm) tall to go on the tour.
  • Visitors may not carry babies on the tour. There is no child-care facility at the Future of Flight & Boeing Tour and there are no exceptions to these safety regulations.
  • No personal items are allowed on the tour including: purses, backpacks, cameras, binoculars, cell phones, etc. Lockers are available on-site, for a small fee, at the Future of Flight.
  • The tour may require a one-third-mile walk, 21 steep stairs and an elevator ride.
  • The tour can be done by wheelchair-bound and physically-challenged visitors with advance notice. Please advise us when making reservations.
  • There are restroom facilities and a café at the Future of Flight, but restrooms are not available during the tour.
  • No food or drink are allowed on the Boeing Tour.
  • For more information visit the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour Web site.

Hours

The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific time), closing only on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Boeing reserves the right to cancel tours at any time for Boeing company business or emergencies.

Tickets

For reservations, call +1 360-756-0086 or toll free, +1 800-464-1476, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific time). You can also make reservations online.

Non-reserved tickets are sold at the center for same day use, beginning at 8:30 a.m. (Pacific time), until all tickets for the day are gone. Visitors may purchase tickets for any tour during the day. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and tend to go rapidly June-September.

Directions

From Interstate 5 North or South, take Exit 189 to State Highway 526 West. Drive for about 4 miles. Stay in the left lane of Hwy 526 and turn left at the light at 84th Street.

There is limited public transportation from Seattle. Please call Metro at (206) 553-3000. Thank you for your interest in The Boeing Company. For more information about the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, contact everett.tourcenter@boeing.com.

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