The Boeing Everett Factory in Everett, Washington is officially the largest building (by volume) in the world with 472 MILLION cubic feet of total volume, nearly twice as big as 2nd largest building, the Target Import Warehouse in Lacey, Washington and over 3.5 times bigger than the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. The place is so big it supposedly has its own weather system with clouds and rain. (More on that later.) For now, let’s take a look inside this massive complex:
Boeing has been in Everett since WWII as they helped support B-17 production efforts, but it was a Pan Am $525 million order for 25 new 747s in the mid 1960s that pushed Boeing to built this monster factory adjacent to Paine Field. Since then it’s pumped out over 1,400 747s as well as produced 767s, 777s, and the latest, the 787 Dreamliner.
Thanks to the efforts of Boeing, the Future of Flight Aviation Center, the Snohomish County Public Facilities District, and the Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field), you can actually tour the mythical Boeing Everett Factory 7-days a week.
The tour only takes 90 minutes, but you get the rare opportunity to see commercial jets being assembled- rare as in this is the only public tour of a commercial jet factory in North America.
The factory tour is in conjunction with the Future of Flight Aviation Center, a massive place in its own right (28,000 sq. ft). Here aviation, engineering, and history buffs can:
Explore the dynamics of flight and experience new aviation innovations. Design and virtually test your own jet. Strap yourself into the Innovator for an exhilarating trip to virtual destinations and experiences like the Battle for Iwo Jima, a Grand Prix Race or a barnstorming stunt plane.
Not going to make it to Everett, Washington this year? It’s ok. Here are some facts about the factory straight from the guided tour itself:
- The Boeing Everett plant employs roughly 30,000 people and is so large it functions much like a small city with dozens of cafes, a water treatment plant, a day care, a credit union, and more.
- The mural on the 6 big doors of the factory is the largest digital graphic in the world.
- The factory has over 1,000,000 light bulbs.
- There are 2.33 miles of pedestrian tunnels under the factory to help workers move from point A to point B quickly without affecting workflow.
- There factory has over 1,300 bicycles and tricycles used by employees to get around.
And finally… The factoid you really wanted to know/argue about. Is the Boeing Everett Factory soooo big it rains inside the plant? Even the TODAY Show has made this claim. Is it true?
Well, kind of. The factory is so massive that when it was first build, clouds were visible near the ceilings thanks to the warm, moist air. As you can imagine, moisture and airplane building aren’t the best of friends, so Boeing has an air circulation system that keeps the indoor rainclouds away.
Seattle has a lot to see and do, but if you want to see something massive and see a process you can’t see anywhere else, make the quick 25 mile drive north of Seattle to the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour.