In the 1960’s Pan American World Airways wanted a “jumbo” jet and they pushed Boeing hard to create it, dangling a $525 million contract. Risking the company to do so, and building the world’s largest building by volume just north of Seattle, Boeing designed and created the world’s first jumbo jet, the 747.
Though it changed aviation, the 747’s excellent design means it’s still used as a versatile workhorse even today. Trump’s new Presidential plane will be a 747.
This factory still rolls out planes, including Boeing’s newest. The parts are sourced from companies both domestically and around the globe in a logistical tangle of millions of parts from suppliers, to time schedules, to varying technical requirements.
Not only is Boeing good at building planes, it’s unparalleled in its ability to manage extraordinarily complex manufacturing projects. This is why Boeing so often leads large national projects, such as the ISS, as the prime systems integrator between all the contractors.
I’ve never actually toured the plant up there past Everett, Washington. But I think I’ll make it my next excursion. My dad worked most of his life at Boeing, so it holds a special place.