A new tradition surrounding Spring Reign is that our students experience something cultural and/or educational en route to the tournament. Last year our grouped spent some time visiting the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle. This year we organized a tour of the Future of Flight Aviation Center and the Boeing airplane factory in Everett, Washington.

The tour began in the flight center where students and adults alike couldn’t help but be impressed by the immense scale of both facilities and their respective contents. It’s hard to believe, for example, that a 747 vertical tail fin towers six stories high, or that a 747 wing measures 5,600 square feet. In addition to showcasing airplanes, airplane parts, and fuselage interiors Boeing also displayed an electric car called Tesla. (Boeing had a hand in developing its engine, but my understanding from Colin is that it can be plugged into any common household socket to be recharged.)

After spending some free time in the flight centre our group was directed to a theatre where we watched a six minute film chronicling the history of Boeing. Thereafter we boarded a Boeing bus where we driven to the factory—the largest building in the world. We leaned that Disneyland could be entirely contained within the building itself.

Our guide was animated and he clearly enjoyed teaching us about how modern commercial airplanes were built. We learned, for example, that the 747 is assembled in Everett but different parts of the airplane are actually manufactured in Italy, and other parts of the United States. Here are some other interesting facts about the 747: it has six million parts, half of which are fasteners; it has 171 miles (274 km) of wiring and 5 miles (8 km) of tubing; The 747 fleet has logged more than 42 billion nautical miles (77.8 billion kilometers), equivalent to 101,500 trips from the Earth to the moon and back; The 747-400ER can carry more than 63,500 gallons of fuel (240,370 L), making it possible to fly extremely long routes, such as Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia.

There were other interesting facts that we learned on our tour, but I suggest that you talk to Caro Johnson who, by the tour’s end, could have taken a group on the factory tour of Boeing herself!


Michael Simmonds

Head of School

n.b.: The pictures included in this blog posting were downloaded from Google images. Boeing policy prohibits any person from taking photos while touring the factory.