Stories about the Boeing Everett Factory: myths vs truth
On the course of history, man has built many structures, surrounded by myths and legends: some say, that The Great Pyramid of Giza was built by aliens, while Macchu Picchu used to be covered in gold. World's largest building by volume, Boeing Everett Factory, is not an exception. Some rumors about the facility are true, while others are pure fiction. Let us, along with Boeing representatives, reveal the factory's true story.
Rumor #1 The factory was conceived over a handshake
The idea that led to the beginning of construction of the enormous facility was conceived during a fishing trip to Alaska in 1965. Juan Trippe - the head of Pan Am, one of the world’s leading airlines at the time, was a friend of Bill Allen, the President of the Boeing Company. While casting for salmon, Juan Trippe asked B. Allen to build an aircraft that could carry passengers to the most remote places on Earth, while being a standard of fuel efficiency.
"If you build it, I'll buy it," famously said, Juan Trippe.
"If you buy it, I'll build it," Bill Allen replied.
Thus the idea for 747 was born. In order to assemble the 747 which is around 70 meters (231 ft.) long, the Boeing Company had to build a new factory. A number of locations, including those outside of the state of Washington, were considered but at the end it was decided that the site should be at Paine Field, near the existing Boeing facilities.
“Paine Field was found to be a suitable location with a long runway and enough real estate to build the new site,” explained Tom King, Communications & Media Relations manager at Boeing.
The construction of the facility was anything but easy, as the 1,025 acres area was covered with swamps and a forest with bears living in it. In addition, the building process was shadowed by humid winter weather.
“The mud became a great obstacle forcing the construction company to cover the site in asphalt,” said Tom King.
The hurdles were overcome step by step by around 2,800 employees, later to be nicknamed “The Incredibles”, and the new home for the 747 was built in a short period of 18 months. The site was expanded by 45% in 1980 to house the 767 assembly line and by another 50% in 1993 for 777, making the factory the largest building in the world by volume at 13,385,378 m3.
Rumor #2 It rains in the factory
The factory is such a massive facility, that could fit 75 American football fields inside. Due to its size, there is a common notion, that it rains in the facility. There is some truth to the myth. In the late 1960s, aircraft manufacturing processes produced warm air and small clouds formed near the ceiling. As one can imagine, water and mechanics are not birds of a feather, therefore, the Boeing Company installed a state-of-the-art air circulation system to avoid the formation of the clouds.
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