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Miles flown for stories
2014: 258,704
2013: 330,818

Boeing’s Everett Plant: A History Of The World’s Wide-body Mecca (Part One)

Boeing's Everett Factory. Image: Airchive.com

Boeing’s Everett Factory. Image: Chris Sloan / Airchive.com

Written by Chris Sloan and originally published at Airchive.com on October 9, 2013

Editor’s note: Welcome to part one of our multi-part epoch on the fascinating history of the Boeing Everett plant. We will be rolling the series out over the next month, so sit back, grab a glass of your favorite beverage, and enjoy the read.

Nestled 22 miles north of Seattle in a woodsy suburb of Everett, Washington is Boeing’s sprawling modern miracle of an airliner factory; a place so massive, so technologically sophisticated, and so vital to the world’s aviation industry, it’s hard to wrap your head around it much less write an article about it. What began as the birthplace of the world’s first wide-body airliner, the iconic Boeing 747, is, as of the end of July 2013, the site where a little over 50% of the world’s wide-body aircraft have ever been produced. Indeed, out of 6,746 aircraft produced by Airbus, Lockheed, Douglas, Ilyushin, and Boeing combined; a staggering 3,715 have been produced at Boeing’s Everett plant.

Continue reading Boeing’s Everett Plant: A History Of The World’s Wide-body Mecca (Part One)

Boeing Relocates “Sim City” from Seattle to Miami

The Miami based Thales 787 simulators are already operating around the clock according to Boeing. Image: Chris Sloan / Airchive.com

The Miami-based Thales 787 simulators are already operating around the clock, according to Boeing.                                       Photo: Chris Sloan / Airchive.com

Reported and Photographed from Miami by: Chris Sloan, Airchive.com Editor-in-Chief

Miami is now Boeing’s “Sim City,” but Airchive’s home base has been an aviation hub dating back to the early days of the industry. Hallowed names like Pan Am, National, Eastern, Glenn Curtis, Rich International, and Air Florida have played pivotal roles in the world’s aviation industry from South Florida.  OK, maybe that last name is a bit of a stretch.

Today, Miami boasts America’s second-busiest international airport and number one international cargo airport – MIA, American Airlines’ bustling Latin American hub, and the UPS hub of the Americas. Perhaps the most iconic name in aviation, Boeing joined South Florida’s famed aviation industry in 1997 when they established a joint-venture with Flight Safety, FlightSafety Boeing Training International.

In 2002, Boeing bought out their partner. They join Airbus’ Americas Training Center and the Pan Am Flight Academy (just purchased this week by Japan’s ANA) in the little Miami suburb of Virginia Gardens, now home to one of the largest concentrations of flight simulators and commercial aviation training of any city in the world.

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Inside Boeing’s 737 Renton Factory As They “Take It To The MAX”

COPA Boeing 737 in the Renton Factory. Image by Chris Sloan.

COPA Boeing 737 in the Renton Factory. Image by Chris Sloan.

This story was written by Chris Sloan and originally was published on Airchive.com. This is the next of a multi-part series talking about the Boeing 737 factory in Renton. Read the first part: A Historical Look at Boeing’s 737 Factory in Renton and second part: Inside Boeing’s 737 Renton Factory and the Successful Next Gen.

The Boeing 737 Goes Into “MAX” Overdrive

The Boeing 737 NextGen order book continued to bulge, growing virtually unabated even through the deep worldwide economic slowdown / crisis of 2008-12. Ironically, this era of financial strife and sharply escalating fuel costs, as well as the growth of emerging markets, helped 737 and A320 sales go from strength to strength. Boeing however didn’t stand on it its laurels or did it?

Boeing claims with the introduction of its latest performance improvement package “PIP”, today’s NGs are 6-7 more efficient then when they were first introduced in the late 1990s. Boeing’s Tinseth points out that “The (737) program has taken off with record sales. It’s simple. We make it better every time. We were first in its class with ETOPS 180, glass cockpits, Sky Interiors, and high bypass engines. We lower the operating costs through such new technologies as blended winglets, heads up display, carbon brakes, and more fuel-efficient engines. We enhance customer appeal with the new Sky Interior. This is an airplane that appeals to the heart of the market: emerging and developing economies and it is very successful with the LCC business model”. These new LCC airlines in emerging markets include Lion Air, Air Asia, and Gol! An unintended benefit of the weak economy, particularly in the U.S., is the poor financial results led to an elderly, fuel-in-efficient, maintenance intensive fleet which created an advantage and some say a bubble for airframe manufacturers, particularly in this sweet smart of the market. “The significant driver in the US is the demand to replace older and less efficient aircraft”, said Tinseth.

Continue reading Inside Boeing’s 737 Renton Factory As They “Take It To The MAX”

Inside Boeing’s 737 Renton Factory and the Successful Next Gen

On December 2, 1996: The first 737NG, a 737-700, rolls out of the Renton factory to all splashy event. On December 17, 1997 Boeing delivered the first Next-Generation 737-700 to launch customer Southwest Airlines. The 737-700 is the 2nd best selling 737NG behind the -800 but the -900 has picked up momentum. Image courtesy: Boeing

On December 2, 1996: The first 737NG, a 737-700, rolls out of the Renton factory to all splashy event. Image courtesy: Boeing

This story was written by Chris Sloan and originally was published on Airchive.com. This is the next of a multi-part series talking about the Boeing 737 factory in Renton. Read the first part: A Historical Look at Boeing’s 737 Factory in Renton.

Success Breeds Competition: The Airbus A320 ups the ante and Boeing is forced to answer

In 1988, the first serious competitor to the 737 monopoly, the Airbus A320 entered service. With even more advanced systems like fly-by-wire flight controls, new higher powered and fuel efficient engines, a wider cabin, the first major use of composite materials in a narrow body airliner, and somewhat larger capacity on a direct model comparison basis, the A320 family quickly became a force to be reckoned with. In addition, Airbus offered aggressive pricing and quicker delivery windows. Having only recently launched the 2nd generation 737s, Boeing didn’t respond to the European framer’s challenge for another 5 years.

In 1993, Boeing finally answered with the Boeing 737 Next Generation. First flying in 1997, it first entered service in 1998 as a 737-700 (comparable in size to the 737-300) for launch customer Southwest. While retaining commonality with the 2nd generation 737s, the NextGens included a redesigned wing, and eventually winglets, that increased total fuel capacity by 30% and range to over 3,000 miles. Quieter, more powerful and more fuel-efficient engines in the form of CFM56-7Bs came online as well.

Continue reading Inside Boeing’s 737 Renton Factory and the Successful Next Gen

A Historical Look at Boeing’s 737 Factory in Renton

Outside the Boeing 737 Factory in Renton, WA. Photo by Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

Outside the Boeing 737 Factory in Renton, WA. Photo by Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

This story was written by Chris Sloan and originally was published on Airchive.com. This is the first of a multi-part series looking at the Boeing 737 factory in Renton.

On the evening of March 18, 2013 Boeing’s Renton Plant rolled out its first Boeing 737, a 737-800 bound for Panamanian Airline COPA, at the astounding new production rate of 38 aircraft per month. Boeing had only reached 35 airplanes per month, its previous historic high commercial production rate in January 2012. 2 days later on March 20, 2013, Boeing delivered the 7500th 737, the 7,229nd example built at Renton (more on this later). By Spring 2014, the rate is expected to leap to 42 aircraft per month.

In 2015, Renton will begin production of the new 737 MAX that is due to enter commercial service in 2017, 50 years after the 737 first entered service in 1967! The Boeing 737 is the best-selling and longest continuously produced commercial airliner of all time with over 10,500 deliveries and orders. As of April, 2013 between the new Max (1,234) and current the Next-Generation (4,395), the 737 backlog stands at 3,136 aircraft. With the increased production rates, the current order book will take 6 ½ years alone to clear. Boeing’s current market outlook estimates 23,000 new narrow body airliner orders in the 737 / A320 families category over the next 20 years. Three draw dropping data-points stand out:

  • 40% of the world’s jetliner fleet has been manufactured at Renton.
  • Renton has produced an astonishing total of over 15,000 aircraft making it one of the most prolific aircraft factories, and the most prolific jetliner factory in history.
  • With approximately 5,600 737s in service, 25% of the world’s large jet fleet (non RJ) are Boeing 737s.

Continue reading A Historical Look at Boeing’s 737 Factory in Renton