More than 5 million guests have toured Boeing’s airplane factory in Everett, Wash., which ranks as one of the Puget Sound region’s top attractions – but far fewer tourists have been inside the area’s other Boeing assembly plant, south of Seattle in Renton.
A new multimedia presentation is aimed at evening the score, at least virtually: “Incredible: The Story of the Boeing Renton Site” combines mouse-controlled 360-degree views, videos and photo galleries to show how Boeing builds the world’s best-selling commercial jetliner, the 737.
The tour starts with a 360-degree video shot outside the assembly building. As trucks drive by and workers stroll past, a narrator explains what you’re seeing – and invites you to look inside.
Clicking on the menu label lets you get a view of the 737 assembly line from above, or from the floor. Yet another 360-degree view puts you on Renton Field’s flight line as a Ryanair Next-Generation 737 takes its first-ever flight. The next-next-generation 737 MAX also gets its share of screen time.
It’s been 75 years since the Renton factory was built to turn out airplanes for the U.S. military during World War II – principally the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Since then, the facility has played a role in building the Dash 80, the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 707, 737, 757, 767 and the Navy’s P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft.
Renton is arguably busier than ever: This year, its 737 production rate is rising to 47 planes a month. Boeing says it takes just 10 days to turn a fuselage delivered by train from Wichita, Kan., into a finished airplane.
Now, thanks to Boeing’s virtual tour, it takes just 10 minutes to get an inside look at the process.