Photos by Bob Ferguson/Boeing
The new 777 jetliner is parked inside the final-assembly plant in Everett, Wash., surrounded on all sides. Work-stands hug much of the fuselage. Portable stairways align with open passenger and cargo hatches. Hydraulic hoses and electrical cords connect to the underbelly. Trash containers, parts tables and stepladders fill whatever space remains.
It doesn’t seem possible, but this plane is departing in 40 minutes.
What happens next is not unlike an anthill, where everything suddenly turns busy yet purposeful. Employees on beeping forklifts begin removing equipment. Others use hand-held keyboards to systematically lower and steer heavy platforms off to the side. Yet others, ever mindful of their surroundings, carry off parts on foot. In an instant, it’s all gone.
This flurry of activity for the 777 happens every Monday and Wednesday night—a process that is responsible for sending a fully assembled airplane to the outside world. This is a factory rollout.
Read more in the May 2015 issue of Boeing Frontiers.