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Frontiers November 2013 Issue

“The data collected at PERC is valuable, because it allows us to scientifically validate ideas. It allows consumers to influence our product design.” – Blake Emery, director of PERC and Differentiation Strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes PHOTOS: Thousands of visitors take part in studies at the Passenger Experience Research Center, mainly in the peak visitor season of late spring to early fall. Teague, a global design consulting firm, conducts the studies, designed by Boeing researchers. (Clockwise from top left) Two young visitors earn their wings; “flight attendant” Charlene Bailey, a PERC administrator, hands out electronic survey-response devices; PERC administrator Yvette Kelp greets incoming “passengers”; visitors assess a mock-up of an airplane interior. GRAPHICS: SHUTTERSTOCK With boarding passes in hand, passengers crowded the entrance to the cabin as a flight attendant welcomed them aboard the twin-aisle “airplane.” The duration of their flight would be short—just 20 minutes—and their cruising speed would be zero. Even so, these passengers were about to fly into the great unknown—the future of Boeing airplane cabin design. This was a recent focus group at the Passenger Experience Research Center, a customizable airplane mock-up at the Future of Flight visitor center in Everett, Wash. Known as the PERC by those who work with it, the center is located just across the runway from Boeing’s Everett twin-aisle factory. It was created 10 years ago to field test concepts for cabin design and help determine whether they should be turned into reality. The cabin mock-up can be reconfigured to test a wide range of theories about passenger preference and allows members of the flying public to answer survey questions while in the cabin. Linda Tabor of Fredericksburg, Texas, who frequently travels to Central America to participate in medical missions, said she took part in the focus group because she was intrigued by the center’s name, and its mission. “I was curious to know the changes that might be coming in airplane interiors in the future,” Tabor said. “I appreciated that the survey had lots of questions, but I especially liked that there was a place for comments and what I, as a passenger, would like to see in an airplane interior in the future.” Although study participants won’t see immediate changes in cabin interiors, their impact on design decisions is substantial, according to Blake Emery, director of PERC and Differentiation Strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Each year thousands of people of all ages, from all parts BOEING FRONTIERS / NOVEMBER 2013 21


Frontiers November 2013 Issue
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