Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hey! It’s raining in here! (Other neat stuff about the Boeing plant)

The Boeing factory in Everett, WA is so massive; it once began generating its own weather systems. Rain clouds, the result of warm air and moisture accumulating, were actually forming inside. About 25,000 workers added to the heat and humidity.

Covering almost 100-acres, the world's biggest building by volume houses Boeing's 747, 767, 777, and 787 aircraft production lines. Roughly 2142 average-sized homes could fit inside this factory. The hangar doors alone are each roughly the size of an American football field. Among other things, it boasts its own security force and fire department, a fully equipped medical clinic, a childcare center, a water treatment plant, its own electrical sub-stations, and 19 cafeterias.

But what to do about the rain? Actually, a state-of-the-art air circulation system was installed inside the monolithic manufacturing plant early on. I wasn’t able to find exact dates, but obviously you can’t work with complex electrical systems under such shocking conditions.

Nevertheless, it’s true that there’s no A/C on the production floor. First of all, the weather in the Seattle area rarely peaks over 90. If the factory gets too warm, they open the huge doors and turn on the fans. Too Cold? As if. There are over one million light bulbs illuminating the work areas. Remember how your kid could actually bake a cake with a 100-watt bulb in her Hasbro Easy Bake oven?
I know, I know. Am I ever going to get over that tour of Boeing? Well, maybe after one more post. I’m an airplane freak who’s worked at both United Space Alliance and Boeing Aerospace. Before the kids came along I flew small craft: Cessna 150s and 172s. So cut me some slack…

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