No, we did not return to St.Louis just in order for John to visit his old place of employment. We toured the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington, which is quite a larger plant than the one back home. The other difference is that this plant makes the commercial aircraft and not the fighter jets. Come to think of it, then, why all the security here in Everett? No cell phones, cameras, backpacks or purses are allowed on the tour. They did not pat us down to check what we had in our pockets, so just how important were the security measures? John asked this question of our tour guide and the answer he got was that in the past too many cameras and cell phones had gotten dropped on the workers from the viewing balconies! The tour took us by bus to the large assembly plant where the 747, 777, and 787 planes are being made. This building is supposed to be the largest in the world by volume, equivalent to 100 acres. It is hard to realize that size in the picture but each of the six doors is big enough for a 747 to pass through! The pictures on the doors are considered to be the largest computer generated graphics in the world.
Here we could be above the Boeing assembly line and see airplanes in various stages of manufacture for customers around the world. The center of attraction was the newest of the planes, the 787. Unlike the previous models this plane is made of composite material, not of aluminum. In the Aviation Center's gallery, after the tour, we could touch the new high-tech skin of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Below is a test section of that new material. It has a very smooth feeling. Unlike aluminum it needs no rivets to hold the parts together. It is all one piece.