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Seattle's Museum of Flight and the Boeing Factory

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Danger

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In the last couple of days I've had the pleasure of visiting the Museum of Flight and the Boeing Factory in Seattle.

The museum has heaps of aircraft and aircraft remnants and chronicles the origins of flight through to probably the late 20th century. Strangely, it seems to stop a few years back and there is no mention of Airbus. My first thought was this would be because Seattle is the home of Boeing but even at the Boeing Factory there are several mentions of Airbus. I spent four hours there and you could easily spend one or two more. The highlight is the Airpark where there are a small number of aircraft on display, including the very first 747 (currently under repair), a British Airways Concorde and the first Boeing Air Force One.

Museum of Flight

British Airways Concorde

Air Force One

About 10 days prior I had the pleasure of touring another British Airways Concorde, at the USS Intrepid Museum at Pier 86 in New York City. That included about a 45 minute guided tour and a tonne of information and allowed you to sit in both the cabin and the cockpit. That particular aircraft holds the trans-Atlantic record: 2h52m59s between London and New York. The guide also told a super cool story. On one particular flight a famous professional Spanish golfer was onboard. During flight, he placed a putting cup at the front of the cabin then proceeded to place the putt from the rear. He made the shot but the best part is the Guinness Book of World Records includes that putt is the longest ever made - 9.25 miles!

British Airways Concorde at the USS Intrepid Museum

I also went to the Boeing Factory. The public displays here are much, much smaller but the highlight is the tour of the factory itself. The 90 minute tour includes walking through the actual factory. From the observation platform we looked at the 777 and 787 assembly lines. There was a NZ 787 (a -9, I think) nearing completion which when completed, according to the guide, will be able to fly between any two cities on earth. Unfortunately, photography of any kind is not permitted inside the factory itself. On the bus ride back from the factory to the display building we witnessed a brand-spanking new Emirates 777 take-off on its delivery flight. The guide pointed out that it was easy to tell it was a delivery rather than a test flight as immediately after take-off the pilot 'waved' the wings, dipping the wings slightly from side to side as a wave goodbye.

And then, as I was walking back across the carpark to the bus that would take me back to downtown Seattle, a Jetstar 787 took off. It was VH-VKG. Someone else noted it didn't do a wing wave so it may not have been a delivery flight but a test flight.

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markis10

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VKG was doing her B4 flight and was scheduled to do a C1 flight later the same day, which is the first customer acceptance flight.
 
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