Aviation News

September 8, 2011

Photos: A Rare Look Inside Boeing’s 737 Factory

Worker inside the fuselage of a new Boeing 737-800
Worker inside the fuselage of a new Boeing 737-800. (Photo by Matt Molnar)
It’s not very often that Boeing lets cameras into their massive Renton, Wash., 737 airliner factory, so I was thrilled when I had the chance to snap away during a recent visit to Seattle.

The historic plant, set next to Renton Municipal Airport, assembles every Boeing 737 Next Generation that takes to the skies. Planes inch along the moving assembly line quickly enough to pump out 31 1/2 aircraft per month or 1 1/2 planes daily — a rate that will gradually increase to 42 per month over the next few years to help fulfill the popular jet’s massive order backlog.

Wings are assembled in an adjacent building, where the classic 727 and 757 airliners were once built, before being wheeled over to be attached to empty fuselages, which are transported by train from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas. (An additional wing assembly area was recently opened within the main assembly building). Horizontal and vertical stabilizers and landing gear are also added.

Inside the fuselage, interior wall panels, insulation, wiring, carpeting, cockpit controls, galleys, lavs and everything else critical to the aircraft are installed before the final major components are added: the engines.

Each completed plane is then flown to Boeing Field for painting, final testing and delivery.

Many thanks to the folks at Boeing who made this happen!