The Boeing Company has an undeniable presence in Seattle, even more so than Starbucks, Amazon, or Microsoft. Entire families have worked for the company across multiple generations. Every time I drive to Sea-Tac Airport I crane my neck to get a glimpse of the aircraft awaiting delivery at Boeing Field. It’s hard to imagine what the city would be like without Boeing.
Friday was the 100th birthday party for the original company founded by William Boeing in 1916. I had a great opportunity to visit the celebrations at Boeing Field and the Museum of Flight along with other media and hundreds of employees. The entire facility was rented out by the company for the Founders Day weekend.
Many of you are most familiar with Boeing’s commercial aircraft division, or “7-series,” and a sample of each type was on display. These ranged from an Omega Tanker 707 to a ANA Boeing 787 Dreamliner. We also saw Alaska’s new 737-900ER with the “Boeing 100” livery that I already wrote about.
You probably also know that Boeing does more than just commercial aircraft. It builds spacecraft, satellites, military jets, bombers, and more. The original Boeing company even gave birth to United Airlines. It later merged with or acquired many other aircraft manufacturers to produce the company you see today.
Although the daytime lineup of commercial jets was cool, it wasn’t the most interesting part of the weekend. I think the most interesting part was the show later that night, after the media had left. Here’s a 30-second preview; you can still watch the videos of both events in full on the Boeing website.
The stark white Boeing 747-8 was sitting behind the stage that afternoon. It was painted but didn’t have any livery. And then I noticed four or five bright white lights on the side that didn’t seem to have any purpose. I guessed (correctly) that there might be some kind of projection using the white plane as a backdrop. Those lights may have been used to align the projectors.
I got to watch the show that evening when it was streamed live, and it was really quite cool. They managed to align the projection to the aircraft very well, illustrating the interior of the plane with automated cutaways and even flipping through the liveries of every Boeing customer. Imagine using this technology to preview the newest designs without investing in an expensive paint job!