Flying Forward with the Future of Flight
Explore flight, from drones to outer space, in Everett’s world class aviation center
BY ELLEN HIATT
While some attractions provide perspective on today by looking to our past, the Future of Flight Aviation Center looks forward.
Boeing Future of Flight is Snohomish County’s most popular attraction. Adjacent to the Boeing Everett Factory, it is a technical, aspirational, and engaging gem.
The 28,000 square foot facility provides a look into aerospace and Boeing’s role in space exploration.
Begin at the Sky Deck for panoramic view of the North Cascades and the Everett Boeing Factory, the world’s largest building by volume. Planes come and go from Paine Field, the state’s newest, world-class regional airport. You’ll have front row seating to watch private aircraft, commercial flights and test flights of Boeing planes.
The gallery includes the newest exhibit and explores Boeing’s legacy of innovation with more than 150 Boeing products and services, current and future. Where else can you explore space, hypersonic travel, sustainable fuels, and autonomous aerial systems all in one place?
The Above and Beyond exhibition lets you explore flight in a wind tunnel while you experiment with the aerodynamics of supersonic flight, explore the fundamental forces of flight in a group flying game with gesture tracking technology and computer graphics, engage in a virtual high-speed multi-player competition, explore the layers of the atmosphere in a stunning simulated ascent in a space elevator, see the world from outer space and more.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live and work on the International Space Station? The Destiny Module (aka U.S. Lab) in the Gallery, is a full-scale and explorable mock-up of the “U.S. Lab” that is part of the ISS. It’s roughly 29 feet long, 15 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 10 tons. The U.S. Lab was launched and attached to the ISS in 2001, and is the primary research laboratory for U.S. payloads, supporting studies around health, safety and quality of life. The mock-up represents a look at the 24 payload racks in the U.S. Lab that can be reconfigured for various experiments and equipment. You can track the ISS, and can see it orbiting with the naked eye on occasion in the night sky.
Among the payload racks is the Microgravity Science Glovebox. As NASA describes it, “This isn’t your father’s Buick’s glovebox.”
The “glovebox” on the ISS has a “large front window and built-in gloves, creating a sealed environment to contain liquids and particles in microgravity for science and technology experiments.”
It’s the ideal way to contain fluids, flames and fumes in a near-weightlessness environment of space.
While you’re there, check out the Crew Quarters (astronaut bunks) that help astronauts sleep without floating around in zero gravity. Since the ISS orbits Earth every 90 minutes, the astronauts who would be sleeping in the station would experience 45 minutes of light followed by 45 minutes of darkness while tucked into the little sleeping pod.
The Future of Flight’s daily Drones and Robotics exhibit showcases Boeing drones and allows you to remotely fly the miniature quadcopters. Learn about Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray drones, remotely-piloted, carrier-capable, aerial refueling aircraft in production for the U.S. Navy.
The robotics portion includes interactive robotic coding, which is perfect for all ages. The exhibit explores the future of robotics in aviation and provides a glimpse of how robots are used in Boeing aircraft assembly.
The Boeing Factory Tour is currently closed, and there isn’t a projected reopening date. Visit the Boeing Future of Flight website for more information and online ticket purchase.
For current Boeing Future of Flight Health and Safety information reference the visit page. Allow plenty of time to explore, especially if you visit in the late afternoon. If you arrive too late you’ll miss out on all the great exhibits, as the doors close at 5 p.m.