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Sat, Dec 17, 2005

Future of Flight Aviation Center Celebrates Its Grand Opening

Design Your Own Airliner, Watch The Real Ones Take Flight

Who among our readers hasn't dreamed of designing their own aircraft? Okay, so a few of you have actually done it... but what about a commercial airliner? Visitors to the new Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour in Everett, WA now have the opportunity to do just that... and take a (computer generated) picture of their aircraft home.

The new 73,000 square-foot facility, located at Everett's Paine Field, celebrated its grand opening Friday. Dignitaries attending the ceremony included Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. 

“The Future of Flight is expected to generate $3.5 million annually in tourism dollars for the state and that’s great news, but I’m also excited about the opportunities for education that this Aviation Center offers,” said Governor Gregoire. "This is the perfect place for young people to get excited about a career in science and engineering."

The Future of Flight Aviation Center features a 28,000-square-foot aviation gallery, a new tour center for the nearby manufacturing plant in which Boeing assembles its 747, 767 and 777 airplanes, and a 9,000-square-foot observation deck allowing crowds to watch day-to-day operations at Payne Field... where they might even see a brand-new Boeing jet take flight.

Several meeting rooms, a theater, restaurant, and gift shops are some of the other highlights of the new center. A 102-room Hilton Garden Inn, which opened in October, was built adjacent to the center.

The Center is designed so visitors can create their own jet, then take a print of it home. Visitors may also experience the next generation of in-flight entertainment systems, touch the high-tech  of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and learn how technology and aviation will be used in the future to connect people and cultures across the globe.

"This facility offers significant value to the County and the world," said Snohomish County's Reardon. "Future technological innovations will come from the children and young adults inspired by what they see here today."

Boeing joined with the Future of Flight Foundation and other partners because it allowed the jet manufacturer to expand its tour operations. Since opening in 1968, the Boeing Tour Center has hosted more than two million visitors from around the globe. Annually more than 100,000 people take its factory tour. The Future of Flight expects that number to double to more than 200,000 visitors per year.

The center is open daily -- except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day -- from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. General admission is $15, $14 for seniors and active Military with ID, and $8 for children ages 6-15. Children younger than 6 years old are admitted free, although they must be at least 4 feet tall to take the factory tour.

FMI: www.futureofflight.org

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