Future of Flight

A Norwegian view of Aviation Geekfest 2013

More than 200 people from around the region – and around the world – recently attended Aviation Geekfest 2013 in Seattle.

Over the past few years this annual event has grown tremendously in scope and attendance and this year offered aviation fans a chance to visit the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Boeing’s Renton 737 factory and, up near Paine Field in Everett, the Future of Flight, Boeing’s Dreamliner Gallery, the Museum of Flight Restoration Center, the Historic Flight Foundation, the Flying Heritage Collection, and the Boeing Factory Tour.

David Parker Brown, the key event organizer, has a full report – and loads of photos – on his blog, Airline Reporter.com, but I wanted to share the report filed by 12 year-old Eskil Skute, who traveled from Norway with his dad, Per, just to attend the Aviation Geekfest – and check out Seattle.


Eskil and his dad at Aviation GeekFest. All the way from Norway! Courtesy Boeing


I wasn’t able to attend Aviation Geekfest this year, but did stop by for the closing session and sat down next to Eskil and his dad. They filled me in on all the activities and I told Eskil that if he ended up writing a report of his adventure, I’d be happy to include it on StuckatTheAirport.com.

Eskil sent this to me a week or so back. English is not his first language and I toyed with editing this to smooth it out, but have decided that his enthusiasm comes through just fine as is. So all I did was shorten it a bit.

Thanks, Eskil, for sharing your story!

“My trip to Seattle was totaly awesome!!! We started leaving from our town Sarpsborg and drived to Oslo airport hotel. … At 04:00 at morning we took a shuttle buss up to the airport and took the airplane from Gardermoen to schipol. Then we whaited 2 hours to the 9hours trip ahead of us. When we landed i was whery tired.we also lost our luggage:

We where a lot at the future of flight. We where a lot up on the roof and watched planes land and take off. We saw the Dreamlifter take off. That whas very cool:) next day we where going to the boeing 737 factory. We where first at the museum of flight. I loved museum of flight. The sr-71blackbird and mig 21fishbed and more…

When we comed to the boeing factory we where taked up to a Big room with three Big tv’s. We where not allowed to take pictures inside. When i comed out to where They builded boeing 737 i where like woow. It was huge. I saw a lot of airplanes in Lines ahead. I saw sas, westjet, hainan airlines,northwest airlines and united. It was hot inside.

That was the first time in history that They had lett anobody inside where They builded boeing 737. 

Next day i buyed me a model aircraft. It was a boeing 737 800 star allaince. The airline was air nippon(ANA).

Then we went shopping some new clothes beacause we have lost our luggage. The next day we where going to the dreamliner gallery and the main factory for boeing. The dreamliner gallery was pretty cool. We saw things and colors They wanted to have in the plane.

Then we whent to the main factory. I just said wow when i comed in. This plase wasent huge…IT WAS LARGE. We saw the boeing 747,777,787. We saw the first boeing 787dreamliner for Norwegian. The boeing factory is the biggest building in volum in the WORLD.

I had a great time inside the boeing factory. The coolest thing was the 737 ofcourse;). Next day it was back to seatle. We went to pike plase market in seatle. They throwed fish and that was funny:). Then we went to spaceneedle. It was tall and i could see the museum of flight:). We also saw the k5news helicopter take off from the roof:) that was very cool. We saw it from spaceneedle:).

Next day was our last day in seatle. We went on the tallest skyscraper in seatle it was abaout 70-80 floors. On 40th floor the talest starbucks in the world was.

The next day we had to leave. I buyed togheter 6model aircraft and i was happy. When i comed home i was tired. I miss seatle.


Signing books at Future of Flight Aviation Center

If you’re in the Seattle area today (Friday, August 6, 2010) and can skip work for a while, please join me at the Future of Flight Aviation Center – co-located with the Boeing Tour – in Mukilteo, about 30 miles north of Seattle.

The big attraction there, of course, is the tour of the Boeing airplane plant and the interactive displays in the Future of Flight center, but I’ll be there today as well, chatting with visitors about some of the offbeat and iconic Washington State places in my Washington Curiosities and Washington Icons books.

I’m bringing along photos of some of my favorite Northwest things – including the World’s Largest Egg, the Aeroplane, and the drive-through stump – and the Future of Flight store has scheduled an all-day wine-tasting event (with serious discounts on some Washington Wines) so it could turn into quite a party.

Details: 10 am – 3:30 pm at the  Future of Flight Aviation Center. (Directions)

See you there!

8-year-old teaches Boeing a lesson

I had a chance to tag along with 8-year old Harry Winsor, his brother Charlie and their parents today on a VIP visit to the Future of Flight Aviation Center and the Boeing Factory Tour in Mukilteo,Wa.

Winsors in the airplane engine

Harry and his family were getting the royal treatment in part to make up for the fact that, back in March, Boeing sent young Harry a terse form letter in response to his letter containing a picture of a jet airplane he’d designed.

The form letter, which Harry’s dad, John, posted on his blog, said the giant aerospace company does not accept unsolicited ideas and so disposed of his “message” and “retained no copies.”  Word got out and the universal response of aviation geeks, bloggers and aerospace engineers who’d once been kids was “Not cool. Not cool at all.”

Luckily for Harry – and for Boeing – just a few weeks before Harry got his “Thanks, but no thanks” letter from Boeing, the corporate communications folks at Boeing got their Twitter accounts. And Todd Blecher, Boeing’s Corporate Communications Director, was paying attention.  As documented on the Airline Reporter blog and elsewhere, Blecher Tweeted a response that said, “….For kids we can do better. We’ll work on it.”

And it certainly appears that they are. Blecher flew to Seattle this week to be on hand while Harry and his family got a VIP tour of the Boeing Factory and the non-profit Future of Flight center next door. And Blecher explained that the company is working on a better letter to send out to enthusiastic kids like Harry who send in letters and pictures.  The first letter they drafted was too dry and formal.  The next version they wrote up read too much like a recruitment letter, “It said, ‘Study science and come work for Boeing,’ ” says Blecher, “So we tried again. My boss took the letter home and had his five kids take a look at it.”

In the meantime, today Harry and Charlie got to see where their favorite airplanes get made.  They got a bagful of cool Boeing airplane swag.  And they got to to see their drawings exhibited alongside a few dozen other imaginative airplane drawings by children and adults from around the world in the Future of Flight’s Harry Winsor Design Your Own Aircraft Show .

And, already a Well-Mannered Traveler, Harry didn’t come empty handed.  He presented Boeing and the Future of Flight with a framed drawing he’d made especially for the occasion.

I’ll post a gallery of some of the airplane artwork tomorrow, but in the meantime, see aerospace reporter Aubrey Cohen’s great photo gallery and article about Harry and Charlie’s day.

Can you build a better airplane? The Future of Flight wants your design

Here’s a great lemons to lemonade story.

8 year old Harry Winsor really loves to draw airplanes. So his dad, a savvy advertising executive – with a blog – sent one of Harry’s pictures to the folks at Boeing.  But rather than send Harry a thank-you note, the giant company sent Harry a form letter letting him know that – like every other idea or suggestion that comes in over the transom – they were legally required to shred the  drawing; not even look at it – lest young Harry someday accuse the company of stealing his ideas.

That didn’t sit right with his dad, who wrote about the incident on his blog and, – as this Advertising Age article explains, here’s where the lemonade started getting made.  Someone at Boeing with a new Twitter account got wind of the snafu  and:

In no time, the brand reached out and took responsibility for its mistake. It called young Harry and invited him to visit Boeing’s facilities. On its corporate Twitter site, it wrote things such as, “This is on-the-job social-media training for us” and “We’re expert at airplanes but novices in social media. We’re learning as we go.”

Other companies and organizations jumped in as well.  Alaska Airlines sent Harry a model airplane. And now the Future of Flight Aviation Center – which is co-located with the Boeing Tour in Mukilteo, Wa. – has created a design your own aircraft show in Harry’s honor.

Kids – of all ages – are invited to submit their airplane designs to The Harry Winsor Design Your Own Aircraft Show by June 7th, 2010.  Designs will then be on display at the Future of Flight from June 15, 2010  through July 30, 2010.

Everyone who enters will not only have their artwork put on display; they’ll receive a special badge for their efforts.

Here’s what I’m sending in.

It’s a drawing of the 787 Dreamliner I smuggled out of the factory during a tour organized by Alaska Airlines a few months back.

Got something better?  Then read the guidelines and send your drawing in to the Future of Flight’s Harry Winsor Design Your Own Aircraft Show.

Boeing Factory Tour: Aviation Geekfest report

On Sunday I was pleased to be able to join 46 other folks on an tour of the Boeing factory in Mukilteo, Washington as part of Aviation Geekfest hosted by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and the Future of Flight Aviation Center.

In a testament to the power of social media – or the fact that aviation geeks are quick on the trigger – the free tickets for the event “sold out” in less than a minute.

Part of the attraction: attendees were promised a chance at winning gift cards from Alaska Airlines, a spiffy model of an Alaska Airlines 737-900, and – get this – two tickets on the 1st 787 flight.

No one was allowed to bring cameras or telephones with cameras on the tour. So I can’t show you photos of new 787 Dreamliner airplanes in production.  I did take a notepad along.  But sadly, I can’t draw.

Geekfest sketch

Next time, I’m taking a sketch artist along, but in the meantime, here’s a better drawing of the airplane, courtesy of the CD that tour guide Mike (friendly, smart, informative and no where near as corny as he could have been given his audience) handed each of us at the end of the tour.

ScreenHunter_05 Dec. 07 06.25

And here’s a photo of the 787 Dreamliner plane that should be taking off any moment now. Photo courtesy Aviation Geekfest attendee and Twitter user @imperfectsense.