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Boeing Centennial-Inspired Travel

Boeing Airplane

When most people think about traveling, their imagination of flying off to an exciting destination invariably involves getting on an airplane—and quite frequently, that journey begins on a Boeing jet.

Throughout 2016, Boeing is celebrating its centennial and there are some fun ways for aviation buffs to combine travel with an up-close look at this iconic American company.

The Seattle area is the place to begin exploring Boeing’s history. William Edward Boeing incorporated Pacific Aero Products Co. on July 15, 1916, and started building planes in Seattle. The next year, the name was changed to the Boeing Airplane Co.

Start your visit at the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Mukilteo, a half hour north of Seattle. Interactive displays and exhibits explore just how dramatically aircraft has changed and evolved since Boeing first produced seaplanes for the Navy during World War I. You’ll even have a chance to design your own airplane and learn about what’s in store for air travel.

Afterward, you’ll travel by bus to nearby Everett for a 90-minute tour of the Boeing plant. Built in 1967 to produce the 747 jumbo jet, today the plant’s footprint covers an amazing 98 acres. You’ll have opportunities to see the 747, 777, and 787 Dreamliner production lines, as well as learn about Boeing and the planes that bear its name. (Children must be at least 4 feet tall to go on the tour.)

But that’s not the only place in the United States to learn about Boeing.

At the newly renovated Delta Flight Museum, at the carrier’s Atlanta headquarters, visitors can get a look at aircraft dating to the 1920s, and “fly” a Boeing 737 flight simulator. Also on display is the “Spirit of Delta,” the carrier’s first Boeing 767, which flew for more than two decades before being retired in 2006. Next year, a Boeing 747-400, a jumbo jet known as the “Queen of the Skies,” will go on display. The plane revolutionized commercial aviation with its size and capability for long-haul flights.

Of course, the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, in Washington, D.C., has aircraft of all types displayed, including a Boeing 247-D that’s considered the first modern passenger airliner. The plane, nicknamed “Adaptable Annie,” was flown in the 1934 England to Australia International Air Derby.  Boeing planes also feature prominently in one of the museum’s current exhibits, “America By Air,” that looks at the history of commercial aviation.

Boeing’s B-17 Flying Fortress is one of the most famous aircraft ever built. There are numerous places across the United States where military history buffs can combine travel with seeing one of the planes that helped win World War II. At the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, the U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center honors the men and women of the armed forces, as well as those who contributed on the home front by producing planes, ships, and tanks in unprecedented numbers. Also on display at the museum is “My Gal Sal,” a B-17 that made an emergency landing in Greenland in 1942 and remained on ice for more than 50 years before it was recovered and restored.

For help planning a trip inspired by the Boeing centennial, contact us at 719-597-0004.

© Travel Leaders Group