It’s A Plane On A Train

It’s A Plane On A Train
It's A Plane On A Train

     While hundreds of Boeing 737’s are being inspected today around the world for possible cracks, 3 fuselages cruised through downtown Spokane this morning.

     The 737 fuselages on special train cars are a somewhat common sight for people in Spokane. The plane bodies are being transferred from Wichita, Kansas to Renton, Washington for final assembly.

     Before loading and transporting, the fuselages are sprayed with a green protective coating to prevent the aluminum skins from corroding during the trip. All the openings, such at windows, doors and access panels are sealed with a special yellow tape to prevent moisture from seeping into sensitive components of the future jet that could lead to corrosion. The larger openings are sealed with specially designed inserts to prevent contamination from moisture.

     According to The Boeing 737 Technical Site, Once the fuselage reaches Renton it is fitted with wiring looms, pneumatic and air-conditioning ducting and insulation before being lifted onto the moving assembly line. The tail is lifted into place by an overhead crane and attached. Floor panels and galleys are then installed and functional testing begins. In a test called the “high blow”, the aircraft is pressurized to create a cabin differential pressure equivalent to an altitude of 93,000 feet. This ensures that there are no air leaks and that the structure is sound. In another test, the aircraft is jacked up so that the landing gear retraction & extension systems can be tested. As the aircraft moves closer to the end of the line, the cabin interior is completed – seats, lavatories, luggage bins, ceiling panels, carpets etc. The final stage is to mount the engines. There are approximately 367,000 parts on a 737. The present build time is 11 days.

     The train takes the Stevens Pass route which will take the fuselages through the 7.8 mile Cascade Tunnel.