So Many Planes, So Little Ground Space

So Many Planes, So Little Ground Space


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So Many Planes, So Little Ground Space

We often hear about how airspace in the world is shrinking, which is the big reason there is a need for so many air traffic controllers. We also know that aircraft factories are constantly building more. This is just a matter of business. But something occurred to me with the recent grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliners…where will Boeing put all the new Dreamliners they manufacturer if this grounding continues too long? Forget airspace, what about ground space? Indeed, where are they putting them now? Certainly, the company has not halted manufacturing on the new 787’s just because of this…they will continue. But if the planes are grounded what will Boeing do with all the new aircraft coming out of the factory?

For instance, Boeing operates two assembly plants. One is located in Everett, Washington (shown in accompanying images) and the other is in Charleston, SC. The company is completing about five new units per month and if the grounding lasts as expected, that means there will be a minimum of 20 grounded Dreamliners which will have to be stored somewhere. Well it wasn’t hard to get my question answered. Thanks to the wonderful technology we call Google Earth, I was able to locate the Washington factory and zoom in.

The Factory as shown from a former Dreamliner view appears plenty able to store as many of the Dreamliners as needed. In fact, the image shows all the 747’s, 737’s, and other wonderful Boeing jets being prepped for delivery worldwide. I must pause here for a moment in case anyone is wondering where this blog is going.

My first flight when I was really too young to know that something heavier than air should not be able in theory to enter airspace, was in a Boeing, 737 I think. I loved flight from then on. I love everything about planes, be they commercial aircraft or crop dusters. I still remember when the Dreamliner rolled off the lines and I was as giddy then as the first time I reboarded a plane for the return trip. I still remember the Concord (yes, I am that old), and the arrival of the Airbus A380 was something to behold. But when the Dreamliner was grounded for battery problems, it was rather…Um…I was sad.

Of course, the 787 will fly again, but it will take time. Boeing has proposed and the FAA has apparently accepted a plan to modify the systems and aircraft so that hopefully, by June, this wonder of engineering can return to airspace, rather than take up ground space.

Front of Boeing Factory Everett WA
Front of the Boeing Factory in Everett Washington.