Boeing 777 time-lapse construction video

This is a remarkable look at what goes in to making a Boeing 777. In four minutes.

Much of the 777 is outsourced as entire sections, such as the vertical stabilizer, so a lot of what you see are the parts coming in off the docks and being maneuvered into Boeing’s massive hangar for final construction. Especially impressive is the painting facility, shown near the end of the video. A fully painted 777 has 475 pounds of paint on it. (Which is why American Airlines doesn’t paint their planes, as that’s a lot of weight to be flying around over the life of an aircraft for no reason other than looks.)

10 thoughts on “Boeing 777 time-lapse construction video

  1. Ken

    That is indeed a lot of paint. It looks like they use more than they need, too; they should talk to their friends in the auto business, who have mastered the art of using the absolute minimum possible thickness of paint while still getting the car the correct color. There, their cost savings is just from needing less paint, though.

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  2. Jonathan Post author

    You know, I was thinking there’s no way Boeing hasn’t modeled this to the nth degree, and has this all figured out. But maybe they don’t. They don’t save any money on fuel if they use less paint, the airline does, so maybe they haven’t had the motivation to really work on it. A friend of mine in operations research at the business school was telling me that it’s shocking how many opportunities there are for optimizing things in business. So maybe Boeing is using too much paint and somebody could make a ton of money transferring what Maaco knows to painting airplanes.

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  3. Alain DeWitt

    Your comment about the weight that paint adds reminds me of an F-15 “Streak Eagle” I saw on static display at the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. It was plain silver as it was used to set climb records. According to the information about the display, the omission of paint saved about 300 lbs. (if I recall correctly).

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  4. Susan DeLong

    I would like to know where I can get a copy of the Boeing-777 time lapse construction video. We had a large part in designing portions of the 777 and I would like to include the video in our Orientation process.

    Thank you,
    Susan

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  5. Jonathan Post author

    Except for the YouTube version I’ve found and posted, I’m not sure where to get an actual copy. I think this was just something that Boeing made at some point and didn’t publicly distribute. So, you might want to just contact them about getting a copy. I assume they wouldn’t mind the publicity.

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  6. Christian Anderson

    haii..jonathan i’m Christian from Indonesia.
    do you know indonesia aircraft.
    all indonesia flight carrier there is no use boeing 777,they use boeing 747,737-400,737-200adv,A320,A330,A319
    did you know when Garuda Indonesia Boeig 777-300er will be finished construction,,
    hahaha..
    by the way nice to meet you.
    hahah,,
    thanks

    Reply
  7. K. Price

    During WW-2, my Mother worked at the Boeing plant in Seattle, and after a while, they stopped painting the G-models to save weight so they could carry more bombs! I don’t know what the weight savings was, but maybe it amounted to one more bomb?

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  8. Jonathan Post author

    I forgot to add this comment, but I did look into the paint question and found that Boeing actually studied this. If memory serves, removing the paint results in fuel savings on the order of a hundred thousand dollars. However, then the airplane has to be polished regularly, or it will start to look bad. They found that the cost of polishing pretty much offset the fuel savings.

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