In July 2016, the world’s largest aerospace company turned 100 years old. The Boeing Company, rooted in Seattle since its inception, is forever intertwined with the area’s rich history. William Boeing, founder, owner, president, and chairman of the board, purchased a shipyard in Seattle along the Duwamish River, which would later become his first airplane factory. After a few years of flirting with his fascination for flight, with the help of stakeholders, Boeing was born in 1916 as its first model ascended.
Since then, the company has grown to be the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space, and security systems. In Washington, Boeing is the state’s largest private employer, providing jobs to over 79,000 people.
To commemorate its distinguished past, noteworthy present, and innovative future, Boeing kicked off a centennial celebration that was jam-packed with events and activities to engage all ages. One of its most creative ideas was the Flypaper project. Boeing asked some of its engineers to create paper planes that are aerodynamic by combining their professional experience with their personal memories from childhood.
In doing so, Boeing’s greater purpose for the project was to encourage children to become the next generation of airplane makers.
The Above and Beyond exhibition was another way to engage youth. A 5,000-square-foot, mobile aerospace exhibition, Above and Beyond has traveled around the world with stints in Japan and England among others.
It features immersive simulations, interactive design challenges, historical touchstones, innovative concepts for the future, and inspiring stories from visionaries tailored for kindergarten through 12th-grade students. Children are tasked with challenges such as designing their own jet or piloting drones. These activities help them explore flight and aerospace design as well as technology.
Online, people of all ages can enjoy “The Age of Aerospace,” a five-part historical documentary series that explores the advancements in aviation technology over the past 100 years. The series touches on everything from the aircraft designs of company founders to today’s innovations.
Another online adventure both frequent flier and avid reader will enjoy is the database housing every issue, article, and ad in Aviation Week. Subscribers can browse through these files and explore just how far aerospace and Boeing have come over the last century.
Boeing’s future looks just as bright as its past accomplishments. The company plans to continue to deepen its roots in the Seattle Southside area through its initiatives and products, not the least of which is its commitment to the community.