How do the Boeing aircraft taxi to Paine Field (KPAE) from the Everett Factory? It looks like a 'road' connecting the airport and the factory. Do they use this?

Boeing Everett Factory from Wikipedia

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    $\begingroup$ You mean the bridge over the 526? $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Sep 8 '15 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see any other way they could get across. $\endgroup$ – Jamiec Sep 8 '15 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ I don't really get why you asked this? Are taxiway bridges not common? I always thought so, but maybe just because my home airport has one? $\endgroup$ – Reinstate Monica - dirkk Sep 9 '15 at 13:14

That "road" is in fact a taxilane, and marked as such on the Paine Field side (note the yellow lead lines marked at the bottom of the image below, you would find on a taxiway). It connects the Boeing plant to Paine Field's "Boeing Ramp" where final prep can be completed before the aircraft are flown off to wherever they're going.

Boeing bridge lead-lines

The terminology is important here: The bridge acts as a taxilane (a non-movement area not under the control of ATC which connects various aircraft parking areas to the taxiways). Boeing coordinates their own movements between the main plant (north) and Paine Field's Boeing Ramp (south). (The bridge is also not depicted on the airport diagram and may not even have "taxilane" status - as far as ATC is concerned. It's just sort of "there".)

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    $\begingroup$ I fly out of KPAE. I can confirm that "the Boeing ramp" is nonmovement; they have their own controller and Paine Tower (well, Paine Ground) couldn't care less. $\endgroup$ – egid Sep 8 '15 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ Hell's bells! That is NARROW! On a 787 the engines are fully outside the bridge edges eh? $\endgroup$ – Fattie Oct 15 '19 at 17:44

The aircraft are moved from the factory to the airfield and paint shops on the airfield side over the bridge.

The photo shows a 787 Dreamliner being moved across the bridge.

Boeing 787

Source: airlinereporter.com

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks guys, this Bridge over the 526 from the main factory to the Boeing Ramp seemed the only way across. By declaring it as a 'taxilane', and I presume they always use a tug for movements, and Ground movements people for Paine not interested until a/c wants to use official taxiways, works very well. $\endgroup$ – Geoff Sep 9 '15 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ That's the photo I was looking for but couldn't find! (Google kept giving me photos of the unfinished fuselages crossing the North Bridge.) $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Sep 9 '15 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Geoff As far as I'm aware Boeing always uses a tug to move aircraft over the bridge to KPAE, though that's not because it's a taxilane (nor would it have to be the case if it's just an undesignated bit of "through-the-fence" access) - they could certainly move the planes under their own power if the engines are mounted, but that would likely cost more (fuel burn) than using the tug. $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Sep 9 '15 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ Is it safe to move a jet under it's own power over a narrow (compared to the aircraft) bridge like that? I would be worried about what impact jet blast from the engines could have. $\endgroup$ – Peter Green Jun 2 '16 at 1:03

I retired from Boeing and worked at the Everett plant for the majority of my career. We always moved the aircraft from the factory apron across the bridge to the paint hangars with a tug.

The aircraft are not fueled until ready for engine and other ground pre-flight tests. The engines are never fired up unless there are intake cages and blast fences in place. There are also FOD sweeps made to insure no foreign material gets pulled into the engine intakes. Furthermore, the “jet blast” would be destructive to property and the personal vehicles parked on the factory apron. In addition, it would require a certified individual to “drive” the aircraft under power.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you elaborate more, maybe with a diagram, so we know exactly where the said taxi way is located. $\endgroup$ – vasin1987 Dec 30 '17 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ Fantastic answer, thanks for the real world info ! $\endgroup$ – Fattie Oct 15 '19 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ @vasin1987 , it's hard to see how much more clear this answer could be?? $\endgroup$ – Fattie Oct 15 '19 at 17:43

The bridge is the connecting taxiway from the main factory to the paint and finish facilities (the three large hangars on the right side of the photo), flight test and the customer delivery centers. ‘Green’ airplanes are moved directly from final assembly to this area via the bridge. This usually takes place in the early hours of the morning to reduce auto accidents caused by distracted motorists on the highway below. It is quite a sight; a 747-400 crossing that bridge looks something akin to an elephant trying to walk a tightrope.


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