Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kan. manufactures both composite and aluminum fuselage sections for Boeing jets. Today, CNET Road Trip takes a look at the metal side of the shop.
WICHITA, Kan. -- When most people think of Boeing commercial jet production, they likely think of Seattle, and the aviation giant's major facilities there.
But if you want to know where the Boeing 737 -- the world's best-selling jet -- is really born, you have to come to Wichita.
That's where Spirit Aerosystems, formerly a Boeing division, now a standalone company, manufactures 737 fuselages, as well as major components for every other Boeing commercial plane, including the composite 787 Dreamliner, and the aluminum 747, 757, 767, and 777.
Last month, a train carrying 737 fuselages to Boeing in the Seattle area derailed in Montana, causing three of the fuselages to end up in a river. But normally, the trains make it to Washington safely, looking just like this.
Spirit employs a system of "master and slave" robots, in which one on the inside, like the one seen here, works in tandem with another one on the outside, each tracking the other as they drill holes and add small components.
The interior of a 737 fuselage, at the Integration position. Once Spirit's work on the fuselage is complete, it's shipped by train to Boeing in Washington state, where the rest of the airplane is put together in the aviation giant's final assembly facility.