Made in America: Boeing 737

Get an exclusive inside look at the production of the Boeing 737.

A Boeing 737 fuselage rolls into Renton, Wash., on Monday, April 5, 2010. The fuselages are manufactured by Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas. Jim Seida /
737s move along the rolling production line. The rudder is the only part of the airplane that is painted before the plane makes its first test-flight as the balance of the rudder is critical to proper flight, and even the weight of a paint job is enough to put it out of balance. Jim Seida /
Brightly-colored tennis balls protect employees from sharp objects attached to the fuselage frame. Jim Seida /
Using a flashlight and a small mirror, a worker closely inspects the the fuselage of the aircraft before insulation and wiring is installed. Boeing employees inspect the fuselage this way three times. Jim Seida /
An employee installs some of the 36 miles of wires into a 737. A 737 contains 367,000 parts. Jim Seida /
A 737 cockpit sits empty, awaiting seats and instruments. Jim Seida /
Equipment sits outside a 737 in production. The green color is a protective coating that keeps the aluminum from oxidizing. It is washed off with pressure washers before the aircraft is painted. Jim Seida /
Ready to be installed, bathrooms sit on the factory floor. Jim Seida /
Hundreds of seats sit in front of the assembly line of aircraft that crawl along behind them at the rate of two inches per minute on their rolling production line. The production time of a 737 was cut in half in part by Boeing switching from building the planes in stationary positions to the assembly line in 2000. Jim Seida /
In the engine shop the exhaust ducts are installed and the engines go through final inspection before being hung beneath the aircraft's wings. Jim Seida /
Machinists prepare an engine for installation. The engines make up one-third of the cost of the 60 million dollar aircraft. Jim Seida /
Only 11 days after entering the other end of the factory as a bare fuselage, a finished 737 is readied to head to the flight line. Boeing produces 737s at the rate of 1.5 planes each workday. John Brecher /
Before being painted, a brand-new 737 goes on a test-flight just outside the Renton 737 plant. There are so many 737s in service that, according to Boeing, one is taking off or landing every 2.2 seconds. Jim Seida /