Conferences, Meetings, and Occasions
The Future of Flight Aviation Center is a significant resource for the community as the site of conferences, meetings, charity functions, weddings, parties, and a long list of other events. This space rental role was an essential element of the initial plans for the facility (which was referred to early on as an aviation museum and conference center), and it has proven to be a popular service.
The Future of Flight Foundation manages all aspects of hosting meetings and events at the Aviation Center, from marketing, sales, and scheduling to set up, catering, clean-up, and other services needed for a successful gathering. Besides benefiting the community as a gathering site, the Foundation’s work in this aspect of the Aviation Center’s operation is an important source of revenue to Snohomish County for repaying the facility’s construction debt and covering operating costs. In addition, the Foundation receives revenue from rental of the Gallery space, which supports its educational programs and exhibits.
The Aviation Center’s eight distinctive spaces can accommodate small executive meetings, gala receptions for 1,000 guests, and everything in between. There are three meeting rooms with all the amenities and comforts to ensure productive business. The Grand Lobby and the Gallery are perfect for large festive events. The Paper Plane Café can host over a 100 guests for dining events, and can be configured for larger functions as well. The Flightline Room looks out on the airfield and the Dreamlifter operations base. The Strato Deck also overlooks Paine Field and presents panoramic views of the North Cascade Mountains. The tree-lined grassy area outside of the Future of Flight’s entrance is a beautiful setting for open-air events. Clients can select food and beverage service for their events from a list of Future of Flight approved caterers.
A few examples illustrate the large variety of events that the Future of Flight Aviation Center has accommodated in its first decade.
On April 19, 2006, barely four months after its opening, the Future of Flight hosted a Seattle Chamber of Commerce luncheon where China’s President Hu Jintao delivered a major policy address to a crowd of business leaders and a global press corps. President Hu’s visit was his first to the United States since becoming The People’s Republic of China’s President in 2003. The 600 attendees included head table dignitaries such as Washington State’s former Governor Gary Locke, then Governor Christine Gregoire, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Starbucks Chairman Howard Shultz, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, and Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Alan Mulally. The security and safety preparations for this state event were a special challenge for the Future of Flight crew, as they had to remove all of the airplanes that were suspended from the Gallery ceiling.
In 2009, the Future of Flight Foundation and Alaska Airlines collaborated to create the first Aviation Geek Fest, a social media extravaganza for aviation enthusiasts that is promoted by airlinereporter.com. What started out as a three-hour Tweet Up and VIP Boeing Factory tour for 50 local airplane buffs has grown to be a two-day, multi-venue affair for 300 participants and is recognized as a must-do event for travel media, bloggers and aficionados from around the world. In addition to the VIP Boeing facility tours (which include the Boeing Everett Plant, Dreamliner Gallery, Everett Delivery Center, Boeing Renton Plant and Customer Experience Center), the Museum of Flight in South Seattle and the several Paine Field aviation attractions have become important partners in Aviation Geek Fest.
On top of touring the Future of Flight and watching air traffic from the Strato Deck, the 2009 “AvGeek” group took the Boeing tour and wrapped up the day back at the Future of Flight with a Garlic Jim’s pizza feed sponsored by Horizon Air, and several raffle drawings. At the October 2010 event attendees saw a demonstration at the Future of Flight of the laser-based wireless electricity technology developed by Laser Motive. Over the years programs have ranged from the history of The Boeing Company presented by Boeing Historian Mike Lombardi to a tour of the Paine Field Fire Department. There have been sessions in the Passenger Experience Research Center and close up looks at a Dreamlifter parked next to the Gallery. In 2015, Aviation Geek Fest participants funded the new Bernoulli table activity in the Future of Flight Aviation Center’s Gallery.
The Future of Flight is a particularly wonderful place for weddings. Where else can the bride and groom literally “fly away” on their honeymoon? In a scene reminiscent of the end of the movie classic Casablanca, this is exactly what a young couple did in May, 2012. After the ceremony and a celebratory dinner in the Gallery, they boarded a vintage 1938 Lockheed 12 on the adjacent ramp and soared off to a unique start of their new life.
In July 2013 Microsoft held its annual signature intern event at the Future of Flight. Over 2,000 interns enjoyed a customized tour through The Boeing Company plant aboard Ride the Ducks vehicles from Seattle and a concert at the Aviation Center by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Deadmau5.
In September 2014 over 350 people attended a farewell party in the Gallery for Dave Waggoner, Paine Field Airport Director and Future of Flight Foundation Board member. During his more than 22-year tenure Mr. Waggoner was a key participant in the creation of the Future of Flight and a significant supporter of its success.
On February 18, 2015, the Future of Flight Aviation Center was again the site of an Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Career Fair & Employer Panel, sponsored by Paine Field, in partnership with several local educational institutions and workforce organizations.