Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Renton Municipal Airport, Aviation History, and Implications for Transportation Infrastructure

Hi Colleagues,

City infrastructure depends on the innovation, people-power, and purposeful transportation.  Enjoy this pixel-roll of Renton Municipal Airport, voted in 2010 by the Centennial of Women Pilots as the Most Female Friendly Airport in the United States, followed by narrative on the airport's history, Boeing, and transportation infrastructure in Renton:

Entrance (above)

Directions (above)
Even the parking stall looks pretty (above)

Rainier Ave. entrance/exit (above)

Runway and production (above)

Another fine Boeing product takes off
as seen from the West Hill (above)
Seaplane descends for a landing (above)
Air Transportation History & Background

For the record, Renton is actually Jet City, and not Seattle.  Air transportation and flight enjoy a history in Renton that began in part when Renton and The Boeing Co. filled in the swampy land at the south shore of Lake Washington during World War II to produce defense aircraft (Renton: The First 100 Years).  This effort used more than 450,000 yards of fill to level the wetlands, quadrupled the population almost overnight, and produced over 1,000 long-range bombers 

The City bought the airport for $1 from the Department of Defense after World War II ended.  Boeing produced its first passenger aircraft, the 707, which ushered in the jet age, and other military aircraft, such as the first KC-135 tanker (named The City of Renton), and progressed through the decades with 737, 747, 757, and thankfully continues to grow with the recent tanker contract.  Looks as Boeing will continue contributing to Renton's economy with its fabulous 737!  Update:  Boeing may choose Renton for the 737 re-engine (C'mon, Boeing, we love you! Choose Renton; We're Jet City after all.  Besides, you know you want to!).

I've family bonds The Boeing Co., where my dad completed 35 successful years, my maternal grandpa rivoted planes in the Boeing Red Barn, and my uncle taxied out the first 777.  During WWII, Grandpa flew as a flight engineer on B-26 Marauders.  After the War, Grandpa flew his two-seater Piper Cub, which he tied down at the airport just a few blocks from his house.  Once my uncle walked to the airport, crossed the busy Rainier Ave., with his dog and visited pilots for an afternoon.  He was four.  When he grew up, he worked for Boeing, too. 

Grandpa's Piper Cub on deck & in-flight (above 3) 
I contracted with Boeing as a technical writer with their engineering group.  Growing up, when teachers asked whose parents worked at Boeing, half the class raised their hands.  I fly in Boeing planes when I fly at all; sorry Airbus, I'm a Boeing girl.  I don't worry about noise at the airport, either, as some residents (many on Mercer Island, not Renton).  An Airbus, now that was noisy.  Lots of rattles.  The plane dropped a pocket with the landing gear ga-grhh!  Boeing product? Smooth as butter. When the plane in the above photo took off, I felt amazed at how quiet the sound only confirming in my mind that if and when I fly, it will be in a Boeing product if I can help it!  I'm thankful for Boeing's commitment to Renton and positive influence on my family.

When researching cities online, I looked for ones with an airport.  Municipal airports are special.  Better to have access to a nearby aviation hub and to produce quality product with global scale, which helps the GDP and creates local jobs.  Healthy cities grow via building infrastructure around innovation that solves problems and serves a social purpose in a socially just and healthy way. To that end, learn about Renton Municipal Airport's award from Centennial of Women Pilots, and read about how energy links to transportation infrastructure, participatory leadership, and environmental sustainability.

Aviation Summary

You may find it ironic that flying both scares and inspires me.  So we take courage.  Efforts to envision and build and sustain responsible and helpful energy and transportation infrastructure remain yet another reason why I Love Renton and Renton is a great place to live, work, and play.  Come experience why Renton is Ahead of the Curve in energy and transportation!



"History lives here:" Renton centennial marker walking tour. (2001). Childers & Brewer: Renton, WA.

Renton: The first 100 years 1901-2001. (2001). Produced by The Boeing Company, Renton Reporter, and City of Renton: Renton, WA.

Public Safety Disclaimer

Concerns for public safety move me to include this disclaimer:  Accessing this post means that you agree to use this information to appreciate Renton's aviation history, infrastructure, product, and persons and not to harm or misuse its infrastructure, product, or persons.  Don't mess with our airplanes, and don't misuse my posts for malice or harm!  Contact the Federal Aviation Administration for safety issues or concerns.

Grandpa photographs plane retrieval
from Cedar River (above 3; date unknown)