Boeing

My 37 Years at Boeing

By Lawrence Malcom

August 2015

I am very thankful for my years at Boeing ...

In 1960, working on the Dyna-Soar program, I used my slide rule and other tools in analysis related to the Dyna-Soar space vehicle. In 1964, I was asked to develop the handling quality criterion, which subsequently was incorporated into the pitch augmentation systems on many of the jet fighters flying today, with a modified version incorporated into the Boeing 777 airplanes.

Starting in 1975, I was responsible for developing a catalog of subroutines to use in the software embedded in the upcoming digital flight control computers. One colleague helped develop algorithms; another wrote the assembly language programs for all of the subroutines in the catalog. These results were incorporated into the computers installed in the 737 owned by NASA in 1976. The program was completed on schedule and under budget.

In 1977, I was responsible for developing a software development guideline for flight control systems. This helped inspire the effort for an industry standard, ultimately resulting in the document used by the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators.

In 1979, I was assigned to the 767 program, responsible for the autopilot and auto-throttle software development. In 1980, I was redirected to the 737 program, where I corrected problems with the software on some production airplanes. I eventually became the first FAA software designated engineering representative. The FAA established software as a distinct discipline in 1982. I was appointed as the embedded software focal point for Flight Control Technology. This assignment expired when the Software Engineering department was established.

In 1988, I coordinated the certification activity for avionics and flight systems on 737 and 757 airplanes. A colleague assumed a similar role for 747 and 767 airplanes. One certification effort I never imagined I would be involved with was the 737 Russian certification. This effort took my teammates and I to Moscow to establish the certification requirements for two 737 airplanes an airline was acquiring in 1992. The 737-700 certification program with a joint FAA and European Joint Aviation Authority certification was the last program I was on. I retired just before this program ended.