Boeing

If It Flies Like a Duck...

By Peter Huijbers

December 2016

In the mid '90s I was based in Seattle for BMW Rolls-Royce to market the BR700 engines to Boeing -- not just for the B717 but also for a collaborative program called New Small Airplane.

Located in the "flash cubes" in Renton, a design team from Boeing, China, Japan and Korea worked on this, and as we were discussing power plant installation with the Chinese team, the debate was on using a long or short duct (nacelle).

In a long session we noticed that the looks turned more and more confused as we progressed through our explanation. Finally we asked why there was confusion -- and it turned out they thought we had been talking about ducks.

As the team returned home after a few months, as part of the farewell celebration, we gave the team leader a framed aircraft cartoon with two ducks, each with a long neck, installed under the wings.

We remained friends, and as I met the team leader a few years later in China, she was still very proud on the aircraft cartoon that had a prominent place in her office -- she had told the story many times to her friends and visitors.