|Letters to the Editor|
Thanks for another fine edition of Frontiers, especially the article by Kim Krull on The Boeing Company's and Boeing employees' commitment to supporting our communities ("Much more than dollars," September 2002).
I especially appreciate the many references to the Employees Community Fund. Hopefully this will increase the awareness of ECF and encourage more employees to do their part by supporting their communities through ECF. It would be great if you could do a follow-up article next April, just prior to the annual ECF campaign.
Pete Schnebele, Renton, Wash
As a member of the Education Relations group at the Integrated Defense Systems business unit in Seal Beach, Calif., I was shocked not to see a mention of either of our major programs in the September issue of Frontiers on employee volunteerism. We host an Educator Enrichment Day and a Summer Science Camp each year and serve the needs of people from over 70 of the local cities here. Just this past July our 11th annual Camp hosted 420 kids in 15 different hands-on math and science workshops taught by Boeing engineers from Boeing's Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Seal Beach and Long Beach, Calif., facilities.
Our Educator Enrichment Day, which will be making its 11th installment this coming March 1, hosts over 400 teachers every year. There, engineers and other volunteers hold a day of workshops that expose teachers to math and science concepts and lessons in a fun, hands-on setting.
I hope Frontiers casts a wider net next time it does a story on company volunteerism.
Daniel Schwabe, Seal Beach, Calif.
One large group of volunteers at Boeing was not mentioned in "My View" by Phil Condit in September. I hope the oversight was not intentional.
These are the people who volunteer their time to work union activities and union-related charities. They help Boeing, the unions they belong to and the communities they are in as well.
I agree with Phil that Boeing as a family does amazing things through the Employee Community Fund. I hope every person at Boeing is an ECF member or gives through some other charity. I was proud to read through the multi-page ad in the Seattle papers of those Boeing workers who gave so much extra through ECF.
Thanks to everyone who gives of themselves for those so much less fortunate!
Joel Funfar, Seattle, Wash.
I believe the workforce of the future will value teamwork and communication over paperwork. We can no longer afford to rely on paperwork to think for us.
To survive in this new business climate, Boeing will need a workforce that puts a focus on team-level decisions and local control of operations. Paperwork and electronic systems will still remain as tools, but they will evolve into more simplistic backbones of operations. These "Lean" ways of doing business will require a renewed focus on personal accountability, integrity, and communication skills.
Glenn Johnson Canoga Park, Calif.
The workforce of the future will rely on the collective strategies of an organization to provide a natural balance between the duties of individuals as customer advocates and knowledge generators with the freedom to pursue personal ambitions as they work within a dynamic, activity-enriched environment inside and outside the organization.
To sustain operations within the organization, leaders will have to become systems thinkers who analyze relationships and interdependencies to improve this flow of new knowledge. Their primary objective is to create an organizational environment capable of adapting to any situation with a renewed commitment. The interaction of knowledgeable workers (not databases) is the key to customer orientation and knowledge generation.
Dale HardingAltus Air Force Base, Okla.
Your Pelican is a very interesting machine ("The Pelican," September 2002), but I wonder about some points.
Turns would need to be executed with great care at the intended cruise altitude and would therefore have the same limitations as many former Soviet, and now failed, platforms.
I always had this idea that you could utilize props, with a degree of thrust vectoring ability, placed at each wingtip of a rather narrow aspect ratio hull/wing, rotating counter to the wingtip vortices (similar to Vought's machines from the 1940s). Couple the props to a traverse shaft with 90-degree gearboxes, and incorporate two input shafts and engines. [This would allow you to set both] engines at full power for takeoff and landing or flight in free space, [with the option to] decouple one engine and shut it down while cruising in-ground effect at 40 percent power on the remaining engine. This eliminates the problem of synchronizing an efficient engine (revolutions per minute) with an efficient prop speed and offers some redundancy in engines should one fail.
Rob Scott, Australia
I enjoyed the article describing Boeing's design studies for the proposed Pelican aircraft. I was surprised by several details, however, as I spent some time in past years doing studies on fast sealift concepts for various U.S. Navy contractors.
The first point, one I'm sure that the principals are well aware of, is that the wing-in-ground-effect (WIGE) concept has been around for a long time. Indeed, the Russians in the former Soviet Union made great progress under the leadership of R.E. Alexeev, culminating in the construction of a vessel with a 400-metric-ton takeoff weight. These design ideas have been kicking around the U.S. since at least the mid-1960s, but there's been no significant progress in actually constructing a useful large-scale system under an American flag. In the past, the general conclusion we kept returning to was that a true fast sealift capability or a pre-positioned force was the better way to go. Subsequent Russian activity on their "Ekranoplane" programs seems to validate that American choice.
The second point concerns the comment that the Pelican will fly as high as 20,000 feet above land. My understanding of WIGE is that a design optimized for such a regime is inherently inefficient in free flight. If Boeing has resolved this paradox, so much the better, but I'd hope to build a 737-size bird first before we build another "Spruce Goose."
Christopher W. Fay, Everett, Wash.
Is it me or just coincidence that the Pelican looks eerily similar to Howard Hughes' "Spruce Goose?" Even your name for the new airplane has similarities. Hmmmmm...
Bruce A. Healy, Auburn, Wash.
As much as has been said and written about the debate over the number of engines on an airplane ("Two engines & four engines," September 2002), I think it's more than just the power beneath the wings. It is the airplane that is doing the flying.
I have been a frequent flyer on regional routes and long haul, where the more common planes are the Boeing 777 and 767 and the Airbus A330 and A340. It must be said: We passengers much prefer riding on the Boeing twin-jet airplanes to the Airbus counterparts.
Why? The first reason is cabin space. The 777 offers a cabin so roomy and comfortable I think it rivals even the 747. So when I fly on these planes I have a more relaxed feeling during the flight. On Asian flights I adore Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific for offering the 777s. On some of my travels to Taiwan I get to fly on a 767 flown by Japan Asia Airways. It's not bad at all, especially in its class. Seating dimensions are okay, and I find the luggage bins a welcome feature.
I actually wrote Cathay Pacific to add more 777s to their plane roster. I urged them to get more 777s to use on more of their routes so they can give passengers a reliable but comfortable flying platform.
In my travels, I constantly rate Boeing jets with the highest marks. Keep it up, Boeing. To the airlines: go get more Boeing airplanes.
Jose Leido, Manila, Philippines
The article in September's Frontiers showed some of the benefits of two-engine airplanes.
It missed, however, what I feel is the most important safety benefit to passengers: Because airplanes are required [to be able] to take off with one engine inoperative, a two-engine airplane has a thrust margin of 100 percent on most takeoffs. A four-engine airplane has a thrust margin of 33 percent. The greater thrust margin allows the pilot to recover from more problems with a two-engine airplane.
Also, most problems occur near the ground, at takeoff or landing. And most flights do not experience an engine becoming inoperative. Therefore, two-engine airplanes are safer.
James A. Martin, Huntington Beach, Calif.
I recently had the pleasure of donating some older computers to my son's school. Although we considered the Pentium 166 computers a bit behind the times, I could not tell you how delighted the teachers were to get these computers. My son's 5th-grade teacher, along with two other teachers, received these computers to use in the classrooms. The computers were still in great working condition and will help further our children's education. They were greatly needed and appreciated.
There is such a need for computer equipment in our county schools that they are receptive to just about anything. I only wish we, as a company, could do more, because these children are our future leaders.
Pam Peden, Meridian, Miss.
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