Front Page
Boeing Frontiers
December 2003/January 2004
Volume 02, Issue 08
Boeing Frontiers
Special Features

Defining the future

Sandra McKee, Jeff Erickson and Tony MajorosSuper hypersonic aircraft that fly on the edge of space. Vertical-takeoff-and-landing "air taxis." Personal air vehicles guided by a sophisticated air traffic management system. Autonomous systems that could repair the environment.

Those are just some of the products presently beyond our reach that could emerge during the next 100 years. Enabling technologies, currently being studied at Boeing, will help the global commercial air transportation system become more capable, as well as more efficient and safe.

Research-and-development teams in Boeing Phantom Works have been considering the long-term possibilities—in light of the broad range of evolving geopolitical and environmental factors that have shaped the aerospace industry recently and over the past 100 years. They have also been looking at the horizon of rapid technology evolution and anticipating the needs of future customers.


White-space: Phantom Works' next frontier

As a catalyst of innovation for the enterprise, Boeing Phantom Works collaborates with the business units to determine what systems and technologies they need to meet their near- and long-term objectives. It then addresses those needs through its advanced systems and technology organizations.

"But to open new frontiers, we also need to look beyond the needs of the current business units for potential white-space opportunities," said Phantom Works President Bob Krieger.

"White-space" opportunities, Krieger said, represent potential product lines or services not listed in the long-range business plans of our business units but which have potential for producing significant revenues and profits. At one time, for instance, Connexion by Boeing and Air Traffic Management were white-space opportunities for Boeing.


2003 sets tomorrow's course

Bob KriegerFor Phantom Works, the advanced research-and-development arm of Boeing, 2003 will be known as a year that helped set the course for the future of aerospace, said the unit's head.

"By providing exciting new systems solutions and breakthrough technologies, Phantom Works is adding real value to the enterprise and helping to define the future of aerospace," said Phantom Works President Bob Krieger.

Krieger cited solid results to prove the point.


hypersonic beginning

hypersonic X-43CWhat is the future of hypersonic flight and how do we get there?

Who better to try to answer that than some of the keenest minds at Boeing: members of the Boeing Technical Fellowship.

Demonstrating that it can effectively channel its expertise to help meet some of the most difficult challenges facing the aerospace industry, the Fellowship has formed Technical Fellowship Advisory Boards to zero in on specific issues or to study new technologies with significant potential. Findings could help guide Boeing and customer technology strategies and investments.


Saving endangered knowledge

videotaping sessionMore than half of the Boeing work force will be eligible for retirement within the next decade. That's roughly 80,000 employees' cumulative corporate wisdom walking out the door.

That reality raises a question: How can Boeing retain and reuse this treasure trove of knowledge? So far, beyond specialized and regional efforts to preserve data and intellectual property, there has been no enterprisewide initiative to formally capture practical engineering knowledge gained from experience. But the Engineering Knowledge Management team within Integrated Defense Systems is working on the answer. It is creating processes and employing tools to retain intellectual assets and ensure their transfer from a departing generation of employees to an existing and incoming work force.


The C-17 Integrated Fleet Management/AWODS Team

The C-17 Integrated Fleet Management/AWODS TeamHow can we make our aircraft more reliable and more affordable? One way is to detect system faults in aircraft in flight that could otherwise lead to expensive, time-consuming diagnosis and repeat flight-testing.

Our team designed the solution for the C-17 called the Advanced Wireless Open Data System/Ground Based Reasoner. The AWODS device records and analyzes the avionics systems that route messages throughout the aircraft. The GBR is a software application that uses algorithms for fault isolation and diagnostics. The combined system tells an engineer's computer if an aircraft system is faulting and sometimes allows the engineer to be ready with a solution even before the aircraft lands.



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