Boeing Frontiers
October 2003
Volume 02, Issue 06
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Letters to the Editor
“I know a lot of people complain about the time
and effort to put on [proper protective equipment],
but a safe employee is one who goes home to his
or her family in one piece every night.”

—Antonio Rivera, Canoga Park, Calif.

Safety first, Frontiers!

August FrontiersI am writing to comment on several of the photos featured in the September 2003 issue. There seem to be glaring procedure violations in these photos, and I’m concerned that Boeing is “posing” to make the pictures look “better” and not focusing on safe processes and practices.

The photograph of the student on Page 17 using the drill shows his tie very close to this operation, which is clearly an unsafe operation. The photographs that illustrated the article on the SPACEHAB team (Pages 28 and 29) show technicians touching flight hardware without gloves, leaning over a work area without tethers or restraints, and handling hardware (maybe a camera?) without tethers. Finally, the photograph on Page 38 shows a Boeing employee pouring liquid nitrogen without protective gloves or face shield.

Please take care to ensure that the photographs included in your magazine include proper safe practices and processes. We at Boeing should all take pride in making safety first!

— Vernie Erwin, Huntsville, Ala.

I just got the September edition of this great magazine. As I was flipping through the pages I came upon the eerie sight on Page 38 of a Boeing employee pouring liquid nitrogen. There is nothing wrong with pouring LN2, except this individual was not wearing proper protective equipment. This photograph is quite disturbing when you realize the absence of cryo-genic gloves and apron, chemical goggles and a face shield. I cannot discern from the picture, but I would bet a lunch this person was not wearing proper shoes either.

I know a lot of people complain about the time and effort to put on [proper protective equipment], but a safe employee is one who goes home to his or her family in one piece every night.

— Antonio Rivera, Canoga Park, Calif.

Editor’s note: Several other Boeing people expressed these safety-related issues. Boeing Frontiers apologizes for this oversight and pledges to present Boeing people adhering to proper safety procedures.

Kudos for science camp

I was excited to see that the Summer Science Camp is getting recognition for the great things it’s been doing (September 2003, Page 30).

I became a volunteer camp helper three years ago when I enrolled my children in the camp. In my opinion, this camp is the best example of getting the seeds of science and math planted into kids’ minds that I have ever seen. [Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Education Relations Specialist] Marie Mungaray and her team of volunteers have done an exemplary job of finding the location, materials, people and money to put on a great camp for the kids. Thank you for letting me contribute the little that I do.

— Kevin Davidson, Long Beach, Calif.

‘Nonsense’ branding

Marketing hype appears to have reached new heights in Boeing Commercial Airplanes. In particular, I object to the recent 7E7 “name the airplane” contest. The four choices offered were unimpressive, at best. Worse, the whole effort, and similar “branding” efforts undertaken recently by the marketing organization, just end up making BCA look totally ridiculous.

The marketing and “branding” people apparently disagree, but our airplanes are not consumer products that will be individually purchased by millions of people based upon attributes such as style or color, or because they were featured in snappy advertising on television or in the pages of fashion magazines. Commercial jets are, essentially, capital equipment items for the air transportation industry. Our airline customers are not going to spend their money on capital equipment unless doing so will create a positive economic return. Other things being equal, our products, and those of our competitors, will be purchased based on criteria such as performance, reliability, economics, financing, resale value, and the customer support that we provide.

Ten years from now, I would like someone from marketing to report exactly how many extra 7E7 airplanes were sold because of all of this “branding” nonsense. I call on 7E7 and BCA upper management to restore some sanity to the marketing organization before things get further out of hand.

— Chris Beck, Everett, Wash.

Thanks, Global Staffing

I want to briefly express my appreciation for the courteous, professional, and even the “automatically generated” responses I received after submitting for one of the positions posted by Boeing Global Staffing. It is such a pleasant surprise to have a company immediately acknowledge your application, provide a means to track the process, and know that a month or so from now Boeing will send me a message telling me of the decision, even if I am not selected for at least an interview.

In this tough job market, it’s impressive to find a company like Boeing. You really stand out in contrast to others, and I just wanted to let you know.

— Jerry Partridge, Arlington, Texas

Think big, Boeing

A recent Fortune article by author Jim Collings was titled “The 10 Greatest CEOs of All Time.” It is a wonderful article that details the qualities of major companies’ CEOs that made them great. Among the CEOs included in the article is former Boeing CEO Bill Allen.

In a reference to Allen, Collings writes, “a [Boeing] director said that if the 747 was too big for the market to swallow, Boeing could back out. ‘Back out?’ stiffened Allen. ‘If the Boeing Aircraft Co. says we will build this airplane, we will build it even if it takes the resources of the entire company.’ Like today’s CEOs, he endured the swarming gnats who think small: short time frames, pennies per share, a narrow purpose. Allen thought bigger—and left a legacy to match.”

What a departure this is from the modern way of thinking. In an era where the last two new aircraft programs have been canceled and the world has doubts about Boeing’s intent to actually produce the 7E7, we should be focusing on what made Boeing great in the first place—the hard work of employees and the risk takers like Bill Allen who thought bigger—and left a legacy to match.

— Greg Greaves, Huntsville, Ala.

Don’t forget the 717

717I noticed that you printed an article about competitors Embraer ERJ 190 and Bombardier CRJ 900 (Industry Wrap, July 2003, Page 44). The whole article was about smaller aircraft, but there was not one mention of the 717, the beautiful plane built in Long Beach, Calif. That little plane that McDonnell Douglas gave birth to shouldn’t be forgotten and sent to oblivion. A little more press and push from Boeing and I think you could sell more of them to the customers buying these other planes by the bunches.

— Burke Burkett, Anaheim, Calif.





Engineering marvels

In May, I took a flight to China. I had never been beyond our country’s borders. I got there safely and I returned safely. Thank you for engineering and building the world’s most beautiful and safest airliners. At 41 years old, I still marvel at every evenly spaced rivet, bolt, and panel. You all are building engineering marvels. And just like when I was a kid, I still get the same big-eyed excitement!

Every day your planes fly over my head en route to their destinations all over this blue marble called Earth. You haul my family, friends, heroes, future scientists, world leaders—all precious cargo.

— Sam Reed, Skokie, Ill.

Missing in flight

It is a shame that the restored Boeing Stratoliner will now be forever grounded (September 2003, Page 22). Airplanes are built to fly, and it is sad to think the beautiful Clipper Flying Cloud will never again grace the skies.

— Susan Brown, Auburn, Wash.

F100 vs. F4D

On Page 8 of your August 2003 issue, your words could be interpreted as indicating that the speed record set by the Douglas F4D Skyray was broken by the F100 in less than a month. Au contraire. The F4D record was set at low altitude (100 meters), as was true for all previous speed records, and was unbroken for something like 10 years. North American was successful in convincing the record overseers that instrumentation had developed to the point where accurate tracking could be done at high altitude. The F100 couldn’t compete with the F4D at low altitude.

Incidentally, the F4D set a record of 2 minutes to 10,000 meters from a standing start. It probably also set a record for the smallest part failure to cause a crash—the splitting of a 3/16-inch-diameter ball in a ball bearing.

— R.H. Gassner, Fullerton, Calif.

Letters guidelines

Boeing Frontiers provides the letters page for readers to state their opinions. The page is intended to encourage an exchange of ideas and information that stimulates dialogue on issues or events in the company or the aerospace industry. The opinions may not necessarily reflect those of The Boeing Company. Letters must include name, organization and a telephone number for verification purposes. Frontiers may edit letters for grammar, syntax and size.

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