August 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 4 
Letters to the Editor

Bill and me

July Frontiers coverMike Lombardi’s article “Jet Power” (July 2004, Page 38) reminds me of my days with former Boeing President Bill Allen.

Allen came along at the right time for Boeing. Boeing was rebounding from its denial of a mail contract, Bill Boeing had left, and the daunting task facing Bill Allen was no less than the resurrection of a dream.

I was raised in Missoula, Mont., and had often heard my father talk about his boyhood friend, “Tic” Allen, who had become president of Boeing. The nickname “Tic” came from Bill Allen’s having been raised in Hamilton, Mont., home of the Rocky Mountain Tick Laboratory. My initial meeting with Allen was in early 1980. He continued to occupy his office at Boeing, although retired. I asked his longtime secretary if “Tic” Allen was in. Instantly a voice rang out from the distant office, “Who the heck is that calling me ‘Tic’?” Out came Mr. Allen.

That day and many days after over that year, we talked Montana, fishing and planes, with him constantly sharing great stories. How I wish I would have written them down. Toward the end of the year, I stopped by and he got right to it, asking, “Why don’t you come to work for us?” The next thing I knew I was having lunch with him, and he beckoned Dick Albrecht to the table. Albrecht had just returned from serving as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, and was heading up the 757/767 development. Allen said, “Find this kid something.”

My fortune landed me a position on the Boeing Aerospace Legal Staff.

As I approach my retirement years, my time with Bill Allen will always be remembered as a larger-than-life experience. He saw the spark in me, my love of aviation and my determination to be part of something historic.

—Thomas Napton, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Iraq’s past and present

Earl Scott’s letter (June 2004) offers an excellent suggestion for an article on the feats accomplished by the Boeing-Iraqi Airways program in the mid-1970s. However, the two 747s referred to were the convertible model (747C), not the combi (747BC), which is able to accommodate cargo only in the aft half of the fuselage. Only 13 convertible models were sold and built.

Further, Iraqi Airways also ordered the only “onboard loaders” ever produced. These devices could be used to load cargo into the airplane’s nose and side cargo doors, and then self-load through the nose door for deployment and use at airports not equipped with loaders able to reach the 17-foot cargo floor elevation of the 747, a relatively new aircraft at the time.

I was a member of the engineering team that negotiated the specifications that were necessary to produce this unique 747 model.

—W. Norman Tucker, Sammamish, Wash.

Challenge—and understanding

Recently I spotted a tall, thin young male, well dressed, zigzagging his way through the employee parking lot looking into the back of all the pickup trucks. He was heading for my truck, so I followed him.

He hesitated for a moment at my pickup, and I could see he was entering data into something he was carrying in his left hand.

He stopped two trucks from me. I challenged him. “What are you doing?” I asked.

He smiled and replied, “I got a new pickup.”

“Why are you looking in the back of employees’ trucks? You just looked in the back of mine,” I said.

“Yeah, I got you down for shingles, a broken shovel, and some firewood.”

“You missed the jumper cables,” I responded. “You appear very suspicious, looking into employees’ trucks.”

“Oh, I just got my first new pickup, and I didn’t know what I’m supposed to have in the back,” he answered.

I invited the new Boeing engineer over for a few shingles and some firewood—a beginner’s kit.

It was an incident that went from suspicious to humorous to understanding. I was glad that I challenged the person; otherwise I would have always wondered what he was doing and if he was an employee. And in the end, I was glad to have helped a teammate.

—Wayne Heltzer, St. Louis


Harry Stonecipher’s remarks in the July issue (“‘Everyone does it’ doesn’t make it a best practice”) reinforces my employer’s adoption of a similar motto some months back that “Status quo is not an option.” My employer is a Geneva-based Swiss private bank, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie. Great minds—or should I say, great companies—think alike!

—William Jardim, Gibraltar

757 team will inspire others

the last 757-300The conclusion of 757 production brings an end to one of the most effective teams I have had the privilege to be a part of: the 757 Customer Introduction Integrated Product Team.

Since its creation in 1997, the 757 CI-IPT has been responsible for integrating all Acquire, Design and Produce requirements for new or returning 757 airline customers. In its prime, the CI-IPT was staffed by personnel from many different Boeing disciplines, such as Customer Engineering, Design Engineering, Product Integration, Manufacturing Engineering and Quality Assurance. The most gratifying aspect of my experience was working together with them to design and build different 757 configurations—some, such as the C-32A, were particularly challenging. In addition, we were involved in a number of successful process improvement initiatives.

Over the course of time the CI-IPT became known for the value of its contributions, made possible with the support of a succession of 757 chief project engineers including Norm Matheson, Tom Cogan and Rob Elliott. Literally hundreds of others have participated in the last seven years, and it is impossible to thank them all. Though only a few team members remain, we look forward to bringing our accumulated experience to other Boeing Commercial Airplanes programs and projects.

It is sad to see the 757 program close, but we can be proud of the difference the CI-IPT made!

—Jeffrey Raybuck, Renton, Wash.

Editor's note: The C-32A, a fleet of four modified 757s, carries U.S. government officials including the U.S. vice president and members of Congress traveling on official business.

Go-go on the logo

Recent publicity surrounding the Boeing 7E7 and the Airbus A380 would seem to indicate a more explicit branding distinction between Airbus and Boeing is needed to target the flying passenger. I submitted this idea in 1999 and would like to resubmit it for reappraisal:

What is the most recognized product brand in the world? If you answered the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star, you would score a 10. Is brand loyalty to the Mercedes marque reinforced by its ubiquitous brand recognition? Once again, you have scored a 10 if your answer was in the affirmative.

Now for the tough one. How can the Boeing brand be catapulted to a similar level of recognition? If you answered by recreating the Mercedes paradigm, you are at the top of the class.

My suggestion is to tastefully place an appropriately sized image of the Boeing logo on the radome of every 7E7 and on other models as they are introduced. Ancillary adornment areas to be considered might be the inboard and outboard winglet surfaces. The key to good aesthetics is to scale the image size to make a subtle statement.

The predominantly circular outline of the current logo lends itself sublimely to this occasion. It might also be stated that the Airbus logo, which also is circular, may get similar treatment with or without our instigation.

—Denis Duggan, Tukwila, Wash.

Thanks, Buzz

During this year’s Boeing operators symposium, I was present when Capt. Richard “Buzz” Nelson’s retirement was announced. To me, as well as many others, it was a moving moment to see an old friend leave.

Buzz has been a dependable partner to many of us “customer pilots” around the world. He was always available to give answers to the oddest questions, helpful in many ways and, to many of us, a true friend!

I am proud to know him and proud to have had the opportunity to share the cockpit with him on a couple of occasions.

—Tom Stoy, Wielenbach, Germany

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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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