Front Page
Boeing Frontiers
March 2004
Volume 02, Issue 10
Boeing Frontiers
Letters to the Editor

Well done

December/January Frontiers cover
Being a 30-year employee of McDonnell Aircraft and McDonnell Douglas, I had thought the Product Support Digest magazine the company once produced was the best product of its kind. As I started to receive the early copies of Frontiers, I thought it was a product full of itself-Boeing-and not representative of all of its fine predecessor companies.

The past few issues, and the December/January one in particular, have changed my mind. Having received my student pilot's license in an old "Jenny," and having spent my World War II time in B-17s and 30 years with McDonnell Aircraft and McDonnell Douglas, I found the "Century of Technology" section excellent in content and a great trip to my past. The "Challenge" insert on engineering and technology was creative, well-written and enlightening. All in all, I found this issue your best effort yet. It's a superb blending of all the people and companies that make this one company-Boeing-what it is.

-Frank Armanno, Show Low, Ariz.

A big fan

Regarding the fuel cell article in a recent Frontiers issue (August, page 34): I have been following development of fuel cells for automotive and other uses for several years. Being a retired Boeing flight-test engineer and manager, I can't help but wonder how Boeing would make use of a fuel cell as a propulsion source other than for electrically driven propellers on a small, slower-speed plane.

If Boeing has larger passenger planes in mind that are propeller driven, they should think back to the GE unducted fan engine demonstrated on the 727 testbed, which was turned down by the airlines. The commuter airlines are acquiring small turbofan-powered planes to replace turboprop planes, which are noisy and vibrate-probably at the expense of economy. For those of us who have flown with both turbofans and turboprops, we know why this is happening. If there is a way to make use of a fuel cell to power a large engine such as the modern high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines, this would be very interesting. It would take one very large electric engine to turn one of those big fans.

-Hal Whidden, Kent, Wash.

Thanks, SHEA

Approximately a year ago I took advantage of the free osteo-bone density screening offered by the SHEA [Safety, Health & Environmental Affairs] organization here at Boeing in Wichita. The test was quick and painless, and the final score indicated that I needed to schedule an appointment with my doctor for further testing.

Several months passed before I saw my general physician, and I remembered to bring the bone density assessment score with me. After he reviewed the information, he scheduled an appointment for me to have a complete body bone-density test performed.

I found out that I have osteoporosis. Needless to say, I was taken aback. I said to my doctor, "You mean I have about as much osteoporosis as someone my age should have, right?" He said, "No. It's advanced for your age."

Fortunately there are prescriptions that can help your bones better absorb calcium, along with taking vitamin D to maintain the strength of your bones. Eating the right things also is important.

This note and the sharing of this story is a small expression of my gratitude for the many health-related activities, opportunities and educational information available to Boeing's best asset: its people. I probably would have never had this test performed had it not been made so easily available to me. Thank you, SHEA!

-Jeanette Baldwin, Wichita, Kan.

How about the Apache?

Apache While the inclusion of the featured products in the "Century of Technology" story (December 2002/January 2003 issue) is certainly noteworthy, there is one glaring omission. There are no rotorcraft featured, and most notable of the rotorcraft not featured is the AH-64 Apache/AH-64D Apache Longbow. When introduced, the Apache became the pre-eminent attack helicopter in the world. And as it has evolved into the Apache Longbow, it remains the world's best attack helicopter.

The Boeing lineage goes back several decades in rotorcraft. The Apache Longbow stands atop the many accomplishments and should have been included among the other featured products.

-John L. Richard, Mesa, Ariz.

IDS: Also in the field

The November 2003 issue of Frontiers was particularly interesting as it highlighted the customer support function, a field I know well. You detailed how important this service is in the commercial world but made little mention of the same service provided to the military by folks like myself.

I support the Air Force KC-10 fleet as a Field Operations Management Specialist and perform the exact job you describe for a field service representative. The only thing different is we get a bit more involved with our customer because we deal with a new crop of KC-10 mechanics and supervisors every few years, due to the high turnover in military operations. Our tasks can run from simple aircraft servicing to in-depth engineering research and coordination for both Boeing and military engineers. Our work schedules cover 24 hours, seven days a week and are tied to the needs of our customer's operational mission plans.

This support extends to deployment with the military whenever and wherever they might go. In the past four years, this office supported all combat operations in Diego Garcia, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and many other sites. These deployments ranged from just a few days to months, often providing direct assistance to our frontline troops. Living conditions mirrored that of our military brethren and often resulted in a canvas tent, a cot with a sleeping bag and "Meals-Ready-to-Eat."

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I would not trade this job for anything, as it provides me with daily challenges, many smiles and numerous personal rewards.

I look forward to your monthly articles. I just wanted to let you know that there are about a dozen of us out here who also wave the company maintenance banner while helping keep our respective KC-10 units ready for whatever our nation demands.

-Craig L. Bush, Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

When a rose is not just a rose

Over the past year the flowerpots in front of the 40-88 building in Everett, Wash., have been neglected. There is currently, by executive order, a beautification project going on. These pots have been rearranged to replace the less attractive Jersey barriers that were set there to protect the building from close approach by a vehicle that could do harm. The arrangement of these pots has added to the attractiveness of the facade of this building.

Two of these pots were originally positioned near the canopy that covers the entry into the customer lobby. In these pots, flanking the lobby entry, stood two roses that were developed and bred specifically to recognize the 777, the first airplane to have a rose named after it. These two roses fell victim to the budget crunch and layoffs.

The Boeing Employees Garden Club, which tasked itself with the care of these roses, appears also to have felt the effects of the current attrition rates. The folks with this group in Everett seem to have either retired, moved on to other organizations or been laid off. As a result, the roses fell into poor shape since the maintenance restraints were instituted. Over the past year, concerned volunteers not associated with the "Garden Club" have brought these roses back to life with considerable effort.

The current beautification effort should be instrumental in keeping these roses in good shape in the future. Let's hope the budget for these beautification efforts is maintained and the 777 roses remain in a healthy environment in front of the Everett 40-88 building for a long time to come.

-D. Glen Jackson, Everett, Wash.

Assessments team members Editor’s note

A caption on Page 53 of the December 2002/January 2003 issue misidentified the individuals shown. Assessments team members Kathy Chmura (seated, left) and Joan Glaman conduct an interview in Bellevue, Wash., with teammate Peg Morris, who is facing them.


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.

Front Page
Contact Us | Site Map| Site Terms | Privacy | Copyright
Copyright© Boeing. All rights reserved.