June 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 2 
Letters to the Editor

Kids and airplanes

May Frontiers cover
"Mommy, tell me more about airplanes." This was the inquiry from my 7-year-old son after we visited the www.newairplane.com Web site so I could tell him about the 7E7.

While watching the video in "The Experience Zone" of this site, his 7-year-old eyes were huge with awe at the three children designing their own airplane and in communication with each other on their laptops. My son played with his little die-cast model of a generic toy airplane as he watched the young designers putting their dreams into action with their new airplane. "Whoa!" he said as the children fly through the interior of the 7E7.

My son's grandpa, my dad, was an engineer at NASA in the mid to late '60s and worked with several of the astronauts that were the pioneers of space exploration and the first to land on the moon. In the 1970s, I remember watching F-14s flying over my Houston backyard while they flew from Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego. The Blue Angels used to give us front-row seats to their aerial maneuvers, all from our own back yard.

Now, some 30 years later, I am telling my son about the difference between a 747, a 727 and the 7E7. My words can't do justice to my son's questions. I can tell him about the horizontal stabilizers on the tail of an airplane, the double-decker 747 and the flight tests I experienced while working in the maintenance and repair portion of the aerospace industry after a 737 had completed a routine maintenance check. But nothing compared to his seeing the imagination of the three school-age kids come to life. His airplane will have five engines, he said.

I am still in awe.

-Brenda Ledbetter, Everett, Wash.

What does the future hold?

As I celebrate 25 years with The Boeing Company, I have seen a lot of changes to the way we are doing business. What was done in 1978 and what is being done in 2004 are altogether two different worlds.

When I first started with Boeing in August 1978, the tooling business in the company was the core of all products and programs, where employee pride in the craftsmanship and the ingenuity of taking on very large tasks within a short period of time demonstrated a "can do" attitude.

Over the years since, we have been working to drive down the costs of manufacturing the best aircraft in the world by listening to the people who provide all the support and support products in order to get the costs down. However, I see now that this has gone by the wayside. We no longer build the tools that build the aircraft; we no longer are taking suggestive ideas to be implemented to save additional costs on a program level; we have been setting our company sights on one thing only: "Build it as cheap as you can, and schedule must be above anything else."

What I am saying is that we should take a lesson from Stanley Tools. When their management made a decision to move their corporate offices offshore and move their manufacturing offshore, the stakeholders and shareholders told them not to do that to save costs, instead to focus on the quality and reputation of their products. I see a day that our products will no longer have a "Made in the USA" label on them.

-John Harwell, Tulsa, Okla.

Straight shooter

Your April 2004 issue is really great! I found so many interesting things to read this time. I especially liked "Straight Talk" by [Boeing President and CEO] Harry Stonecipher. I'm personally glad to see him back on the team. Perhaps I'm a bit prejudiced, as I am now a McDonnell Douglas retiree of 10 years, but he tells it like it is. What a terrific attitude to recognize that at any level, there are people loyal to the company who have good ideas worth listening to. Believing that you count and make a difference encourages employees to work at their highest capability, no matter how small the task. My 28 years in aerospace were rewarding in so many ways: the sense of accomplishment, camaraderie, and the opportunity to work with such talented and educated men and women.

-Roberta Kirkland, Peoria, Ariz.

Small airplanes do the job

Aloha Airlines 737Here's an addition to the message of "smaller planes at smaller airports" ("Nonstop to the future," April 2004). In the Los Angeles area, smaller airports in Burbank and Orange County are being serviced by new 737s operated by Aloha Airlines for flights to Oahu and Maui, Hawaii. We use these local airports and don't have to fight traffic to Los Angeles International Airport.

These new 737s have leather seating, more legroom, free food, drinks, movies, and fresh-baked cookies just before arrival. Sure, it takes 25 minutes more on a 4 1/2-hour flight, but they are so nice! My wife and I tried the trip a year ago, liked it, and took our whole family of eight last December to start celebrating our 50th anniversary.

-John Heckman, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Getting on the list

Being a longtime small-business Boeing supplier, I always read "with great interest" your Boeing Frontiers magazine while visiting the many different Boeing associates I visit with during my travels. I assume that this magazine with its format is mostly directed at the current and former employees? However, being a supplier who wishes to stay in touch with the many things going on inside Boeing, I would find a subscription very beneficial to me and my associates. Is that possible?

-Sam Callesen, Dallas

Editor's note: Thank you for your interest in Boeing Frontiers. As a magazine that's written and edited for Boeing employees, Boeing Frontiers is distributed through Boeing work sites and is generally available by subscription only to company retirees. However, we've put the magazine online at www.boeing.com/frontiers to create a cost-effective way for all people who have an interest in Boeing to view the magazine's content. A new issue of Frontiers is available shortly after the first Friday of each month. If you'd like to receive e-mail notification when a new issue is available online, simply visit the Frontiers Web site and click the "Email Subscription" link in the Site Tools box on the left column..

Iraq's past and present

With the current coverage of Iraq, why not an article on the Boeing-Iraqi Airways program of the mid 1970s?

Under Boeing tutelage, Iraqi Airways accomplished something no other airline has even done. In a space of 22 months, they introduced four new Boeing types: three 707s, three 727s, three 737s and two 747 Combis. They decked their fleet of five British aircraft and installed the fleet of 11 Boeing types. Career Boeing personnel who participated in the program and are now retired are still alive, and have good memories of the life, people and work of the program.

-Earl Scott, Seattle

737 vs. A320

It is very interesting comparing specs on the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 ("A rapid climb," May 2004). As I fly regularly with Qantas, I am surprised that they have chosen the A320 for their budget airline Jetstar. I cannot find any reason apart from the slightly larger cabin, and I am sure that the extra speed of the 737 would make up for that on the longer flights in Australia. I might have to switch to Boeing 737 operator Virgin Blue if I am looking for cheap flights in the future.

-Chris Gibson, Violet Town, Australia

7E7=fuel savings

Having seen gasoline prices skyrocket in recent months, consumers ought to understand that airlines must also pay more. If we think our SUVs guzzle too much gas, imagine the fuel bill for a 747!

With several major carriers on the verge of bankruptcy, increasing fuel costs have never been more detrimental. And it isn't merely a simple matter of passing those costs along to the consumer. Airlines want to get people into their planes and understand that costs must be kept down.

This all means a tremendous opportunity for the 7E7 and its purported 20 percent fuel savings. Perhaps a percent savings is possible.

I suggest that Boeing immediately begin an advertising campaign to tout the features of the 7E7. One great visual might be a man fueling an airplane standing next to his fuel truck. As he begins to fuel the plane the truck grows larger while the plane shrinks, dramatizing the increased fuel efficiency of the 7E7. A series of shots could show different planes from the past and present and how Boeing has evolved (by creating) into the most fuel-efficient commercial jet ever.

-Clay Kemper, Kent, Wash.

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.