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

Diversity = Playing on the same team

February Frontiers cover
The corporate emphasis on "diversity" has some laudable goals; however, it is incomplete. Diversity alone is not and simply cannot be a corporate value. Instead, we need to couple our diverse heritage with a unified goal and culture.

There is an expression that exemplifies what Boeing's actual practice has been and it is time it was recognized, because it is a good thing. Every day, we are uniting an organization with diverse members and pressing toward a shared goal. The company is right to want to ensure all our diverse members contribute to this shared goal, but the fact that we have a shared goal is just as important as the fact that we are diverse. The expression that emphasizes what Boeing is really about in the matter of diversity is (the Latin phrase) "e pluribus unum": "out of many, one." This phrase recognizes the value of the diversity of our members and reminds us that no matter where we came from, we are now all on the same team working for a common goal.

-Mike Anderson, Huntsville, Ala.

Setting the record straight on Dash 80

The article by Dave Knowlen in the October 2003 issue was of particular interest to me, as I had a brief but up close and personal relationship with the Dash 80 in 1954-55 as a flight line mechanic. However, I must take exception with a small part of Knowlen's writings.

He writes in the fifth-to-last paragraph that the Dash 80 was "the historical aircraft that launched the jet age." Indeed, it was the first jet transport designed and built in the United States, but it was preceded by the British de Havilland D.H. 106 Comet, which went into commercial service in 1952. As stated elsewhere in the article, the first flight of the Dash 80 occurred on July 15, 1954. The first revenue flight of its sibling Model 707 followed in 1958.

-Norman Tucker, Sammamish, Wash.

Spread the word

I work out of the Boeing office in Leesburg, Va., not too far from the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum's new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. It's a great museum and does a nice job of displaying a lot of Boeing history.

I think it would be a great idea to make Frontiers available at both Smithsonian Air & Space Museum locations. The magazine does a great job of chronicling Boeing's past and present, and the exposure and positive publicity would have to be worth the cost of the donation.

-Ed Fleming, Leesburg, Va.

A step backward on gender front?

A recent Los Angeles Times article concerns the topic of the late actress Hedy Lamarr having assisted in the development of intellectual property. The article concludes [with Boeing Global Staffing spokesman Dan Ivanis] saying: "One employee showed it to his daughter to show her what's possible, saying, 'Just because you're a beautiful young woman doesn't mean you can't do these things.'"

I'll grant the United States is a bit backwards on the whole male/female thing. A woman who had taught in public schools in Wisconsin became prime minister of Israel nearly 40 years ago ... yet a woman working in the United States becoming a U.S. president at this late date seems only a possibility at some unknown time in the distant future.

However, I can't imagine telling my daughter or even entertaining the thought of something to the effect of, "You may think a beautiful young woman can't make significant intellectual achievements, but look at this ad and see there was somebody who did."

I went to law school over 20 years ago and even back then it was about an even split between men and women. Am I out of touch with how things are today, or is it Boeing?

-Glenn Blazek, Stennis Space Center, Miss.

B-19 remembered

B-19 I enjoyed my October 2003 issue of Frontiers and was reminded of a little-known aircraft that came way before its time. In 1941, my father worked on a hangar in Mobile, Ala., that was being built for a new type of aircraft. At that time it was highly classified and was intended to be a long-range bomber. The plane was the Douglas B-19; it later was changed to a cargo aircraft for intended use by the (U.S.) Army Air Corps. Only one of these planes was ever built; it had a wingspan of 212 feet, slightly larger than today's Boeing 747-400.

-W.L. Robinson, Cocoa, Fla.

Missed opportunity?

As one who looks forward to receiving each new copy of Boeing Frontiers, the October 2003 issue hit a nerve-especially the cover story, "Crate Expectations."

I do not remember in my four decades in the aircraft industry how many times I have been told (sometimes in a snide manner) that we are the only transportation industry that uses old passenger equipment to move cargo! The kicker comes when turning to pages 24-25 where the headline "The Shipping News" has a picture of a loaded container ship.

It would be interesting if we had a purpose-built aircraft that could bundle a number of these containers and turn them into sea-land-air containers. Just think what that could do for just-in-time parts.

-Peter Fleury, Cathlamet, Wash.

Employees build the future

Congratulations on [the Century of Technology cover story in] your December 2003/January 2004 issue. I have had much to do with the "pieces and parts" of many of these Boeing products since the mid-1950s, when I assisted in the development of the first Boeing 707 with Rohr Aircraft (a subcontractor), where the first power packages originated. I moved on to other aircraft via Rohr and McDonnell Douglas, and I am proud to have played a part.

In the future, many of your existing employees will be proud of what they are currently part of. Some great products will come to fruition because of their efforts.

Congratulations on this issue of Frontiers. It is a very good one.

-Harold Sullivan, Alta Loma, Calif.

Truth in advertising

It made this ole Boeing retiree tickled to read a recent AirTran Airways ad in the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat newspaper. The headline was good: "Our planes are newer than most airlines' snacks." But the subhead was great: "The world's youngest all-Boeing fleet."

Anything that is "all-Boeing" is fine with me!

-John Alter, Bascom, Fla.

Wartime memories of a 747

On Dec. 24, 1969, I took off from Saigon Airport in Vietnam after nine months and 10 days being stationed there. That was the very first time I ever rode in the Boeing 747.

I can remember being in awe of the interior and the courtesy of the flight attendants. They passed around warm wet washcloths and smiled at all of us. The plane was not fully loaded, but all who were there made up for the empty seats. We were extremely happy to be leaving a war zone and going home. The plane taxied to the runway and the pilot was given the OK to take off. We started down the runway, and as the plane lifted off, all the seat belts came undone and a standing round of applause added to the beautiful sound of the 747 climbing and taking us away from war and into the arms of peace.

The pilot came on the intercom, thanked us, and asked if we would please be seated and fasten our [seat] belts. He then said, "I will take you home as fast as I'm allowed." At that moment, another round of applause was sent forward. I can't help but think that the Boeing 747 was our last mission flown for a war-torn country, allowing the maximum number of servicemen and women to return home. That was 35 years ago. I remember it as it was yesterday.

I wish to thank you, Boeing, for that airplane that brought me back to a safe and sound future.

-Al Uuereb, Auburn, 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.

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