September 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 5 
Main Feature

Teammates from afar

Teammates from afar

Employees at the Boeing Design Center in Russia may be 5,000 miles away from their American counterparts. But through modern communication tools, they're supporting Commercial Airplanes programs by providing critical know-how. Here's a look at some of the people who work at the BDC.

Profiles written by Debbie Nomaguchi

Anatoly Borodin
Airplane aficionado

Anatoly BorodinAnatoly Borodin is known among his team at the Boeing Design Center as the "stress guru." Although he is modest about his accomplishments, Borodin's command of loads and stress analysis has earned him the nickname.

"Stress analysis is a mixture of science and art," explained Andrey Kudryashov, BDC 787 senior manager. "Many small elements are put together to simulate a part and test the structure. You need to select the right elements so that when they are combined they come as close as possible to describing the entire part and how the loads are distributed when forces are applied."

Borodin grew up near an air force base, and he remembers constantly watching airplanes land and take off. His father was a military navigator who flew the Petljakov PE2 bomber during World War II and afterward flew the Ilyushin IL28. "I have loved aviation all my life," he said.

After a 30-year career as a rocket scientist at Energia, a Russian aerospace company, Borodin came to the BDC. He brushed up on his English, the language used in Boeing design manuals and standards, in Boeing e-mail and on teleconferences with Boeing teams in the United States.

In spite of the language differences, Borodin said the Boeing approach to stress analysis is almost the same as it is in the Russian aerospace industry.

Borodin's work has taken him to Wichita numerous times, and he finds the face-to-face communication invaluable. When he visits Wichita, he stops by the aviation museums there. It's just the place for someone with a long-held fascination for airplanes.

Sergo Dadunashvili
'All people should enjoy their work'

Sergo DadunashviliEvery other day, Sergo Dadunashvili swims laps before heading in to the office. He makes the one-hour commute to the office on foot. He arrives at around noon and often works until 11 p.m.

Dadunashvili is the Boeing Design Center's deputy chief engineer for stress analysis. He oversees 140 contract engineers who support post-production engineering, the 737-900ER, the 787 Dreamliner and the Large Cargo Freighter, an airplane needed to support 787 production. Taking advantage of the learning curve, many of the engineers on his team who worked last year on the 747 Special Freighter are now assigned to the LCF.

Of his odd hours, Dadunashvili said, "It's really no problem for me. It's more convenient for my U.S. colleagues."

Early in his day, he typically meets with BDC project leads to check work status. And as the need for engineering support has grown, Dadunashvili has spent more and more time with universities and the Russian design bureaus to identify specialists. Bringing in new contractors, orienting them and getting them productive quickly is a challenge. Dadunashvili works with the U.S. engineering team to bring trainers to Moscow who hold classes on software tools.

Regular video teleconferences with teammates in Wichita, Kan., and the Puget Sound area of Washington state usually start at 6 p.m. About an hour later, phone calls and e-mails start flowing as the U.S. teams begin their day.

Dadunashvili said he finds the most satisfaction in building a strong team.

"When I started working here five years ago, there were about 30 engineers, so I knew them and I had conversations about their progress and success," he said. "Each project needs people with special experience and special knowledge. You should know every engineer and put him or her in the right job."

Dadunashvili acknowledged this task is more difficult now that his organization has grown. He listens to his lead engineers and asks leaders at the contract agencies when assigning work. He said the key is keeping his team involved in projects suited to their skills and that allow them to gain more experience. "All people should enjoy their work," he said.

Valery Kukanov
Notes on electrical design

Valery KukanovFor some people, electrical design is like composing music: The strange-looking electrical symbols are the notes that play across the lines of wiring schematics. Valery Kukanov, Systems lead engineer at the Boeing Design Center, is likely one of those people. He enjoys the complexity of many details that must all come together in the right sequence and combination to achieve a goal.

After graduating from a technical university in 1994, he spent three years at the university's research institute performing electrical engineering for the automotive and aviation fields. He held an electrical design position at Ilyushin, a Russian aerospace firm, before coming to the BDC.

Today, Kukanov coordinates work between the electrical teams in Long Beach, Calif., and Moscow for the 747 passenger-to-freighter modification. The BDC team updates wiring diagrams and the electrical database, and they revise drawings for wire routing and equipment installations. Kukanov also supports work on environmental control systems for the forward section of the 787.

He enjoys the detail of electrical design because it is very difficult work. "Technical progress does not stop, so new equipment on airplanes will drive new electrical design," he said. "And creating the detail is a very important responsibility."

Elena Kuzmak
Stress is good

Elena KuzmakElena Kuzmak knows that sometimes stress is good. Like the upcoming date when a team at TsAGI, the Russian state aerospace research center, will run its first stress test of a 787 composite fuselage panel.

The test, to be conducted in a newly built test rig, will mark the culmination of a joint effort led by the 787 Program in Everett, Wash., with support from TsAGI and the Boeing Design Center. The 14-by-36-foot (4.3-by-11-meter) test structure is a replica of the rig in the 40-41 building in Everett. The fixture in Russia is one of three test rigs that will enable testing that could not have been accomplished at existing sites.

Kuzmak, an aeronautical test engineer and manager of technology programs at the BDC, served as project manager, interpreter and problem-solver for the Russian team.

One of the first challenges for TsAGI was to convert the unique test rig design, invented by Commercial Airplanes test engineer Lee McNeil, to be produced in the Russian metric system, approximately matching available steel to the shapes used in the original design. Only the test rig core, which loads and holds the test panels, was built exactly to the original specifications.

"The idea was to have it be the same, but not the same," Kuzmak said. "It would have the same function even if the parts were not exactly the same."

For the Everett team leading the test program, Kuzmak was their conduit to TsAGI. "Elena did a great job of managing the transfer of data and the discussions between TsAGI and Boeing engineers," McNeil said. "Our project would not have happened without her."

"I have never worked for as large a company as Boeing, with such great infrastructure and so many capabilities," Kuzmak said.

Yuri Smirnov
Virtual world both familiar, new

Yuri SmirnovOne of Yuri Smirnov's projects is to lead a team matching up the lower fuselage of the 747 Large Cargo Freighter, an airplane needed to support 787 production, with the new upper fuselage in what's called the transition zone. The lower structure, built from formed sheet metal parts, is based on the current 747.

For the LCF program, the tricky part is designing an elegant way for the existing structure to merge with newly designed structure, which will be built from machined parts that require less hard tooling.

Smirnov's team is focused specifically on how fuselage skin panels attach to the stringers, which run the length of the airplane and serve as structural reinforcement. But the technical issues, Smirnov said, are not as daunting as communication.

A structural design engineer, Smirnov developed the requirements and tested design software for the Soviet aircraft industry at TsAGI, the Russian state aerospace research center, before coming to the Boeing Design Center five years ago.

Working virtually with teams in Everett, Wash., and Wichita, Kan., has been a new experience for him. Smirnov and his team have had to adapt to their virtual environment. Before scheduled video conferences, they discuss issues, prepare 3-D models if needed and share information. That way, everyone participating is familiar with background details and can move quickly into discussing solutions or making decisions.

"Even though we are from opposite sides of an ocean, technical issues are the same, and people are the same, too," he said.


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