May 2006 
Volume 05, Issue 1 
Letters to the Editor

Remember the Extender

With the imminent departure of the 717 commercial airplane line from Long Beach, Calif., it seemed appropriate to reflect upon one of the many "great times" that have occurred at the Douglas Aircraft facility here.

Notably, in March 1981, one very memorable piece of aviation history occurred: the first delivery of the KC-10 Extender to the U.S. Air Force. This past March marked the 25-year anniversary of that first KC-10 delivery from Long Beach, and the aircraft continues to amaze the Air Force 25 years later.

Many of the newer employees at Boeing in Long Beach are not aware a military derivative of the DC-10 was ever made here, or that it has consistently been a model of tanker/cargo success for the Air Force. Our Air Force customer continues to be delighted with its performance as it serves as a workhorse for current war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan--not to mention numerous prior campaigns it participated in (operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Panama, Libya, numerous humanitarian missions, VIP transport).

Those KC-10 delivery ceremonies may be a distant memory to most of us. But our product continues to fly among the very best.

--Reg Harper, Long Beach, Calif.

Don't forget Mesa

April Frontiers coverI receive Boeing Frontiers magazine and enjoy the contents. The big disappointment that I have with the magazine is the lack of recognition to those who support the Apache helicopter program. The last two issues make no mention of a program that is alive and well.

I retired from Boeing in 1999 after serving 14 years as the Hughes Helicopters/McDonnell Douglas/Boeing lead resident engineer for the Apache Program at Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical Co. in San Diego, which produced the Apache fuselage. I had the opportunity to work in the program's prototype days and then went to Mesa, Ariz., to work on other aspects of the program.

I am very proud of the years I spent supporting a successful program. But I am disappointed in the lack of press that Boeing Frontiers gives these dedicated workers.

I know that you do your best, but it seems that each facility should get equal press. Mesa, it seems, is behind the power curve when accomplishments, recognition and press is concerned. I think we played an important part in the history of Boeing. It should be duly rewarded, as words are cheap but important to those who produce the product.

--C. Neil Vann, San Diego

Editor's note

Rick RoffThis edition of Boeing Frontiers includes the final article written by Rick Roff, longtime editor of The Boeing News, who died of a heart attack at his Seattle-area home on April 14.

Roff, 54, started his career as a newspaper reporter and sports editor in Washington state. He joined the Boeing News team in 1988, and served as editor from 1995 through 2000. During that time, he touched thousands of employees, customers, suppliers and journalists interested in the Boeing story. Roff also led The Boeing News into the electronic age, transforming the weekly newspaper into a daily online publication.

Known for his easygoing way and gentle humor, Roff always found time for friends, family and the community. Boeing Frontiers offers this mention to recognize him for his many accomplishments.

Letters guidelines

Boeing Frontiers provides its 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. Letters may be edited for grammar, syntax and size. Please note that not every letter will be used.


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