Page 25

Frontiers November 2012 Issue

GREAT FALLS, MONT. “The simulator is so realistic United States, with some 200 missile silos spread over 23,500 square miles (61,000 kilometers) of Montana. that Boeing tries to hire Today, Malmstrom has about 150 Minuteman III missiles, the most people with real weapons port those missiles and the Air Force at Malmstrom. In addition to field-advanced version. Boeing Defense, Space & Security employees sup system experience.” at Malmstrom used to train Air Force personnel on the Minuteman.support, the Boeing employees maintain and upgrade the simulators Chris Krueger has worked for Boeing in Great Falls for about – Fred LaTaille, training device technician two and a half years. But he was at Malmstrom for about six years before he joined Boeing, as a master sergeant with the Air Force. Most of the Boeing employees in Great Falls were in the Air Force, where they had hands-on experience with the Minuteman. “The simulator is so realistic that Boeing tries to hire people with real weapons system experience,” said Krueger’s friend and fellow Boeing employee Fred LaTaille, who was also in the Air Force and stationed at Malmstrom. He and Krueger help maintain both the Minuteman III launch control and launch console trainers at Malmstrom. LaTaille, who has been in Great Falls 13 years, pointed out that the 150 or so Minuteman III missile silos cover an area about the size of the state of West Virginia, and some of the Air Force personnel who train on the simulators maintained by Boeing have to drive up to four hours to get to the base, often in harsh weather during Montana’s cold and snowy winters. Both men said they enjoy the missile-related work they do for Boeing, as well as living in Montana. “I love it here,” said Krueger, who enjoys downhill skiing in winter. LaTaille mentioned Montana’s famed hunting and fishing. And if you love airplanes, LaTaille added, there’s a side benefit to living in Great Falls. Boeing’s newest jetliners, the 787 and 747-8, sometimes land at the airport there. The area can be windy, and landing a new jetliner in a severe crosswind is part of the flight-test program. Even more flight testing of Boeing aircraft takes place about 250 miles (400 kilometers) east, at a remote airfield near Glasgow. The airfield was used to train B-17 pilots during World War II, and later, in the 1960s, a B-52 strategic bomb wing was located there, at what by then was Glasgow Air Force Base. The base closed in the 1970s and much of the property was purchased by Boeing as an aircraft test facility. Today, the site is maintained by Montana Aviation Research Co., a Boeing subsidiary. “It has its challenges, but just about everything we need we can PHOTOS: (Left) Don Wright, standing, site manager, and find in Glasgow,” said Darcel Wesen, one of eight employees at training device technicians Chris Krueger, foreground left, and Montana Aviation who work at the site year-round. Fred LaTaille in the Missile Procedures Trainer at Malmstrom Recently, Boeing flew its 2012 ecoDemonstrator, a new 737-800, Air Force Base. (Top and above) A control panel and a to Glasgow to test technology that will improve aircraft fuel burn, simulated Minuteman warhead in the launch facility. reduce engine noise and lower carbon dioxide emissions. BOB FERGUSON/BOEING Boeing flight-test personnel from Boeing Test & Evaluation came to Glasgow from Seattle for the ecoDemonstrator testing. “We have 52 beds, and they were all full,” said Wesen, the airfield and site manager. Wesen was born in Montana and has lived there her entire life. She loves airplanes. Her dad was a pilot, and her uncle was chief pilot for BOEING FRONTIERS / NOVEMBER 2012 25


Frontiers November 2012 Issue
To see the actual publication please follow the link above