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Frontiers October 2013 Issue

process drilling and angles. It took a lot of time, but the team in flaps stayed through it all, and now it’s one of the best-running areas in the facility.” Today, Macon produces a large number of C-17 assemblies including wing components and doors. And the teaming concept embedded in the site’s footprint still is evident throughout the shop floor. Last year, for example, the C-17 Fixed Leading Edge Subassemblies team was awarded a regional John Van Gels Award, which recognizes significant contributions to Defense, Space & Security as a result of close collaboration between teams and their management. (Boeing last month announced it will continue production on the C-17 through 2015. Although the company will close its final assembly facility in Long Beach, Calif., it will continue to support and modernize the global fleet.) Recently, the Macon A-10 team overcame major production challenges in building replacement wing sets for the Global Services & Support A-10 Thunderbolt program. The combat aircraft, known as the “Warthog,” provides close air support to ground troops in battle. The new center wing sets will allow the A-10 fleet to operate through 2035, according to the U.S. Air Force. Allan Treen came to Macon from Canada 24 years ago when the site supported the MD-80 commercial jetliner program. Now an engineer on the A-10, he described it as a far tougher assembly than what Team Macon had ever experienced, due to the challenges of upgrading a military airframe built decades ago by a company no longer in business. (The A-10 was developed in the early 1970s by Fairchild-Republic.) “We had to rely on some of our best mechanics here, and we had to rely on a lot of outside help,” Treen said, referring to the “One Boeing” effort of Team Macon—along with Defense, Space & Security partners across the company and even Commercial Airplanes—to turn things around. Earlier this year, the Macon A-10 team reported it not only met 2012 contract deliveries but was exceeding 2013 targets by four deliveries. This performance has not gone unnoticed. The U.S. Air Force recently awarded Global Services & Support a $212 million A-10 contract to upgrade an additional 56 wings. The work will be done in Macon. Richard “Holden” Vickers joined Boeing Macon’s A-10 program two years ago. He builds the aircraft’s torque box, like a skeleton, and loads the wing skins, which are then drilled by machine. What he likes most about the Macon site is the friendly atmosphere. “Everybody looks out for everybody, everybody knows everybody,” he said. In his short time here, Vickers has learned that success comes from trusting one’s teammates and not being afraid 40 BOEING FRONTIERS / OCTOBER 2013 PHOTOS: (Left) Shelby Smith, Chinook sheet metal mechanic. (Opposite page, clockwise from top left) A-10 sheet metal mechanics Jeffrey Fowler, from left, and Rod Rutherford, with A-10 quality inspector Aaron Rutherford; Brian Eis, C-17 production team leader; Hank Copeland, left, C-17 sheet metal mechanic, with Boeing Military Aircraft’s Bryan Scott, director of quality for the St. Louis and Macon sites; C-17 sheet metal mechanics Ty Bennett, left, and Kristine Huff pause from assembling boxes that will store life rafts on the C-17; Tashia Butts, C-17 sheet metal mechanic; Debra Crites, A-10 sheet metal mechanic. Bob Ferguson/Boeing


Frontiers October 2013 Issue
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