From Flying Boats to Guided Missiles

By Richard Weaver

March 2016

1937: My name is Richard Weaver. I was born in Bremerton, Wash.

1942: From my house on Holly Street in Seattle, I saw a Boeing 314 flying boat take off from the south end of Lake Washington.

1943: From atop Beacon Hill, I was told that the neighborhood of houses down below were just make-believe, and underneath was the Boeing plant where they were building the B-17 bomber.

1956: My first adult job was at Boeing's Plant 2, now without the make-believe houses. It was in Bay 5, working on the assembly tools for the B-52, then in production.

1962: Now a milling machine operator in 2-3250, still at Plant 2, I was the operator on a numerically controlled (NC) milling machine, the first automatic tool-changer NC machine at Boeing.

1965: Now writing NC programs at the new plant in Auburn, Wash., I developed some of the programs to machine parts that were assembled to make the landing gear beam for the first 747.

1968: I was sent to the new Everett plant, writing more NC programs. I was there for the rollout and the first flight of the 747.

1969: Back to the Auburn plant. In 1971, following the cancellation of the SST (supersonic transport), I was able to transfer back to the machine shop. It was six months before I was able to go back to the job of writing NC programs.

1975: I transferred to the Aerospace Division, now at Plant 2, to work on the new ALCMs (Air Launched Cruise Missiles). I wrote programs to machine the wings and some of the body parts. It was supposed to be a temporary assignment, but I was there for 16 years.

1991: Back to Auburn to make parts for the 777. One of the larger parts I wrote programs for was a large titanium fitting that attaches the engine strut to the bottom of the wing.

1995: On June 30, I retired after 38.5 wonderful years working for The Boeing Company.

2016: 21 years of happy retirement, building and flying radio-controlled models.

Happy 100 to The Boeing Company!