was created as the postmerger replacement for the former Airliner
and Douglas Service magazines, which were created in 1958
and 1943, respectively. It looks considerably different from either
of its predecessors, but its purpose still reflects the tradition
they both established: "To provide timely supplemental technical
information that supports safe and efficient commercial fleet maintenance
and operations and increases customer awareness of Boeing commercial
airplane products and services."
At the end of
last year, we published a reader survey in the magazine and on the
World Wide Web to gather opinions and other information about Aero.
Responses to this survey, which appeared four years after the last
Douglas Service survey and two years after the final Airliner
survey, provided us with information on the following topics:
Our readership includes operators (711 to date) of Boeing-
and Douglas-designed commercial airplanes, suppliers, and regulatory
agencies. Several other key audiences, including the top 100 airports
in the world, engineering colleges, aviation industry members, government
agencies, and selected members of the international media, also
receive the magazine. Other readers peruse Aero on the World
We received several hundred replies from our readers and were encouraged
to see the diversity of respondents. Though the majority of you
identified your organization as airline (mostly flight crews and
maintenance personnel), many others wrote in from such fields as
education, repair station, government research, fleet service, air
traffic control, media, and materiel and spares product support.
Other organizations included regulators, suppliers, engineering
and aviation colleges, compliance programs, corporate flight departments,
technical training organizations, airplane lessors, aviation consultants,
leasing companies, and engine and airframe manufacturers. Several
aviation enthusiasts also took time to reply to our survey.
2. READERS’ JOB
As your area of job responsibility, the categories you listed most
often were, in descending order, engineering, maintenance, flight
operations, training, management, and safety. Respondents from other
categories came from quality control, aeronautics, flight systems
research, university teaching and research, production control,
spares, advanced aeronautical systems, and ground operations. Other,
more diverse respondent fields included design and illustration,
sales and marketing, information systems, technical publishing,
security, translation, and media. Finally, people such as airport
operator, reporter, aeronautics editor, flight instructor, inspector,
airline captain, ramp handler, private pilot, flight attendant,
student, integrated product team, attorney, and machinist replied
to our survey.
3. OVERALL FEEDBACK
The survey questions, shown in the Reader
Survey Scores, include the ratio for the responses given. The
scale of 1 to 5 corresponds to a response of "disagree strongly"
(1) to "agree strongly" (5). We have provided the ratios
for the answers received through both print and web survey media,
with results from the print version shown first.
We were pleased to see that most of you said Aero included
practical, useful information that helps you do your job better
(print, 4.25; web, 3.61). You generally agreed that the articles
were well written and struck a good balance between technical detail
and ease of reading (4.51, 3.80), were about the right depth and
length (4.25, 3.61), represented a good mix of subjects (4.46, 3.83),
and were timely (4.16, 3.54).
The majority of you said that the photos, illustrations, and other
graphics effectively helped you understand the information presented
in the articles (3.92, 3.71); that the charts, technical drawings,
and illustrations were presented in a way that was easy to comprehend
(4.50, 3.72); and that the layout of the magazine and individual
articles was effective in helping you find the information you needed
Fewer of you said you think the Field Service listing in the back
of each issue provides the kind of information you need to contact
your Boeing Field Service representative (3.62, 3.22). The majority
of you were neutral about the ability of your internal distribution
system to make sure the people who would most benefit from reading
Aero actually receive a copy on a regular basis. You also
indicated that you would like to see those systems distribute Aero
more effectively if possible (3.66, 2.07).
Other information we learned from you was that few people in your
organization besides yourself read Aero regularly (2.50,
2.07). An even lower number said that you want to visit our web
site rather than receive a print copy (1.59, 3.02).
Many of you supplied us with suggestions for future articles. The
subject areas requested most often were, in descending order, flight
operations, new technology, maintenance, engineering, systems, products,
training, services, and safety. Some of you also identified specific
topics, a number of which are listed with examples of related articles
in past issues.
- Airline markets.
- Airport operations
Thrust Hazards in the Airport Environment," Aero
no. 6, April 1999).
- Climb gradient
and performance considerations.
- Forward and
aft limits of center of gravity.
- Flight operations
engineering and certification.
- Flight safety
Principles of Large-Airplane Upsets," Aero no.
3, July 1998, and "Return
to Service After Extended Downtime" and "Turbulence
Education and Training Aid," Aero no. 4, October
- History (see
& Douglas: A History of Customer Service," Aero
no. 1, and airline histories in Aero nos. 1-5, January
- Landing performance.
programs (see "Advanced
Maintenance Techniques for the 757-300," Aero
no. 6, April 1999, and "ETOPS
Maintenance on Non-ETOPS Airplanes," Aero no.
7, July 1999).
- Noise certification/margins
and tradeoff compared to International Civil Aviation Organization
- Recent deliveries
and production news
(see Forum, a monthly newsletter from
Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group, at http://www.boeing.com/commercial/forum/).
- Takeoff performance
on wet or contaminated runways.
- Volcanic ash
cloud encounters (look for this article in the first quarter 2000
issue, which will be distributed by Jan. 1, 2000).
- Weight and
balance/trim sheet design.
Many of you provided us with specific comments on what you like
about Aero, what you don’t like, and how we need to improve.
The following statements represent various views of Aero:
- Thank you
for an excellent publication.
- Field service
representatives have a name, not only a telephone number. [By]
publishing the name, one could scan the list and see the changes
in assignments or where a rep has moved.
- I love Aero.
It is consistently interesting and valuable in helping me understand
the aviation business.
- The page format
is difficult to read, being too busy with color and print density.
- The Aero
magazines are a tremendous addition to my classes and really let
the [university mechanical and aeronautical engineering] students
see some of the operational sides of Boeing.
is a class magazine -- visually attractive with good graphics.
- Get this on
an 8.5- by 11-in page. It doesn’t fit in files well.
- The articles
and the graphics are terrific and inspiring.
- Good photography.
Nice modern layout and style.
- Use less extravagant
background colors to improve readability.
- I would like
to see related bibliographies.
- My airline
flies almost all Boeing and Douglas aircraft. It would be nice
to get a "heads up" on some new information dealing
with our airplanes.
- I would like
to see more: more issues, more articles, more graphics.
- Provide a
list of training aids available for various aircraft and systems.
- Make it bigger,
deeper reaching, more frequent.
- More emphasis
to safety strongly recommended.
- I have found
Aero to be very informative and interesting, with a good
mix of articles and subject headings.
- Your magazine
should go into more in-depth analysis of new technology and its
implementation in your products.
- Increase level
of technical detail in articles.
- I am now working
in the training department for pilots (initial, recurrent, or
special training), and I found your publication very interesting
and educational for the people on the line.
- Many thanks
for new cockpit design information for the 737. We value the ability
to look a bit to the future.
- It would be
very helpful to have access to the full archive of the magazine.
5. IMPROVING AERO
So what’s next? We’ve already incorporated a number of requests
from the 1996 Airliner survey responses.
Clearly label each article to identify its target audience.
We added categories for Aero articles: flight operations,
maintenance, products and services, safety, systems, technology/product
development, and training.
Provide more articles on troubleshooting, out-of-production
airplanes, maintenance and operation costs, regulatory issues, safety
issues, training issues, and an occasional nostalgic or historical
We’ve run articles in all of these categories since Aero
Make the magazine available on the World Wide Web.
Even though survey respondents overwhelmingly voted to read a print
copy of the magazine, we introduced an Aero web site to provide
access for those of you who do not receive print copies.
We’ve also already done or will do the following to respond to
your feedback on the Aero survey:
We heard from you early on that a different type style would be
easier to read, and we changed that in the third issue. Since then
we have made other subtle changes to address your concerns, including
fewer vertical lines and boxes, relocation of page numbers from
the side to the bottom, more white or light-colored backgrounds
for easier photocopying, and a reformatted table of contents.
Decrease magazine size.
Effective with Aero no. 7, we now use the 8.5- by 11-in size
some of you requested for easier photocopying and storage.
Add names to Boeing Field Service listing.
Because we publish only quarterly, the names in the Field Service
listing would not necessarily be current. By the time each new issue
is distributed, Field Service representatives have moved to different
bases, new phone or fax lines have been installed, and some bases
have opened or closed. One solution provides updated Field
Service listings on the Aero web site starting in 2000.
The listings will be linked to Boecom, the official Boeing communication
system between Field Service bases and internal technical support
organizations. Boecom is essentially a proprietary e-mail system
and is used primarily for communications to help resolve customer
in-service airplane problems. This system also contains the most
current information available on where our Field Service representatives
are located, with phone and fax numbers.
the Aero editorial board and technical review committee
will review the survey results and your comments to make sure
we publish articles in the categories you requested and, where
possible, the specific topics you want us to discuss.
to all of you who participated in the survey. We’ll publish
another one at the end of 2000 to see how we’re meeting your
expectations and what we can do to make Aero a more
valuable resource for you.