Boeing Frontiers
August 2003
Volume 02, Issue 04
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Boeing 307 StratolinerStratoliner returns to the skies

The Boeing 307 Stratoliner completed its first test flight July 18 following a more than yearlong restoration.

The airplane made its final journey to its new home at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., on July 26, where it became part of our aviation history and a national artifact for people from all over the world to see. Before enshrinement, the Stratoliner stopped in Oshkosh, Wisc., to be part of the Airventure Airshow.

The flight paid testament to the dedication and pride of a number of employees and volunteers who diligently restored this historic plane to its original condition when operated by Pan American Airways in the 1940s. The original restoration began in 1994 and was completed in 2001. It underwent additional restoration efforts after it was ditched into the waters of Elliot Bay, Seattle, Wash., in March 2002.

Pan American Airways dubbed the airplane "The Clipper Flying Cloud" after it was delivered on July 4, 1940. Considered the world's first high-altitude airliner, the Stratoliner's pressurized cabin allowed pilots to fly above the weather at attitudes up to 20,000 feet. The "Clipper Flying Cloud" is one of only 10 Stratoliners built and the only one still in existence.

Making a medical Connexion

United Kingdom-based telemedicine specialist Remote Diagnostic Technologies hopes to use the Connexion by Boeing broadband communications system to improve the quality of in-flight emergency medical care, following trials on a British Airways aircraft earlier this year.

Flight International said BA used its Connexion-equipped Boeing 747-400 in May to transmit a passenger's vital signs, 12-lead electrocardiogram, and high-quality still images while using voice-over Internet protocol technology to maintain continuous two-way voice communications via a receiving station on the ground. A similar trial was conducted with Lufthansa, the other operator that took part in the Connexion trial.

RDT said experience has shown that continuous two-way communication is essential for the system to work. The trial used the RDT "Tempus 2000" device, which is already installed on the BMI British Midland long-haul fleet, as well as several private aircraft. Virgin Atlantic Airways also intends to fit the system on its aircraft. RDT said it is confident of securing a third airline customer in the near future.

BMI has used the system more than 30 times in service, for incidents ranging from fainting to a cardiac arrest, according to Flight.

Tempus 2000 is designed for use by non-experts and uses a built-in modem to transmit a passenger's blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, ECG, blood oxygen, and carbon dioxide levels. BA is one of about 30 airlines using the MedLink service, although not necessarily with Tempus 2000.

Selling more than airplanes

Boeing launched a campaign last month to promote the Boeing stores to the public. The company started this effort by enlarging the Renton, Wash., store and putting an espresso cart out front.

The Tacoma News Tribune reported that similar plans are in the works to promote the Auburn, Wash., company store in a year or two, said Mikal Wasch, senior manager over the Boeing stores. Plans to boost the presence of the Everett store also are under way.

"We're responding to both employee and public requests," Wasch said. The Renton store nearly tripled in size—from 450 to 1,300 square feet (40 to 117 square meters)—when it made its recent debut after the remodel.

Wasch declined to share estimates of how the new approach will increase same-store sales revenues, or the 2002 revenues of the company's 15 stores. Seven of the 15 stores are open to the public. But company officials hope the increased promotion will push up the profitability of the stores.

James Moe, the company national sales manager, said, "we're not trying to replace airplanes with T-shirts." But the company can begin to capitalize on a well-known brand, Moe and Wasch agreed. In doing this, Boeing is following the lead of other businesses that are beginning to aggressively promote their logo-stamped wares to the public.

Nationally, sales of promotional products have grown more than 223 percent in the past decade as companies make more merchandise available to employees and clients, Promotional Products Association International said. In 2001, sales to employees and employee incentive programs accounted for nearly 30 percent of the sales in the $16.6 billion promotional products industry, according to the association.

Many company-owned stores have tried to keep the items affordable for their employees, and Boeing is no exception. Showing off a men's coat with a price tag of $55, Moe said a similar coat would sell for more than $100 at other retail outlets.

Renton 'groundbreaking' begins Move to the Lake

Boeing executives and project leaders marked a significant milestone in the Move to the Lake project when they officially broke ground on construction in the 4-82 building in Renton, Wash., in late June.

The Move to the Lake project—which was first announced in 2001—features significant changes to the large manufacturing building at the south end of Lake Washington where the Boeing 737 and 757 airplanes are built. Boeing commissioned architects and construction teams to develop office space in empty areas of the 4-81 and 4-82 buildings, space made available as a result of Commercial Airplanes' ongoing success with Lean manufacturing.

Carolyn Corvi, 737/757 programs vice president and general manager, and other leaders used sledgehammers at the event to break down a wall in the Final Assembly building, paving the way for Turner Construction to begin work on the renovations.

The new office space is earmarked for engineers and other personnel, bringing them closer to the products they design and support. This move will result in further production efficiencies and is part of Boeing's commitment to the Renton site and its people.

Boeing to build power system for Mars exploration

The U.S. Department of Energy in July named Boeing to lead in the creation of a next-generation power system for future Mars surface missions and the exploration of deep space.

Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power in Canoga Park, Calif., is teamed with Teledyne Energy Systems Inc. to develop, qualify, and deliver electrical power generation systems for interplanetary missions and probes. The new compact power system, a multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator, will provide unique in-space and planetary surface power capability.

The announcement follows the successful launch of the Boeing Delta II, powered by the Rocketdyne RS-27A engine, which recently sent two Mars Exploration Rovers on their way to the red planet. Missions already targeted to use the new power system are the Mars Science Laboratory, a mobile laboratory rover that will be sent to the planet in 2009; an Outer Planets Probe set for launch in 2011; and the Mars Sample Return mission, planned for launch in 2013.

The generator will supply electric power for mobility, data acquisition, and communication. It will have a 14-year design life, including three years on the surface of Mars. A flight version would be capable of generating power levels of about 110 watts by using a radioisotope heat source to drive thermoelectric power converters to create electric power.

A rover powered by the generator will be able to land and go anywhere on the surface of Mars, from the polar caps to deep, dark canyons, and will safely provide full power during night and day under all types of environmental conditions.


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