March 2006 
Volume 04, Issue 10 
Around Boeing

IAM locals ratify company offers

Integrated Defense Systems employees represented by three locals of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers last month voted to accept the company's offers for new collective bargaining agreements. The votes ended a 92-day strike. The new contracts cover approximately 1,500 employees in Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Torrance, Edwards Air Force Base and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.; Huntsville and Decatur, Ala.; and the Space Coast area of Florida.

The contracts provide lump sum bonuses, wage increases and a pension increase for employees who retire on or after March 1, 2006. Employees will pay 10 percent of the premium for most of the medical plans. New employees hired after Sept. 1, 2006, will not be eligible for retiree medical benefits.

"We feel these three contracts respect and recognize the contributions of our employees, while supporting the future business and customer needs for each location," said Tom Easley, lead negotiator at Boeing.

Air China logs on to Connexion by Boeing

Air China Ltd., the leading international air carrier in the People's Republic of China, has chosen Connexion by Boeing to provide real-time, high-speed connectivity to air travelers traveling to and from China. The airline announced an agreement Feb. 7 that calls for as many as 15 retrofit installations on Air China's Boeing 747-400 airliners and other long-haul airplanes yet to be determined. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Installations are expected to begin in October 2006 and be completed in time for passengers to use the service before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Service availability is expected on key routes between China and North America, Europe, the Middle East and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

More Virtual Office hoteling centers open across Boeing

Working closely with site business units, the Virtual Office program has opened four new hoteling centers this year.

Hoteling centers provide an office environment—including conference rooms and individual workspaces with network connections, computer docking stations and telephones—for travelers and mobile workers. Centers came online this year in Wichita, Kan., St. Louis, and Long Beach and Anaheim, Calif. Boeing now has 21 hoteling centers across the United States.

"This geographic range offers Boeing an incredible number of workplace options," said Machelle Steele, manager of the Virtual Office Program in Site Services. "They let our workforce be mobile, agile and adaptable. It improves productivity and reduces the site's real property costs."

The Boeing Virtual Office Program offers teams and organizations an integrated business solution that brings Lean productivity improvements to the office. Virtual Office creates flexible workplace options—people can work away from a conventional office or cubicle while remaining electronically linked to co-workers, data and assignments.

Automation aids fault detection on C-17 line

Lou Righi works with Mark Talbot in the newly launched Airlift and Tanker Integration CenterHistorically, one of the big problems facing the flight-test team on the C-17 program was figuring out what caused anomalies during flight testing. If the flight crew reported a glitch during a flight, technicians would swarm over the aircraft once it landed to try and duplicate it. Although the problem eventually was always found, it took a lot of trial and error.

A team of engineers knew there had to be a better, faster way to locate and solve problems. This gave rise to the formation of the C-17 Advanced Wireless Open Data Systems (AWODS) Team. The team built an LRU (line replaceable unit, or a black box of electronics) that simultaneously records and analyzes 100 percent of data produced by all nine data buses on the aircraft, and stores up to 19 hours of data on a disk.

Reports from this data allow technicians to identify the root cause of flight anomalies and quickly solve problems.

"The AWODS system is a real time- and money-saving invention," said Jamie Garcia, director of C-17 flight ramp and paint operations.

AWODS technology first flew in March 2003 and is expected to save an estimated $2.4 million through October 2005.

"The AWODS Team is a great example of teams focused on improving quality, reducing costs and becoming Lean in their approach to the job," said John Lyttle, director of C-17 Technology Transfer.

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