November 2012 Archives

Wednesday Week

I’ve talked before about the great campaign at WestJet called “Winglet Wednesday.” Passengers are invited to take photos of the winglets while in flight and send them in to WestJet’s Facebook page.

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Gorgeous view of Montego Bay.

Since this is Wednesday, I wanted to share a photo of WestJet winglets taken in our Renton factory and mention a big milestone for the airline. In just a few days, WestJet will celebrate the 100th Next-Generation 737 to join its fleet— delivered from our good friends at ACG.

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A WestJet 737 making its way through our Renton factory.

WestJet began in 1996 with three Boeing 737-200s serving five cities. It has now grown into Canada’s largest low-fare airline serving 81 destinations across Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Congratulations to WestJet on this Wednesday, and thanks for keeping our team in Renton very busy!

7's are wild

It just hit me that seven years ago this month, I was part of Boeing history. On November 9, 2005, I was lucky enough to be on a 777-200LR that broke the non-stop distance record for commercial airplanes.

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The 777-200LR lands at London Heathrow Airport after setting a world record on Nov. 10, 2005.

That flight from Hong Kong to London spanned 11,664 nautical miles. There were only 35 people on board—so we got to know each other very well. To avoid going stir crazy, we passed the time by playing games and even doing group stretching exercises.

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The 777-200LR gets a water cannon salute after setting a world record.

When we finally landed some 22 hours and 42 minutes later, I was in a daze after flying over the North Pacific Ocean, across North America, and then over the mid-north Atlantic Ocean. But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

By the way, music superstar Rihanna just wrapped up her own 777 world tour. She flew on a Delta 777 as she made stops in 7 cities in 7 days (Mexico City, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London, New York)—to mark the release of her 7th studio album in 7 years.

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Rihanna during her 777 world tour. Courtesy of Rihanna’s Facebook page.

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Rihanna’s 777 tour— custom bags. Courtesy Rihanna’s Facebook page.

The 777 continues to generate incredible excitement now— and no doubt that excitement will grow in the future.

Middle-earth

During my recent business trip to New Zealand, it was impossible to miss a new campaign by our friends at Air New Zealand. Leave it to them to come up with yet another creative in-flight safety video. And it was filmed on one of their 777-300ERs.

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After branding itself the official airline of “Middle-earth,” Air New Zealand produced a video that pays tribute to the upcoming movie “The Hobbit.” It’s not very often that you see Gollum and Sir Peter Jackson in the same video. If you haven’t heard about it yet—it really is a must see.

I’ll add a little eye candy as well for the weekend— Air New Zealand’s 777-300ER painted all black in a salute to the All Blacks rugby team.

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Oh, what a night!

There was history in the air last night, as the first families of aviation gathered to salute Bill Boeing, Jr. on his 90th birthday. The Boeing, Wright, Douglas, and Kindelberger families gathered at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, along with hundreds of invited guests. Members of the McDonnell family, while not physically present, sent well wishes.

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More than 250 people gathered at Seattle’s Museum of Flight to celebrate Bill Boeing, Jr.’s 90th birthday. Ed Turner photo.

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Bill Boeing, Jr. (left) speaks with Boeing’s Chief Technology Officer John Tracy. Ed Turner photo.

The event also marked the Northwest premiere of the new Hi-Definition production of the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary “Pioneers in Aviation.” A special version of the film was screened, highlighting the Boeing legacy.

During the documentary, the loudest cheers came during a segment that relived the day in 1955 made famous by Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston. He became an aviation legend by putting the 707 jetliner prototype into a 360-degree barrel roll over Lake Washington not once, but twice during the airplane’s first public display.

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Image of the famous barrel roll from the Boeing archives.

Like his father who founded Boeing, Bill Boeing, Jr. is a champion for education and advocate for the children who will extend his father’s vision well into the future.

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Bill Jr. (middle) with Bill Boeing, Sr. (right) from the Boeing archives.

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Bill Jr. speaks with students from Aviation High School. Ed Turner photo.

“Education is the key thing,” Bill Jr. told the crowd last night. “It’s fun to see young people come to places like the Museum of Flight and see their faces light up and know that one day designing, building or flying airplanes might be their job.”

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A giant birthday cake with a 787 on top. Ed Turner photo.

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Family members celebrate Bill Jr.’s 90th. Ed Turner photo.

The night ended with Bill and his family enjoying a huge birthday cake topped with a 787.

I should also mention that just down the road at Boeing Field last night, we also celebrated the first 787 for Qatar Airways. Oh, what a night indeed.

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High 5

Every production rate increase at Boeing is always closely watched, but none more so than the 787 program. That’s why I’m excited to report that we’re now officially building at the new rate of five airplanes per month—just as scheduled.

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The main 787 line in our Everett factory.

The first airplane at the new rate, and the 83rd Dreamliner to be built, rolled out of the Everett factory last week. That incorporates the full efforts of the main 787 line and Temporary Surge Line in Everett, and the line at Boeing South Carolina. We’ve now doubled our production rate in just one year thanks to the ingenuity of our employees and some new technologies.

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The Temporary Surge Line in Everett.

Some 500 employee involvement teams continue to look at ways to do things better—and faster. One of those teams developed a small piece of protective equipment that now covers the electronic actuators that move the horizontal stabilizer. The plastic covering is now used across the program to protect the actuators during the production process. New orbital drilling machines are also being used to help attach the wings to the center fuselage section.

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Here’s another stat the 787 team can be proud of. 35 Dreamliners have now been delivered to eight airlines. And we’re on track to go up to 10 airplanes per month by the end of next year. For a closer look at what’s involved in our rate increase, check out the video below.

737 flashback

As we marked the delivery of the 7,370th 737 earlier this week, it got me thinking about the very first 737 and what an incredible ride it has been since then.

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The 7,370th 737 was delivered to Lion Air this week.

The Next-Generation 737 gets better and better as we continue to improve the airplane and create value for our customers. Aerodynamic and engine performance improvements have reduced fuel burn, and the new Boeing Sky Interior gives passengers more comfort once they get inside. And believe me—we won’t stop there.

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The Boeing Sky Interior.

With the help of Mike Lombardi in the Boeing Archives, here’s a great photo gallery flashback to celebrate the 737’s past, present and future. Enjoy!

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The first ever 737 being assembled at Plant 2 in Seattle in 1966.

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The first 737 rolling out of Plant 2 in Seattle.

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First flight crew Brien Wygle and Lew Wallick.

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Boeing President William Allen greets the 737 at Paine Field in Everett at the conclusion of its successful first flight - April 9, 1967.

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The first delivery of a 737 was made to launch customer Lufthansa on Dec. 28, 1967. The signs reads “Happy New Year.”

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The first 737 built in Renton, a 737-200 destined for Indian Airlines, rolled out on November 17, 1970.

Lady in red

It made its debut during one of the most elaborate unveilings we’ve ever done. The very first 747-8 Intercontinental, introduced to the public in February 2011 with a surprise “sunrise” livery, has now been delivered to an undisclosed BBJ customer. It marked the 10th Intercontinental delivery to date and the 25th 747-8 delivery this year.

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The first 747-8 Intercontinental during its premiere in February 2011.

The airplane was fondly known as “Big Red” because of its red and orange livery. That livery was designed to honor the many Boeing customers whose cultures recognize these colors as symbols of prosperity and good luck.

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The airplane was a key member of the Intercontinental flight test program. From crosswinds testing in Iceland, to Function and Reliability and ETOPs, “Big Red” helped verify time and time again that the airplane met all certification requirements. Since the conclusion of the flight test program, the airplane has undergone refurbishment to restore it to a delivery configuration. One of the final steps prior to delivery was repainting the airplane - removing its famous livery.

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Me and my son Joel at the premiere of the 747-8I in Feb. 2011.

While that distinctive livery will now only live in photos, we can take comfort knowing the airplane is where it belongs—with our customer. So long to our lady in red. Thanks for bringing smiles to so many faces.

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Come on get happy

It seems like only yesterday I was talking about our very first 737 with the new Boeing Sky Interior (BSI). Only two years later, we’re celebrating the delivery of the 500th 737 with this amazing interior. The airplane was delivered today to Aviation Capital Group, and Copa Airlines will lease and operate it.

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Inside the 500th 737 with the Boeing Sky Interior that Copa Airlines will fly.

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I’ve flown on Sky Interior airplanes countless times in the past couple of years. But I always enjoy seeing the reaction of other passengers when they get on board a Sky Interior airplane for the first time. The large pivoting overhead bins and the cabin lighting really make for a “wow” factor moment.

While the interior gives our airline customers an edge over the competition, it’s the opinions of passengers that speak volumes. Two Boeing Sky Interior operators recently conducted passenger surveys. Norwegian Air Shuttle found that more than 60 percent of its customers rate the Boeing Sky Interior more comfortable than the standard interior. And they just felt “happier.” Transavia, a Netherlands-based airline, also said passengers enjoyed a significant improvement in the overall cabin experience.

To celebrate the 500th milestone, employees who build the Sky Interior at Boeing’s Interiors Responsibility Center in Everett held “Oktoberfest” luncheons. Managers served a traditional Oktoberfest meal and employees were also given commemorative “500th BSI” stickers.

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Employees at Boeing’s Interiors Responsibility Center celebrate the 500th BSI with an Oktoberfest luncheon.

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Employees sign a banner to mark the 500th Boeing Sky Interior airplane delivery.

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Cheers to another milestone!

Congratulations to everyone at Boeing who had a hand in bringing this product to our customers and their passengers. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite videos (below) that shows exactly why I love the Boeing Sky Interior so much.

Thanks for your service

As we get closer to Veterans Day, Boeing is paying tribute to the men and women of our company who’ve also served for our country. A special tribute page on Boeing.com has just been launched that includes military related video content, support initiatives, transitioning military employment tools and events. The page also has a television commercial featuring Boeing employees that will soon begin airing and a print ad— both seen below.

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The TV ad highlights 19 Boeing employees who served in the U.S armed forces and will feature them reflecting on their time in the military.

While this tribute coincides with Veterans Day, Boeing is committed to hiring and training veterans year-round. Earlier this month, we joined GE and other business, academic and not-for-profit partners to start a new coalition that trains military veterans for advanced manufacturing jobs. The “Get Skills to Work” coalition extends Boeing’s successful partnerships with community and technical colleges to develop and recruit a pipeline of workers trained in aerospace manufacturing skills.

We’ve hired and trained nearly 3,000 veterans in just the past 21 months for jobs at Boeing. About 24,500 veterans are currently employed at Boeing, and many continue to serve in the National Guard and Reserves.

To all Boeing employees who’ve served—and continue to serve— we can’t thank you enough.

 

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