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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 25, 2009 at 3:00 PM

787 delays

At least Boeing is keeping us safe

Editor, The Times:

How refreshing when a company reveals it has uncovered unexpected defects in its product and will delay delivery until the defect can be corrected [“787’s stunning delay,” page one, June 24]. How reassuring that a company is putting safety ahead of meeting a deadline, ahead of what Wall Street might do to its stock price and what bad press it might get from the local newspaper.

Boeing deserves to be criticized for poor planning, management and implementation of the outsourcing-production model it has used to build the 787 Dreamliner, which has led to multiple delays.

But in this instance the company should be commended when we learn that it is still adhering to the highest standards of testing and safety in constructing its airplanes. How is this display of honesty and integrity damaging to Boeing’s credibility [“Boeing’s cred takes a beating,” page one, column, June 24]?

— Barbara Banfield, Seattle

Delays ‘stunning?’ More like expected

Jon Talton and your headline writer characterize the 787 Dreamliner delay as “stunning.” Really? The word I would have used was “expected.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I think Boeing’s decision to go with a plastic plane was the right one. But Boeing management has been spectacularly incompetent in all other respects of this project. To come close to how big a change this is you have to go all the way back to the 707. It marked the transition from propeller to jet. That was a big deal.

Given this, Boeing management should have tried to minimize risk in other aspects of the program. Instead they completely changed the assembly process. They went from “bolt a part on at a time” to a “snap together large subcomponents” methodology. They also outsourced most of the subcomponents. These were not risk-minimizing decisions.

The 787 has been delayed before. Each time, Boeing has been surprised and promised a new final schedule — until the next surprise delay comes.

The Times needs to stop being a cheerleader and start doing some honest reporting. If I want 787 praise I can just go to the Boeing Web site.

— Patrick J. Russell, Seattle

Delays page one, while real news is buried

Instead of repeating the headline about Boeing’s 787 delays [“787’s stunning delay,” page one, June 24, and “787 delay: months, not weeks,” page one, June 25] perhaps you should have put the news brief in small print on page two about a U.S. drone killing 80 at a Pakistani funeral on the front page [“Drone attack,” Newsline, June 25].

Make the public aware of how the military operates. Is it any wonder that some countries hate the U.S. government?

— John Roomes, Coupeville

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