September 28, 2013 at 7:57 AM
Another piece of history
As a Seattle Museum of Flight member, I am pleased that the Lockheed Electra has been saved in flyable condition, and will anchor a major exhibit. [“A piece of history takes wing,” NW Sunday, Sept. 22.]
Meanwhile, more than 2,000 miles to the east, Boeing’s strategic-bomber prototype, XB-47, languishes outdoors in the Chanute Air Museum in Illinois. Boeing’s prototype Stratojets were used to develop the basic configuration for large, high-speed turbojet airplanes.
The B-47 thrust Boeing into the aeronautical big-time and to great prosperity. Its design is now the accepted standard worldwide. Large aircraft built by Boeing, Airbus and a host of other manufacturers adhere to that standard.
2,032 B-47s were built, followed by thousands of Boeing-built bomber planes. To those figures must be added additional thousands of U.S. and foreign aircraft that trail in the Stratojet’s jet wash.
I hope that a movement will develop to rescue Boeing’s most important airplane (a national treasure), to bring it home, refurbish it and display it indoors.
Anthony Pomata, Maple Valley
March 15, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Protect our skies
As a flight attendant for 14 years and Local Union President of three bases, I am very concerned over the recent TSA decision that will allow knives back into the aircraft cabin [“Small knives, sporting gear to be allowed on planes,” News, March 6].
Flight attendants are responsible for the safety and security of the passengers in the cabin. Knowing there could be dangerous concealed weapons onboard makes me extremely frightened, along with my co-workers. All it takes is the wrong person at the wrong time to create a disaster.
We need to protect our skies. No knives on planes! Over the past 10 years, the United States has become the leader in aviation security and is the safest, most efficient aviation transportation system in the world. Let’s continue being the safest in the skies!
–Heather Coleman, LECP Council 16, Association of Flight Attendants (Seattle, Spokane, Boise), Fox Island
September 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Does S. Carolina know how to build a Boeing?
Editor, The Times:
Though I never built a Boeing aircraft, I did fly them. Because of the dedication, knowledge and expertise of Washington state craftsmen and women, many of those well-designed and constructed airframes are still flying.
Consider that the 707, 737, 747, B-52 and even some B-17s are still aloft. For nearly a century, Washingtonians knew how to build airplanes.
I can appreciate Boeing involving potential buyers in building new aircraft. However, it appears, Boeing has sacrificed quality for a kumbaya feeling. It seems that almost every day I read about some offshore partner — whose workers do not have the history, the experience or know-how of the Washingtonians who bleed Boeing blue — erring in their responsibilities.
But it is not only foreign builders and suppliers, but Americans as well. Who ever said South Carolinians could build an airplane? Who installed the wrong fasteners in the wrong places and caused damage to the composite structure?
Again, without the historical background and skill found in the Puget Sound area, the Gamecocks have stumbled. It seems to me that if I ran Boeing, I would want the best product at the best price. And that does not mean the lowest price — paying a worker $40 an hour for the job done correctly and professionally is less expensive than paying someone $30 an hour for a shoddy job that has to be done twice to get it right.
I guess I am not seeing the big picture because Boeing must know what it is doing and be going in the right direction — it’s too big to fail.
– Richard A. Virant, Bothell
Threats of strikes, then a final departure of 787 from Washington
The unions and government in Washington state should heed the knell of the vote to throw out the union at the Boeing facility in Charleston ["Boeing Charleston votes to oust Machinists Union," Business, Sept. 11].
As one who grew up in western New York and watched businesses move manufacturing out of state due to the union and government attitude toward business, I see a dramatic parallel with the events of the past year. First, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (Idiots Against Management) strike on the only busy business in the nation; second, the shuttering of all the U.S. Marine plants while shifting that production to business-friendly states like Tennessee and Florida.
We should all remember: “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”
– Gary M. Schmidt, Seattle
Albaugh will respect Boeing’s skilled workers
With the appointment of Jim Albaugh as CEO of Boeing’s Commercial Airplane Division ["Boeing fix-it guy leads airliner unit," page one, Sept. 1], a mending process can now begin to right the division and get the 787 Dreamliner flying.
Quoting Albaugh from a Times column: “In its soul, Boeing has always been and remains an engineering company.” He continues to say, “the heart of this company is the skilled machinists, technicians and mechanics — true craftsmen and wizards — who deliver on their promises everyday.”
Albaugh thus recognized the truism that a company’s greatest asset is its workers, and it appears the 787 is in good hands. Bon voyage, Boeing!
– Anthony E. Pomata, Maple Valley
August 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Boeing built by region, owes much in return
Editor, The Times:
Those Boeing officials who are considering manufacturing the 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina should study the company’s history.
It was the natural resources of the Pacific Northwest out of which Boeing was created and built. Early on, it was the spruce forests of Oregon and Washington. Then it was the region’s abundant and low-cost water power that generated the large amount of electricity needed to make aluminum when that became the basic material in airplane manufacture.
Throughout, it was the local intellectual, educational and governmental infrastructure, largely paid for by Washington taxpayers, that trained and nurtured a work force capable of designing and manufacturing great airplanes. South Carolina cannot take credit for any of this. Boeing, having capitalized on these resources, owes something in return.
– Fred Granata, Lake Oswego, Ore.
Union members need to be team members
When will Everett’s Mayor Ray Stephanson and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union understand why Boeing is seeking permits for a 787 Dreamliner final-assembly plant in South Carolina? ["Boeing expansion: permits not required," Opinion, editorial, Aug. 28.]
Boeing doesn’t want to deal with striking union members. IAM members are being lead down a dark path with no future. IAM’s leaders are relics from the past, and their strong-arm tactics are tiresome.
Consider these things: Boeing’s nonunion employees look for ways to improve processes to stay competitive, you’re encouraged to do the bare minimum; a company needs team members working toward a common goal, you’re labeled as adversarial antagonists by the public; Boeing is in business to make money for everyone’s benefit, not be held for ransom losing billions of dollars in revenue and forcing customers to look elsewhere while you’re on strike; the list goes on.
Boeing doesn’t want volatile workers on their payroll and neither would you. Boeing doesn’t have to negotiate with the IAM anymore, they’ll just move away. IAM members have a chance to think for themselves and do what’s right for Boeing, its entire work force, its customers and suppliers.
Be team members and change for the better.
– Conrad Rupp, Renton
Boeing going elsewhere doesn’t produce results
I think the point has been proven that Boeing aircraft manufacturing must not move from the Seattle area. See what is happening when other parts of the nation and world try to build parts for the new Dreamliner 787? Wrinkles in the fuselage? Come on.
It looks like the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union strike didn’t have much to do with the delay of first delivery, although I hope the union and Boeing can work out a deal to avoid such hassles in the future.
Keeping it all here will build the best airplanes available.
– Douglas Mays, Seattle
August 17, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Thanks to The Times, staying off Boeing’s Play Doh plane
The Seattle Times has, for many years, done a great job of untangling complex details of aerospace manufacturing without making its highly readable articles seem dumbed down. This goes back to Byron Acohido’s outstanding investigative series on the mysterious 737 rudder control problem, the notorious MD-80 jackscrew story and now the perils of baking the composite pastry that will be the 787 Dreamliner ["787 fuselage work halted," page one, Aug. 14].
I wonder how many other readers share my reaction to these latest events: What a screwed-up way to build an airplane!
Will Boeing outsource the legal defense work necessitated by lawsuits launched by angry customers and shareholders to five foreign nations as well? You know, so everybody gets their fair share of the work.
Just to be on the safe side, it will be many years before I strap myself into one of these Play Doh comets.
– Charles Pickel, Seattle
If it’s a Boeing, I’m not going
My god, what next for Boeing? Now there are more delays in the 787 Dreamliner program. Gee, who’s at fault now?
The Machinists Union gets blamed for everything, but they’re without fault when it comes to the corporate decisions concerning problems building the 787. None of it is the unions’ fault — not the strike, not anything.
Every decision made about the building of any Boeing product comes from management, period. The workers have no say. Which idiot manager dreamed up this ridiculous idea of farming out virtually all the work on the 787?
It was management’s idea, and they made the decision. Will this screwed-up plane ever fly? Who would want to risk their life trying?
There used to be a saying: “If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going.” Obviously, that should be changed to: “If it’s a Boeing plane, I’m not flying.”
– Richard B. Ellenberger, Normandy Park
July 31, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Just follow the signs to see why Boeing may leave
A recent visit to the Boeing plant in Mukilteo provides a poignant metaphor for the relationship between Boeing and Greater Seattle. Many other visitors and I got lost on the way to the Boeing tour due to insufficient signs.
Boeing advised us that the government highway authorities thought there were too many signs already and refused to allow Boeing to put up signs directing visitors to their tourist facilities. I can assure you South Carolina will ask Boeing, “How many signs?” and “Where shall we put ‘em?”
Sam Howe Verhovek ["Boeing and Puget Sound -- shared DNA," Opinion, guest columnist, July 19] engages in some wishful thinking in hypothesizing that Boeing rocket scientists have overlooked important factors in their move.
What is surprising is that they have waited this long. Boeing gives me the same feeling that Caterpillar did in the ’90 s when they were dealing with labor unrest. They made the tough decisions and have been the darling of Wall Street ever since.
Boeing is appropriately responding to Seattle’s tepid embrace.
– Bob Bell, Brooklyn, New York
Unions aren’t team players for Boeing success
A word of advice to Boeing unions, specifically the International Association of Machinists: As an outsider looking in, I can tell you that you’re being led down a dark path with no future.
Your leaders are relics from the past and their strong-arm tactics are tiresome. Consider that Boeing’s nonunion employees look for ways to improve processes to stay competitive, yet you are encouraged to do the bare minimum. A company needs team members working toward a common goal, but you’re labeled as adversarial antagonists by the public. Boeing is in business to make money for everyone’s benefit, not to be held for ransom losing billions of dollars in revenue and forcing customers to look elsewhere while you’re on strike, and the list goes on.
Boeing doesn’t want volatile workers on their payroll and neither would you. Get your heads out of the sand, guys and gals: Boeing doesn’t have to negotiate with you anymore. They will just move away. You’ve got a chance to think for yourselves, and do what’s right for Boeing, its entire work force, its customers and suppliers.
Be team members, and change for the better.
– Conrad Rupp, Renton
Plastic bags for plastic wings?
Could it be that, secretly, Boeing is behind the plastic grocery bag ban because it needs plastic bags for the wing repair on the 787 Dreamliner?
– Ed Anderson, Kirkland
July 23, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Washington senators vote foolishly on military spending
The vote by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to spend $1.75 billion to buy seven more F-22 fighter jets ["Senate roll call: Washington state's senators vote no," seattletimes.com, Politics & Government, July 21] was a disappointing reminder of how badly hooked they are on the drug of pork-barrel military spending.
Fortunately, the majority of their colleagues did not agree with them, and the Senate cut the proposed F-22 funding from the defense budget. While there were jobs at stake, there are ways to create jobs that do not involve wasteful spending.
Currently we are spending at a rate of around 25 percent of the gross domestic product while we raise less than 20 percent of it in taxes. This is unsustainable — increases in taxes and spending cuts are inevitable.
The severity of the cuts and the tax increases will depend on whether or not responsible legislators take advantage of good opportunities to cut spending and cutting the F-22 was one of them. It is a shame Murray and Cantwell did not see that.
I hope in the future we can count on them to look out for the financial well-being of this country instead of defense contractors’ interests.
– Lee Daneker, Seattle
Murray and Cantwell giving in to pork-barrel politics
As a longtime Democrat and supporter of Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, it pains me to see them cave in to the lowest form of pork-barrel politics they have long claimed to be above.
By voting for nearly $2 billion in funding for just seven new F-22 fighters, planes the secretary of defense and the president have long claimed we don’t need and can’t use, they have fed directly into the opposition, who continue to charge — this time justifiably — that Democrats can’t find a spending program they won’t support.
We didn’t elect our senators to bring home the bacon; we elected them to make smart decisions that increase our national security, and their votes did neither. The opportunity cost of continuing the F-22A program is enormous.
Undoubtedly, they or someone will claim they had to vote this way to support jobs at home. This is a lie.
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a state that also directly benefits from the F-22 program, voted with his conscience to kill the useless and costly program. Why can’t we expect the same from our senators?
I would like to see Cantwell and Murray re-elected but not if they continue making misguided votes like this one.
– John Lederer, Seattle
Despite F-22 cut, still too much spent on military
Since I’m opposed to wasteful military spending, I’m happy the Senate voted to save $1.75 billion in the coming military authorization bill by stopping the F-22 fighter program ["Senate votes to kill fighter-jet program," News, July 22].
But looking at the bigger picture, I’m not happy with the $679.8 billion still left in the bill, more than double what it was when George W. Bush took office. And it doesn’t count the roughly $50 billion in the intelligence budget, the $15 billion to protect and upgrade nuclear weapons or the billions spent by Homeland Security. Shouldn’t all these be called defense programs, too?
It seems we’re spending almost $1 trillion a year on defense and then wondering why we can’t keep our schools open, have real health care and give our wounded veterans the care they deserve.
We can redirect our spending and not a single defense worker has to lose their job. We can shift from making jet engine turbines to wind turbines, from cruise missiles to solar panels.
I’d be glad to see my taxes go toward retooling and retraining for sustainable energy needs, for peace instead of war.
– Bill Distler, Bellingham
July 19, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Concessions must be made to keep Boeing here
Editor, The Times:
Jon Talton may be correct in his contention that executive blunders have had a bigger effect on Boeing’s competitiveness than the strikes ["Washington may benefit from Southern strategy," Business, July 12]. But as we look ahead, whether he is or isn’t correct is irrelevant.
What is relevant is the question of what it will take to persuade Boeing to locate the second Dreamliner 787 line — and probably the 737 replacement line — here. And then the question of whether the state and the unions are willing to pay the price. Boeing, just to survive, must continually improve its competitiveness. This means building airplanes wherever they can get the best overall cost, schedule and quality performance. Clearly, a no-strike commitment would be a major incentive for them to remain here, and the lack of one would be a major incentive to move.
Strikes and overly generous and restrictive contracts were major reasons for the collapse of the U.S. auto industry. If Boeing workers don’t want to end up as United Auto Workers members have, they will need to help, not hinder, Boeing in its efforts to improve its competitiveness.
This applies to Washington state as well. If the state wants to continue to enjoy the payrolls, taxes and other economic benefits brought by Boeing, they need to give Boeing incentives to stay.
– Clark B. McKee, Anacortes
Union already has a simple no-strike clause
I wonder if Jim McNerney’s job as the CEO of Boeing is to run the company into the ground –if it is, he should get a raise.
I also think that the machinists union already has a no-strike clause: If the machinists are offered decent contracts without removing benefits they’ve already fought for, they won’t strike.
– Dan McCafferty, Naches
July 13, 2009 at 4:09 PM
Some empathy for light-rail noise victims
Editor, The Times:
I can almost empathize with those suffering the noisy trains ["Tracks' din stirs Tukwila outcry," NWSunday, July 5].
However, there is a large number of us being subjected to 100 decibels on a constant basis due to the third runway at Sea-Tac. The Port of Seattle has said there will be noise studies someday.
The results of the noise studies for the second runway would more than suffice. Just move the western boundary and begin the noise mitigation process.
– Mike Adams, Des Moines
Rail priority shouldn’t be on buying art
I just read the article “Making a big deal of it” [NWArts&Life, July 12] and was so relieved knowing that I’m not one of the taxpayers footing the bill for light rail’s public art.
I can only imagine how much it must have cost for all of these “works of art.” But I can imagine how much more bang for the buck taxpayers might have gotten from those same dollars had they been used in, perhaps, a more practical way; like working on the noise problems we’re reading about or building the parking that’s needed so that people riding the rails will have a place to park those cars they’re not driving.
I live on Whidbey Island where we don’t have the traffic problems seen in the Seattle area. It’s just a shame that all that money was spent to make a few people feel good, but that’s the liberal way, it seems, and the voters voted for it.
If it feels good, then it must be the right thing to do. Glad it’s not on my buck!
– Carolyn Hendry, Oak Harbor
Charging for parking would help light-rail stations stay afloat
As happy as I am about the opening of the Tukwila light-rail station, I’m at a loss to understand the free parking.
Why free? Even if we’re charged a dollar for 24-hour parking — which should hurt nobody — a 500-car average for a year would net $182,500. No great fortune, but it would help in maintaining the station itself.
Free parking is largely a myth anyway. The concept is touted at shopping malls nationwide. But the cost, in truth, is passed along to buyers at the register. Even a customer who walks to the mall (a bizarre concept, I know) or arrives by bus, is burdened by the same higher costs, all to provide for that great American obsession — the automobile.
– John Lyons, Seattle
Dreaming of open roadways
Hooray, light rail has opened. No more congestion on Interstate 5!
Then I woke up.
– Donald F. Padelford, Seattle
Light rail no louder than third runway
It was good to see The Seattle Times’ article on light-rail noise ["Light-rail report: Neighbors right, trains are too noisy," page one, July 11] as well as Sound Transit’s response to the complaints.
But where was the coverage when the Port of Seattle opened the third Sea-Tac runway, with an impact on far more citizens of King County? The Port might learn from Sound Transit’s ability to realize the detrimental effects their work has on the community.
The Port’s response to date is that it will do some new noise monitoring and will release the information this coming November. The Port’s lack of foresight to realize the third runway compounded with the “unexpected” closure of another runway would cause such disruption is unconscionable.
– Mark Maurin, Des Moines
July 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Negotiating away right to strike is not an option
Editor, The Times:
The Boeing Machinists Union’s recent strike is a proud example of hardworking Americans’ efforts to protect themselves from the unadulterated greed of increasingly wealthy management.
Boeing routinely pays its CEOs tens of millions of dollars annually in salary, bonuses and severance. Union workers are routinely asked to make concessions, presumably so the increasingly wealthy can become obscenely, grotesquely wealthy. The union has a strong voice in the process only by having the right to strike.
Politicians like Norm Dicks and columnists like Danny Westneat ["Don't let Boeing slip away," NWWednesday, July 8] who suggest that any union even consider negotiating away the right to strike are only hastening our return to the robber-baron era when concepts like workplace-safety standards, minimum wage and weekends off were but a dream.
– Jim Trimbell, Shoreline
Maybe Puget Sound should just let Boeing go
So Boeing has decided that unless the union agrees to never again strike, they are moving out of the state ["Key lawmakers warn of Boeing ultimatum," page one, July 8]. What a bunch of manure!
Why not just return to slavery? It would be good for business. No more pesky contracts, no more benefits.
There is a special place in hell reserved for the executives who are making millions and blaming the unions for any problems they encounter.
I, for one, am disgusted. Any politician who does not remind the company and themselves of the numerous tax incentives and benefits Boeing has already received is remiss. And as we can see from past agreements, Boeing is never going to have enough to ensure that it will stay in this area.
I say we let them go, and don’t let the door hit them on the way out.
– Carol Barber, Kent
Delays are result of Boeing outsourcing, not strike
Boeing and Norm Dicks blame the machinists’ strike for the delay of the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing wants a no-strike clause, or it will pick up its jobs and move them to South Carolina.
In truth, all the machinists have done is provide livable-wage jobs with decent benefits to thousands in the Puget Sound area. Boeing, on the other hand, has outsourced its production inefficiently and “cheaply,” and it has gotten what it paid for:
- Sept. 6, 2007: Boeing announced its first delay of Dreamliner.
- Oct. 11, 2007: Boeing announced at least a six-month delay.
- Dec. 11, 2007: Boeing announced it was working through “wrinkles” that would delay the Dreamliner until “late 2008.”
- Jan. 2, 2008: Boeing listed “unresolved production problems” had pushed delivery until 2009.
- Feb. 2, 2008: Boeing transferred two executives to a “special assignment” involving production problems.
- Sept. 7, 2008 to Nov. 1, 2008: The machinists’ strike stopped production.
- June 23, 2008: Boeing released information that the problems were related to parts manufactured by Fuji and Mitsubishi that don’t meet properly in 36 separate places where the wings meet the body.
Boeing will move to South Carolina if they can’t break the union, but we all know that it is Boeing’s “doing things on the cheap” that was responsible for the delays, not the machinists.
– Thalia Syracopoulos, Seattle
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