19 June 2007

If it's not Boeing, I'm not going...
to the Paris Airshow

The Paris Air Show is under way, June 18-24, 2007. Makes me kind of misty. No, not for Paris, although it would be nice to have a vacation. It just takes me back to the days B.C. - before children - when I was working at Boeing. Ah, those were the days.

An Air France Boeing 747 at the 2005 airshow

Airplanes are my husband's true love. He knows more about airplanes than anyone I know. If he was single, instead of married with two kids, he would still be working at Boeing. He loved Boeing and loved his job. There is just something about working at a company that builds such marvels that gives you incredible job satisfaction.

Working at Boeing was really interesting, challenging and rewarding, but I certainly didn't have the passion for planes that my husband did. Boeing is a big behemouth with a culture and product line that changes slowly. I learned that when I went to work for Intel and the pace was never slower than a marathon (I preferred Boeing to Intel waaayyyy better). Boeing is the last great (commercial) aircraft manufacturer in the US. Airbus, its only rival, a consortium of European interests, has eaten up some of Boeing's market share. Reasons for this are enough for a thesis.

When I left Boeing, I was working in Manufacturing Research and Development. Prior to that, I worked on the 777 program in the systems areas including flight controls, mechanical-hydraulics, and environmental controls. There is nothing like being in on the ground floor of a new product, especially one that is so large and complex as a plane. At the roll out, a big production in itself, I had an incredible sense of pride, along with thousands of others, who had gotten this machine from paper...to parts...to the sky.

I hope Boeing garners some big orders at the airshow. Airbus seems to be having a rough time as of late. Northwest Airlines, a perennial purchaser of Airbus products, has announced it will buy Boeing planes, 787s, the next time around. 'Bout time.

777 flight controls - part of the plane I worked on


Ma Beck said...

The 777 is the best airplane I've ever flown on.
That first class - that's the BOMB DIGGITY!
(Hell no, I can't afford a ticket in first class. I used to work for an airline.)

swissmiss said...

My sad, but true tale is that I've never even flown on a 777. They were very nice in mock up, but most of the airlines I flew on had old Boeing planes or old McD-Douglas ones. I'm jealous!

evergoose79 said...

First of all, you have a really peaceful page. You should add the Missions in San Antonio under your Catholic Site, very beautiful and peaceful churches. I actualy found your site by accident, I was googling "I like to work for Boeing" to get some insight, since I am trying to get a contract job with them (cross my fingers) and your blog was on the first page of searches, so I checked it out. Actually I feel a little more confident now since I stopped by your blog, it is sort of a weird feeling.
Also, how do you feel about the miraculous landing in London because you seem to have a lot of pride with the 777?
Well it was nice to meet you through your blog, you seem to be pretty interesting person.

swissmiss said...

Welcome to my blog! Kind of surprised to hear that my site came up so high on the google list.

Best wishes on getting a contract job with Boeing. Is it in engineering? In Seattle? I really liked working there, but with any company, it's not a nirvana (had to get the Kurt Cobain reference in there :) ). However, of all the places I worked, this was my favorite...by far.

The incident in London...not too familiar with it. I heard some report about the engines sucking in a flock of geese and that's what may have caused the plane to lose power. I kind of doubt this since the engines are HUGE and they test them by tossing 20 lb frozen turkeys into them. Wind sheer isn't likely to cause a complete loss of power, but could explain the short landing. Beyond that, I have no idea what happened to the plane and am interested to hear what they find. Glad it wasn't too serious. If the plane did in fact lose power, then there is a battery back up, but it would be a miracle to land a plane without power! The pilot can still operate the flight controls manually without power, so that's probably how he was able to "glide" in. How so many redundant systems seemingly failed is a good question.

Good luck! Hope you get the job!