Saturday, December 12


What can I say, I'm still a Seattle boy. UPDATE: They did it!

First flight of the Boeing 787, December 15,2009. Light that candle!

The good ol' USA can STILL get a few things done, even if it takes a while. First flights of planes I worked on are always an inspiration to me, and this is the one I feel the most for since 1990. I DO still get the thrill. Accountants and lawyers are fine, but engineers make it happen! Make no mistake about it, the future of American aviation and manufacturing is riding on their shoulders this coming week, and THEY are standing on the shoulders of giants. My mother-in-law is smiling down from Heaven, and life is more than just about bikes...

obsolete Boeing logo, but it's still the one I love the most

If you need added inspiration, there's a video, featuring a Bell product, of course. I have no doubt that Boeing will live up to the standard. Any of my engineers that look at this will now know what a "Yeager handle" is if they watch between minute 2:45 and 4. I often think of the movie, and particularly of Yeager, when I ride my bike in heavy traffic. The technology has dramatically changed, but thorough preparation, professionalism, and, perhaps, a smidge of "the right stuff" will see them through.

an American hero, portrayed by Sam Shepard

Godspeed Boeing!


twister said...

A thrilling bit of cinematic history. Once, years ago, in Arlington I met a man who said he was Chuck Yeager's cousin. He was an Air Force man and he shared a facial resemblance with Chuck Yeager, so I believed him. Growing up on the west side of Fort Worth downwind from the take off path of what was then Carswell AFB and General Dynamics it wasn't too uncommon to hear the sound barrier being broken. "put the spurs to her Chuck" it's amazing, really the leap in technology the world has taken in less than a hundred years.

Eliot said...

Can you imagine the restraint the pilots had to have had to not take it on up? Wow.

Really looking forward to this!

Steve A said...

The restraint is a measure of the pilots' professionalism. Despite the movie, Yeager always made it a point to learn the system inside and out, better than those that designed it.

Knowledge and skill in combination help keep you from getting killed when everything goes wrong at once. That's true in aviation - and when riding a bike. It's also true in motoring, which is why taking a high performance driving class is an excellent idea, and why Autocross is affordable "basic extra training" for motorists.

I can't really say I endorse Tex Johnston's "Gold Cup Roll," even though he was correct in noting it was perfectly safe. It wasn't on the flight card and there was no emergency that made it necessary. Still, it WOULD be cool to see a 787 do a barrel roll after takeoff as it heads out over Puget Sound...

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