Ice Road Tourist

We’re big fans of the History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers (also available on Comcast On Demand), so when the opportunity arose to take a photo-tour that included Alaska’s famed Dalton Highway (aka the Haul Road) featured in Ice Road Truckers in the last two seasons en route to see polar bears, the Northern Lights and Alaska’s famed scenery, we leapt at the chance. We previewed our trip in our North to Alaska post.

Carlile Trucking Co. is featured in Ice Road Trucker. This is at the Coldfoot truck stop on the Haul Road.

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Boeing skeptical of CSeries, C919, MS-21 EIS

We wrote the following article for Commercial Aviation Online, which appeared yesterday. In case anyone wonders, there is no relation between John Hamilton and us.


The chief engineer of the 737 program is skeptical of the emerging competitors’ airplanes and the announced entry-into-service (EIS) dates, and this has a clear influence on what Boeing will do to enhance, re-engine or replace the 737 in the coming years.

John Hamilton, in a media briefing on the roll-out 26 October of the 737’s Boeing Sky Interior and a refresher course on the technical enhancements that will be in place next year, said Bombardier is facing new technologies it hasn’t worked with before that places in doubt the promised 2013 EIS of the 110-130 seat CS100. This is a potential replacement for the Boeing 737-500 Classic and the 737-600 Next Generation aircraft.

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Flight tests pending for enhanced 737

Flight tests are about to begin on a Boeing 737 ultimately destined for Continental Airlines that incorporate aerodynamic improvements designed to reduce fuel consumption by 1%.

Boeing has done some “cleaning up” of the aerodynamics by streamlining the anti-collision lights, some exhaust ports and slat-to-wing connections, plus some improvements around the main gear wheel bay.

Flights will continue through April, when the plane will be refreshed and delivered to Continental, which is also receiving the new Boeing Sky Interior (see the following post).

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Boeing Sky Interior delivery today

Boeing is delivering its first 737 “Boeing Sky Interior” today to FlyDubai. The interior is inspired by the 787, which was also adapted to the 747-8.

Here is a link to a feature story prepared by Boeing’s Corp Com specialist Bernard Choi that was dated last July.

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New delay likely in tanker competition

We have been told by two sources, including one that is very close to the competition, that the Air Force is likely to announce a new delay soon in evaluation and award of a contract in the long-running KC-X tanker competition.

One source says the delay will be until the first quarter; the other didn’t have a new timeline but said the USAF was preparing to notify the competitors any time now.

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Boost aerospace education, support Boeing in cybersecurity

In a presentation we prepared for the 2010 Governor’s Aerospace Summit organized by the Aerospace Future’s Alliance, we urged the State of Washington to beef up its financial support for aerospace training and education; the creation of a Washington Council on Cybersecurity; the creation of dedicated cybersecurity course in colleges and universities; and the support of Boeing’s Cybersecurity unit of Defense, Space & Securities division.

The presentation may be downloaded here: AFA Oct 2010

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New study on KC-X, and other news

There is a new report on the KC-X tanker situation, in this 16-page PDF. A hat-tip to Addison Schonland and IAG.

Airbus and Boeing aren’t rushing to re-bid on India’s tanker program after the country previously canceled a deal, according to Aviation Week.

Aviation Week also has this article: Additional fuel may pay off in tanker competition. Not good news for Boeing. This quote the 16 page report, above.

National Defense Magazine has this item: Northrop Grumman has no regrets walking from the competition.

DOD Buzz has this take on the above-mentioned 16-page report. DOD Buzz reports that the authors of the study have no connection to EADS or Boeing.

“Earning” the right to build airplanes at Boeing

The Boeing Co. seems to be at never-ending crossroads.

The development of the 787 was to be a game-changer with an entry-into-service planned for May 2008. If this had happened on time, this innovative airplane would have set Airbus back five years and positioned Boeing to proceed with a new 737 and/or 777 years ahead of Airbus.

The 787 is a game-changing airplane, all right. But the strategic game changed in the wrong direction because of the outsourcing screw ups and mismanagement of the program. The 747-8 suffered from the trickle-down effect of diverted resources to the 787, and new airplane programs ground to a halt.

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Boeing and Beyond: A KIRO News special tonight (Update)

Update, Oct. 20: KIRO will stream live the news special tonight. Here is the link, which may have other stuff until the program commences at 7pm PDT.

The show will be archived on KIRO’s Boeing page here.

KIRO TV (CBS-Seattle) will have an hour-long special about Boeing Oct. 20 with a rebroadcast Oct. 25. The KIRO press release is below the jump.

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Air Force chief ambiguous on tanker selection timing

The Hill, a specialty publication reporting on matters of “the Hill,” aka Congress, reports today that the chief of the US Air Force won’t confirm selection of the winner for the KC-X program will be selected this year.

Heidi Wood, the aerospace analyst at Morgan Stanley, concluded some time ago that the selection would slip to 2011. There have been previous hints at this.

Also while we were on holiday: the Government Accountability Office rejected that final elements of the protest by US Aerospace for its late filing of a bid. We don’t think this silly proposal wouldn’t have gained traction even if the filing had been on time. This leaves Boeing and EADS as the only bidders for the KC-X.

Here is a link to a piece we did for Armed Forces Journal magazine’s October issue.