Aerospace

Ashley Gross

Everett is a step closer to becoming the home of Boeing’s next wide-body jet assembly. The company has started demolition work on three buildings that will be torn down to make way for the new 777X composite wing center. 

NASA

Washington companies could have a major role in future trips to the moon, an asteroid or Mars. NASA engineers are in Seattle this week meeting with contractors working on the Orion program, designed to launch astronauts far into space, well beyond where the space shuttle traveled.

The problems surrounding Boeing’s flagship 787 Dreamliner are likely to dominate an annual aerospace conference taking place north of Seattle this week.

The conference will draw about 400 people from airplane manufacturers, suppliers and airlines. Conference topics include biofuels, airplane interiors and the health of the airline industry.

But the issue looming over the entire meeting will be how long it will take to fix the Dreamliner’s batteries and get the plane back in the air for passengers.

Associated Press

Washington State inspires envy all over the globe for the large and growing number of high-wage jobs located in the Puget Sound region.

At the heart of our economy is Boeing and the aerospace sector that has grown up around it. Government leaders, unions and policy experts have been patting themselves on the back lately for keeping and growing these jobs.

They also know the competition never rests.

Boeing

The same day Boeing announced it is employing more than 80,000 workers in Washington for the first time in nearly a dozen years, Sen. Maria Cantwell said the state needs 21,000 more educated and trained workers to fill jobs in the aviation industry in the next decade.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Governor Chris Gregoire is directing that $3 million in federal Workforce Investment Act funds go to aerospace training programs in Washington.

She made the announcement Tuesday while speaking from a balcony overlooking the 737 line at Boeing's Renton factory.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

It's a day of disappointment in the northwest for fans of US space exploration. 

Seattle's Museum of Flight got official word this morning that it will not be home to one of the three space shuttles NASA is retiring.  And it won't get the prototype Enterprise (which was only used for test flights and never reached space) either.

The shuttles are going to:

NASA photo

NASA says Seattle's Museum of Flight won't get to display one of the retiring space shuttles.

Graphic courtesy of Museum of Flight.

The odds are about one in seven.  That's the skinny on Seattle's bid to become a host site for one of NASA's retiring space shuttles. 

Seattle Times writer Jack Broom sums up the situation nicely in that paper's latest story on the question. Broom notes the Museum of Flight's chances were diminished slightly last week:

AP

The World Trade Organization has ruled that some U.S. government aid to aircraft maker Boeing Co. is illegal. 

The WTO's report details findings first issued in private to the EU and U.S. in January. It says the EU has demonstrated the U.S. gave Boeing "export subsidies that are prohibited" and recommends the U.S. either withdraw them or "take steps to remove the adverse affects." 

Ted S. Warren / AP

Here's some good news in a down economy.  Michelle Dunlop writes in The Herald of Everett that Boeing is hiring 100 people a week and has been doing it for the past several months.

Dunlop writes:

Image courtesy of Boeing

It's been a big week for aerospace in the Puget Sound region. The Boeing company turned in its final bid for the air force refueling tanker on Thursday. CEO Jim McNerney took his strongest stance yet for building a 737 successor. And earlier this week, analysts and suppliers heard briefings on the state of the industry at an aerospace convention in Lynnwood

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

US Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) says the US Air Force contract for the next generation of refueling tankers should not be awarded until questions are answered about the military's latest snafu. 

A decision on who wins the $35-billion contract is expected as early as next month. 

In November, the Air Force admitted that it had inadvertently mixed up two packages of information.  It sent details of Boeing's bid to Airbus-parent EADS and of EADS's bid to Boeing. 

AP

Most of the Boeing Company is taking a break  for the holidays.  But, not crews involved in test flight activities for the 787 Dreamliner.  The new jet is resuming test flights after a six-week grounding because of an electrical fire.

© Edgar Turner

Three books by Pacific Northwest authors have come to my attention this season that would please airplane aficionados of many persuasions. 

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