Boeing

Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane is planning a public memorial service for three of its airmen killed in a mid-air explosion over central Asia.

The cause of the air refueling tanker accident last Friday remains under investigation, but the crash renews attention on a Boeing Company contract to replace the Air Force's aging tanker fleet.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has signed legislation to give the Boeing Co. $120 million in incentives for its expansion plans in the state.

Haley's spokesman Rob Godfrey told The Associated Press that the Republican governor signed the bill into law Tuesday afternoon.

Legislation giving the Boeing Co. $120 million in incentives for their expansion plans in South Carolina is one vote away from reaching the governor's desk.

The House voted 115-2 Wednesday to approve the bill. Another vote would send it to Gov. Nikki Haley, who is sure to sign it. The Senate approved the measure last week.

Associated Press

The Boeing Co. will lay off approximately 800 local workers in the Puget Sound area as part of a larger plan to reduce local headcount by 2,000 to 2,300 people, the company said Friday.

Spokesman Doug Alder said affected employees are machinists who handle refurbishment and change incorporation — implementing necessary post-production updates — to the 787 and the 747-8 models.

Jonathan Standridge and Colton Harris-Moore made an odd couple as they sat together in the visiting room of a Washington state prison one day last spring.

Standridge, 57, is a project manager at Boeing, one of the world's most important aviation companies. Harris-Moore, 21, is the "Barefoot Bandit," a world-famous airplane thief who is serving a seven-year sentence after a sensational run from the law in stolen boats, cars and planes.

NTSB

Boeing will soon start testing its redesigned Dreamliner battery. Battery experts say that means engineers will have to experiment with flammable lithium-ion batteries to see if, well, they explode. 

Engineers subject the batteries to something called safety abuse testing — crushing them, sticking nails in them — to see what happens.

So how do engineers manage to stay safe? 

The trick, according to battery expert Dan Doughty, is to not get too close.

NTSB

Federal safety investigators so far have been unable to pinpoint the root cause of a 787 Dreamliner battery fire. At the same time, the Federal Aviation Administration is weighing whether to let Boeing move ahead with tests of a new battery design. Does the FAA have to wait for the safety investigation to finish? The short answer is, no.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing has been – until recently – one of the last remaining places in the corporate world where you could still get a pension in retirement. Now Boeing’s technical workers are being asked to drop the pension for new employees – it’s part of a broader strategy at the company.

Boeing’s refusing to make any improvements in the contract it has offered technical workers. The union says it will now put that same offer out for another vote, a move that an analyst characterizes as giving up.

David Shane

Boeing executives say they’re cutting costs out of the defense side of their business to cope with shrinking U.S. military spending.

Here in the Puget Sound region, we associate Boeing with commercial jets. But the company has a massive defense business making everything from radar systems to fighter jets. That side of the business has trimmed billions of dollars in recent years because of declining U.S. military spending.

Two reports on troubles with lithium ion batteries aboard Boeing's 787 Dreamliner:

In Japan, where a battery on an All Nippon Airlines 787 overheated and began smoking on Jan. 16, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, the Transport Ministry released a report Wednesday saying it found that the battery in question had been improperly wired.

Elaine Thompson / AP

It's a split decision from the union representing Boeing Co.'s engineers and technical workers.

The engineers voted Tuesday to accept the aerospace company's four-year contract offer while technical workers rejected it and authorized a future strike.

Bill Dugovich of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace says the votes mean the new contract for the 15,550 engineers is in place.

He says negotiators hope to resume contract talks soon on behalf of the 7,400 technical workers.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing is facing the specter of a possible engineers’ strike even as the company races to get the 787 Dreamliner back in the air. Tonight, the engineers’ union will tally votes to see whether members have rejected the contract and authorized a strike.

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.

Airbus may back away from using lithium-ion batteries on its next generation plane. Does that mean Boeing needs to do the same on its Dreamliner? Not necessarily, according to an expert at MIT.

Boeing has hundreds of people working overtime to figure out why the lithium-ion batteries on its Dreamliner are more prone to smoke or fire than the company had thought.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel says the company has used lithium-ion batteries in satellites for almost a decade and that they made the most sense for the fuel-efficient, light-weight 787.

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