Saturday, January 31, 2015

Aerospace Companies: Boeing

Boeing's current logo
Boeing is one of the largest airplane manufacturers in the world and it is the second largest defence contractor in the world after Lockheed Martin. The company is based out of Chicago and it led by the current Chairman and CEO James McNerney. The whole company is organised into 5 divisions: Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Defence, Space and Security, Engineering, Operations and Technology, Boeing Capital and Boeing Shared Services Group.

William. E. Boeing
Boeing was founded by William. E. Boeing, who acquired a harbour near Seattle, which later became his first manufacturing point. The company was named Pacific Aero Products Co. and then came to Delaware. It usually made seaplanes, and it first plane was built at a hanger on the shore of Lake Union in Seattle. In May 1917, the company was renamed as Boeing Airplane Company. They shipped two Model C seaplanes to Florida, in lieu of WWI, where the planes were flown for the Navy. The Navy liked it so much that they asked for 50 more; thus, the company moved to a larger ex-shipbuilding facility called Boeing Plant I. The company stayed in Seattle due to the availability of spruce wood.

A replica of the Boeing Model I.
After the war ended, a lot of cheap old military planes entered the commercial market, putting many air companies out of business. However, some, including Boeing, survived by selling other things like boats, furniture, other wooden items, etc. Over the next decade, Boeing developed a host of mail/passenger planes and the PW-9 and P-12 fighters, which made it a leading manufacturer of fighters over the nest 10 years.

A Boeing 377 Stratocruiser
In the 1930s and 40s, Boeing began building all-metal airmail planes, and also the Boeing 247, an all metal commercial plane which could fly on one engine only. After 1935, the company struck a deal with Pan American to develop the 314 Clipper, a huge luxurious seaplane which was incredibly safe and could fly long distances. The company then completed the 307 Stratoliner, the first pressurized passenger craft which could fly above 20000 feet. During WWII, Boeing developed the B-29 and B-17 bombers. This made them a huge profit, but the end of the war resulted in mass employment, and the company was forced to come back through the sale of the 377 Stratocrusier, a luxurious 4-engined passenger plane, and military variants of it designed for troop transport.

A Boeing 707 being loaded.
In the 50s, jet technology had been introduced, and Boeing launched the 707, the company's first jet-powered passenger liner. It also manufactured the B-52 Stratofortress, an extremely successful bomber which is still in service today. The company also used its short-range missile technology, then used to take down aircraft at short distances, the build an intercontinental missile. Boeing also manufactured hundreds of small gas turbine engines which were used for boats and helicopters.

This post will continue in Aerospace Companies: Boeing (Continued), which is linked here:

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