June 27, 2007

Flightblogger in the News

Tip pays off for aviation enthusiasts
By Kevin Cotlove - KOMO TV

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EVERETT, Wash. -- Photographer and aviation enthusiast Charles Conklin managed to get a few pictures of the first nearly-finished Boeing 787 as it rolled out of an assembly hangar early Tuesday morning.

Conklin said he got a tip that the plane would be rolling out sometime late Monday or early Tuesday, but the informant wasn't sure exactly when it would happen.

He drove to the factory with his camera and telephoto lens so he could get shots from outside the Boeing property. For the first two hours he just sat and waited.

"I wasn't sure whether the tip was going to pay off," he said. "I basically gave myself a cutoff of midnight, and that's when things finally started happening."

The hangar doors opened and the 787 jet was rolled out and into a nearby paint hangar. The whole process took about 40 minutes, Conklin said.

Conklin, who is also a private pilot, said he's always been interested in aviation but didn't realize how popular the first photos of the nearly-complete 787 would be.

"I'm kind of surprised," he said.

The photos have been picked up by several news organizations and many aviation web sites and blogs.

Conklin said his tipster was Jon Ostrower, who operates the Flightblogger web site.

Jon started the site in March and said he's seen traffic to the blog grow steadily with his coverage of the 787.

He started receiving tips from Boeing employees about assembly and development of the aircraft, and said that he knew back in May an approximate date for the 787's move to the paint hangar.

When he received tips with a more exact time he passed the info on to Conklin, who was a reader of his blog.

"I was amazed that anyone had actually used my tip," he said. "(Conklin) just took it and ran with it."

Ostrower says he has no connection to the Boeing Co. and works in Boston in an unrelated field.

He said he's always been fascinated with planes and was amazed when Conklin's photos showed up in his e-mail inbox on Tuesday.

"From an aviation enthusiast's standpoint it really is extraordinary," he said of the 787's progress.

The Boeing employees who tipped him about the rollout weren't trying to spoil anything, Ostrower said, but rather wanted the world to see what they've been up to and the hard work that has been put in to the new aircraft.

"They deserve all the credit in the world," he said, adding that he hopes to be here to see the plane's first flight in person.

The new jetliner is due to be delivered in May 2008, and is now sold out for delivery until 2013.

Boeing employees have been rushing to finish the jet in time for its formal rollout ceremony on July 8, 2007.

The 787 will be the first large commercial airliner built mostly from light, sturdy composite materials instead of aluminum, making the plane more fuel-efficient and less expensive to maintain.

Boeing has lined up a vast network of suppliers around the globe that are manufacturing large pieces of the 787, which are then flown on a superfreighter to the final assembly plant in Everett, north of Seattle, where the plane is essentially snapped together.


Adrian said...

way to go! I've been following everything pretty closely, the A.net thread is huge, congrats on making the news...

Anthony said...

Well, if it has to get rolled into the paintshop, then it has to be rolled out of the paintshop. I wonder when that will be taking place.

Anonymous said...

I hope that Boeing management sees how excited we are to follow this 787.....and does not punish or in any way harm people passing information that leads to these kind of pictures.

I feel like a proud parent watching this all-new airplane being built. Can't wait to see it fly.


(nice site, BTW)

Anonymous said...

I hope this damn plane fails to live up to the hype, the hours Boeing has placed on it's people to get this out on time has absolutely fuined my personal life and what was a wonderful four year relationship. I hate this plane like I've never hated anything.

Yasobara said...

Dear anonymous,
You may be pissed that 787 ruined your personal life. But a year from now when 787s are delivered to airlines of the world, you will feel like a proud father and you would want to say to the world "I was there when the first one was assembled."

Anonymous said...

Dear Yasobara,

Well I'm not going to be a proud father because my man has been living at Boeing so much he found a female coworker to bond with instead of coming home to his family. Because she "understands" what he's going through with this plane instead of the woman that sacrificed her needs because this plane was so important. Tell my kid how good he's going to feel in a year without a dad. He's going to be at rollout with the other woman, yeah I'm going to be so thrilled.

Yasobara said...

Dear anonymous,

I am sorry that I completely misunderstood your point of view. Are you sure your man is flirting with another woman at work? When I was working long hours on 787, I did not have time to flirt.

Let's make your message a wake-up call to all men and women spending too much time with 787 and not enough time with their family. "Your family is sacrificing their needs while you are spending time with 787. They need you. Go home. Take a vacation."

Yasobara - recovered workaholic

Anonymous said...

Dear yasabora,

Thank you.

Yes, I'm sure. He gave me the old we've grown distant speech, started dieting and had me pick out new nice clothes for him to wear to work. I had hoped it was just the challenges of the job, he was promoted to chairman recently.

I gave him a lot of space to deal with the stress of the job, but it was too much space. I've given up family vacations, road trips and bonding time for this plane; if I had a chance to do it over, I'd say hell no, Boeing isn't going to own us!

Thanks for your call to others, I hope the mistakes I've made can help someone else. And I still hate this plane.

Anonymous said...

Well Boeing DOES have a policy about leaking information to the public good or bad. So whomever leaked this info and the news article info are really risking their jobs.

Anonymous said...

For those who don't work at Boeing. It is very true that overtime is a real problem at Boeing. During the last up cycle in the mid 90's I practically lived there. 12 hrs a day and 8 hrs on weekends. At one point I worked 16 weeks in row before taking a weekend off. This nearly cost me my marriage. I really feel for those who support the workers. This isn't going to get any better any time soon since Boeing has stated that they want to ramp up which really equals more overtime. This is just the way it goes at Boeing love it or leave it.

Anonymous said...

He's how it works the the Machinists at Boeing. Boeing can designate overtime 9-12 hrs a day and 2 weekends in a row before you can have a weekend off. The problem is that the 3rd weekend becomes all double time for both Sat and Sun. The 1st to weekends is one and a half overtime for Sat and double for Sun. By the 3rd weekend you want to work to make the real money and you get trapped. Many become accustomed to those overtime pay checks and there families become accustomed to them as well. So what do you do? It's easy to say go home and be with your family if your not accustomed to those overtime pay checks. There is a contract that ends next Sept. If you are smart you save the overtime for next year in case the Company forces a strike. I'm not getting into why the Company would force a strike so please don't ask.