The long-forgotten flight that sent Boeing off course

A company once driven by engineers became driven by finance, writes Jerry Useem for The Atlantic.

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CHICAGO - The flight that put the Boeing Company on course for disaster lifted off a few hours after sunrise. It was good flying weather—temperatures in the mid-40s with a slight breeze out of the southeast—but oddly, no one knew where the 737 jetliner was headed. The crew had prepared three flight plans: one to Denver. One to Dallas. And one to Chicago, writes Jerry Useem for The AtlanticContinue reading original article

The Intelligent Aerospace take:

November 22, 2019-Useem's piece for The Atlantic begins with Boeing's PR move to unveil where it was going to relocate its corporate headquarters by - what else - flying to the city it chose. In the long-form story, Useem argues that the culture at the aerospace giant changed with the move of executives from the Pacific Northwest, where its engineers were, to Chicago. In addition, Useem writes that the culture change came in tandem with the acquisition of McDonnell Douglas in which execs from the acquired company ended up steering the ship - or rather, plane - in the new joint venture.

“There was a little surprise that a guy running a failing company ended up with so much power,” the former Boeing executive vice president Dick Albrecht told Useem at the time.

Useem argues that with executives at a literal distance from its defense, rocket, and passenger aircraft divisions, engineering was put on the back burner to focus more on finance. It's an interesting, well-written piece in my opinion that aviation professionals may glean some insight from.

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Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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