Inside Opinion

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Tag: Boeing


China’s cyber spies could compromise US defense

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

China has an ingenious way of saving billions in military research and development: Just steal it from other countries, primarily the United States.

The Washington Post reports that Chinese military hackers have accessed data from 37 American weapons programs and 29 other defense-related technologies. Some observers think the stolen information is why China’s J-20 stealth fighters are so similar to the U.S.’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The Post’s report comes on the heels of accusations earlier this month from the Obama administration that China has also hacked into computers of U.S. government

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The Boeing 737 lesson: Good schools = good jobs

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

A highly trained work force was a decisive factor – probably the decisive factor – in Boeing’s decision to build the 737 Max in Washington. Paying attention, lawmakers?

Supporters of a first-rate educational system – ourselves among them – tend to talk themselves silly about the connection between schooling, economic growth and jobs. But abstract statistics aren’t nearly as persuasive as the 20,000 jobs the 737 Max project will nail down in this state for many years to come.

The equation behind this triumph was simple: Good public schools + work force training + university engineering programs = busy assembly lines in Renton. And all of the above hinges on healthy funding for Washington’s K-12 system and public colleges.

But let’s give abundant credit to the Machinists Union whose members actually put Boeing’s airplanes together in this state.

The best training on the planet isn’t worth a rusty rivet if it doesn’t punch in when the shift starts. In years past, the machinists have been overly infatuated with strikes that have disrupted delivery schedules and exacted high costs from both Boeing and the airlines that buy its jets.

The company no doubt did plenty to poison its relationship with the machinists, but the fact remains that the strikes weighed heavily against expansion in Washington – as demonstrated by Boeing’s creation of a new Dreamliner production line in right-to-work South Carolina.
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Aviation biofuel plans could be a boon for the Northwest

Camelina plant shows promise as the source of aviation biofuel. (MCT)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

A humble plant grown in ancient times for its oil is making a welcome comeback – as a source of jet fuel. And the Pacific Northwest is well poised to be a leader in this growing and important industry.

Camelina, a flowering plant related to mustard, is being tested as a biofuel for military and commercial aviation.

A 50-50 blend already has been used successfully by the Air Force’s Thunderbirds squadron. And Boeing’s 747-8 freighter that flew trans-Atlantic into the Paris Air Show last week used a mixture of 85 percent kerosene and 15 percent camelina oil to power its four new General Electric engines.

Camelina-based biofuel is exciting for a number of reasons. It produces about 80 percent less carbon emissions than conventional jet fuel. It can be grown with little water or nitrogen fertilizer. And it doesn’t displace food crops, as is the case with corn used to produce ethanol.
After the oil is extracted from the camelina seeds, the residual meal can be used as feed for livestock and poultry. (Bonus: Research shows that turkeys fed the camelina meal produce meat rich in omega-3 fatty acid.)
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The right way to win Boeing jobs for Washington state

A 737 is worked on at the Boeing Co. assembly facility in Renton. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Quick quiz: Which event this week has the most potential to create aerospace jobs in Washington?

A) The National Labor Relations Board hearing in Seattle on whether Boeing violated labor law when it decided to locate its second production line for the 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina.

B) Congressional Republicans’ counter proceeding, “Unionization Through Regulation: The NLRB’s Holding Pattern on Free Enterprise,” to be staged in North Charleston, home of said Dreamliner plant.

C) A Washington state trade delegation’s trip to Europe to woo aerospace suppliers who could play a pivotal role in determining where Boeing builds the successor to its 737 plane.
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The tanker goes to Boeing, comes to Washington

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Washington needs all the morale boosts it can get right now. It got a big one Thursday when Boeing won the $35 billion contract to build the Air Force’s new aerial refueling tankers.

Hooray for the home team, or something like that. The Boeing Co. is now headquartered in Chicago, but most of the expected 11,000 tanker-dependent jobs will be created in Western Washington; perhaps 1,000 of those jobs will go to Kansas.

The planned gas-station-in-the-sky will be a modified version of the 767, an old model Boeing had planned to

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A Boeing-Daley-Rahm axis?

U.S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby hails from Alabama, one of the states that lost big potential payrolls when the Air Force decided to award the Boeing Co. the $35 billion contract to build a new fleet of aerial refueling tankers.

“I’m disappointed but not surprised,” he told The New York Times. “Only Chicago politics could tip the scales in favor of Boeing’s inferior plane. EADS clearly offers the more capable aircraft. If this decision stands, our warfighters will not get the superior equipment they deserve.”

There’s always a political subtext when a federal contract this immense is up

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This time, let’s have a non-botched tanker decision

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

The third time’s a charm – we devoutly hope – with the Air Force’s snake-bit effort to replace its ancient KC-135 aerial refueling tankers.

Last Thursday, The Boeing Co. and its archrival European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. submitted yet another pair of bids for the $35 billion-plus contract to build America’s next tanker. The Pentagon expects to pick a winner fairly quickly, perhaps in a matter of weeks.

Anticipation is high, and not just because of the money and jobs at stake. No one can be quite sure the Air Force won’t blow this decision once more.

Aerial refueling is the linchpin of most of America’s global military operations, and it is approaching the breaking point.

The oldest KC-135s rolled out more than a half century ago, when color television was a rare novelty. The military was supposed to start getting new planes five years ago.

But the first attempt to award the contract collapsed in a corruption scandal, and the second fell apart in 2008 when auditors discovered that the Air Force had made billion-dollar blunders when it awarded the work to EADS.
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Two budget deficits, two different paths

Here in Washington, legislators and the governor are looking at a $4.6 billion budget deficit. Higher user fees and drastic cuts in state government are likely part of the solution.

The state of Illinois, facing a $15 billion budget deficit, is taking a much different path to solving its financial woes: It’s capping state spending growth at 2 percent and raising income taxes on individuals and businesses. The Democrat-controlled General Assembly quickly passed the tax increases before the new assembly – which is slightly less Democratic – was sworn in at noon today.

Personal income taxes will increase

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