Meet George Jetson,
His Boy Elroy,
Jane, His wife
Just like I partook last Saturday night in Garrison Keillor’s farewell tour, I’ve been milking my own little farewell tour at work for a while now, but I’ve got just three weeks left. People have been telling me there that I’m smiling too much, like that’s a bad thing, but lately their tune has changed to your lucky to be getting out when you are. You see dear friends all is not happy in Mudville. Ever since late last year when mighty Casey struck out, people have been all down in the mouth. In the immediate aftermath of that loss, some people were let go from Spacely Sprockets, including Mr. Spacely himself. Mrs. Spacely took his place, which is fine, except that she has been saying some things that people don’t like, like, “We’ve got to get over the fact that we are no longer in the fighter business.” Say what? Now, she has walked this statement back a bit, but meanwhile our Rangers fan-friends down in Texas are going all, Snap! God only knows what our customers must be thinking.
Like Keillor, I’ve taken my farewell tour on the road, sort of speak. As part of the Spacely Sprockets ‘On the Move’ campaign, I’ve been getting my steps in. It has been hot this month, so walking the air-conditioned factory floors is a welcomed relief from hot asphalt on the edge of the tarmac. It was on one such sojourns that I discovered a display announcing the standing-up of the 777x wing assembly line. Work from Puget Sound is being moved to Saint Louis. In Michael Crichton’s 1996 novel, “Airframe” the central tension of the story is whether this allegorical commercial aircraft manufacturer will “giveaway the wing” to the Japanese. Well Spacely Sprockets eventually did that with the 787, so why not now throw Saint Louis a bone? Back when Spacely Sprockets was shopping for a new venue for the 777x, all the while it was negotiating with its Seattle unions, Saint Louis put together an attractive offer. The unions signed, but we did get a piece of the job and to hear Crichton, it was the best piece.
The neat-o-keen aspect of this new wing and with a new wing you have a new airplane, is that the wingtips fold up, just like on a carrier plane. I’m not talking about winglets here, but actual folding wings. The above pictured white elephant has a wingspan of 262’, which necessitates special gates to dock, load and unload this cattle car. This severely limits the number of airports that can handle the A380. The 777x in its longest variant has a wingspan of 235’, which is just too long to use a normal gate. So, the last 12’ of each wing will fold up to allow the plane to slip into a normal gate. I’ll miss this sort of gee-whiz aspect of work, but on the other hand, I have been smiling a lot lately.