*By volume.

Was inspired to do this after reading this post. There are a ton of interesting things that go on in the building(s), in the industry, and I think many people would be interested to learn, so ask away.

As a disclaimer, I'm not on the 787 program so Google your questions about the battery issues.

1 pm PST: Taking a break for now.
3 pm PST: Back in action. Answers may be slower now since the questions have died down but I'll still be around until tomorrow morning or so.
7:30 pm PST: That's it for today. Thanks for all the questions. I'll finish up tomorrow morning because you rascals are a fun bunch.
6:50 pm PST, Feb 26th: I think this guy had some bad experiences a long time ago and is exaggerating his stories.

Comments: 481 • Responses: 108  • Date: 

shiv4m57 karma

I'm going to be straight forward here, can you get me a job at Boeing?

KC-46A67 karma

I'm not in a hiring position but I can give you tips based on your qualifications. PM me about yourself and I'll see what I can do.

andijilly51 karma

My dad was there last year. Is it true that it encouraged people to quit smoking since it took so long to get out of the building to smoke?

KC-46A44 karma

I'd say it's strongly implied that workers quit smoking. Partly since smoking areas are so far outside the building. The walk would be pretty annoying in my opinion. Medical insurance coverage is also costly so the healthier your workers are, the less money the company has to spend.

There are programs and incentives to get people to quit, so it's good all around.

RangerSix20 karma

Semi-related question: what is Boeing's policy on electronic cigarettes (e.g. the Smokeless Image Volt or the ProVari)?

KC-46A27 karma

No idea, don't think they would be allowed though. Seems like a FOD risk on the factory floor.

iamaredditer36 karma

Do people ride bicycles to get around inside the building?

KC-46A63 karma

Bicycles, mini-Hummer looking golf carts, regular golf carts, etc... There are lots of people who need to travel from one side of the building to another as part of their jobs so walking isn't always an option for them. I'm a cubicle worker.

bethelbread23 karma

Do corporate employees ride Segways?

KC-46A35 karma

Not that I've seen. You still need to stop at intersections so that doesn't seem like the safest form of travel. Trucks, forklifts, and other large vehicles also drive around within the building so you'll have to pay attention to them as well.

TheDahkLord3 karma

Are there stop lights?

KC-46A4 karma

Nope, only stop signs.

goremuut15 karma


KC-46A7 karma

Haven't seen someone do that... yet. I'm not lucky enough to ride the trikes, though.

chiindustry12 karma

Delta IV checking in. I had a bicycle and tricycle in our factory (now United Launch Alliance)

KC-46A11 karma

How is that side of the industry? I have a friend at Aerospace Corp and was pretty interested in that stuff at the time. What do you guys think of SpaceX?

Domo9134 karma

Have you seen a cloud in the building? Ever snap a picture of one?

KC-46A68 karma

Haha, lots of people seem to be stuck on the cloud thing. No, better HVAC systems were installed a while ago so no clouds form anymore. Sorry.

SheeEttin47 karma

...any more?

KC-46A82 karma

Any. More.

KC-46A53 karma

Forgot to mention that all kinds of birds get stuck in the building. I wouldn't be surprised if there are nests and stuff in the corners and crevices of the factory.

Also, picture taking is not allowed by non-company cameras. It's a bummer.

Kalium37 karma

In a few years, there will probably be Boeing-specific bird species...

KC-46A71 karma

I hope they name it something cool. Something Latin with "Airbus sucks" worked into it.

Yugiah18 karma

My grandfather helped design the 747, I wonder if he ever cared about any rivalry between the companies...

KC-46A17 karma

I'd bet he did, but not with Airbus. There was intense competition between US companies already so the 747 was a make-or-break program in some respects.

A little rivalry now with Airbus is always fun. I'd definitely say Boeing has safer aircraft in a system safety point of view. That isn't coming from a Boeing engineer but based more on what I learned in school.

Calleball6 karma

Ok, then quantify it, do Airbus aeroplanes crash because of the systems architecture? What makes the Boeing systems better? Do you include the ancient systems of the 737?

KC-46A10 karma

Airbus, Boeing, and the majority of commercial aircraft manufacturers make reliable, safe, and sturdy products. Most of the problems we hear about are related to the interaction between human and machine. Air France Flight 447 is a prime example of how pilot situational awareness can lead to costly accidents. Pilots shouldn't be the backup when the autopilot disengages, pilots should be always attentive to their instruments regardless of the situation.

Airbus might have some of the most advanced avionics in the world, but that doesn't necessarily increase safety. I think it tends to cause complacency and over-reliance on computers to do the mundane stuff.

I tend to lean towards Boeing planes because they have simply existed longer. The serious bugs are, for the most part, worked out of the system already. Newer aircraft from Airbus or other manufactures are still teething. The systems on the 737 may be "ancient" by aircraft standards, but that in no way means they are inferior. The backlog of 737's shows how comfortable customers are with them.

Calleball10 karma

Regarding AF447, if you can't react correctly when your aeroplane blares a stall warning at you for a minute you are so out of the loop you shouldn't sit in a cockpit.

Besides flight deck confusion due to cockpit ergonomics isn't really a Airbus only problem, Helios airways comes to mind.

Apropos bugs, it took a hell of a time before the 737 rudder issues were discovered, that was certainly serious. The 777 is newer than all Airbus other than the A380, the 787 is newer than all Airbus models, why do you lean towards them?

That said, I'd fly any aeroplane that either firm makes, including the 787, any day as long as it is operated by a reputable airline.

KC-46A9 karma

See, it wasn't one person, it was two junior pilots and a very senior pilot was came to the party late. The junior pilots' attention was away from the controls long enough for them to lose sight of what was going on. It wasn't a lack of training, in my opinion, it is a design philosophy that took more direct control away from pilots and more reliance on automation.

The 777 and 787 may be newer in service length but the talent who developed them brought decades worth of experiences in the designs. Engineering isn't a discipline of just numbers, it is a history lesson learned from trial and error.

Airline maintenance is a serious factor in aircraft integrity. Even Cold War era workhorses like the B-52 are still flying today, mainly due to the rigorous maintenance schedules the USAF implement and numerous refurbishments.

Crisspie1318 karma

HI!!! I was a Machinist for your largest competitor and worked closely with my ME's, Do you go to the floor to find problems and ask those who are making the part what is going on or are you the one that sits at your desk hoping to figure it out by what QC tells you? I have seen both strategies work but personally I think its more efficient if the ME and Machinist work together

KC-46A17 karma

Sup! Part of my job is to take feedback and validate the questions that are brought up. Since you're dealing with decades old designs, there are sometimes no other options but to make the mechanics tough it out.

There is a little bit of both going on for me. I like talking to the mechanics because they're a relaxed group of folks who like to talk about their side of the work. They're also pretty frank about how efficient (or not) the system is so I imagine it's cathartic to them. At the same time, there is an established process on how to pass information upstream so I can't always be on the floor, gathering information. I have to wait at my computer for issues that are brought up and assigned to me.

Crisspie138 karma

you mention "Mechanic" Are they just machine operators or do they edit programs I.E. Cutter comp, Depth and such to make a good part, if so Machinist would be a better term. And yes they bureaucracy gets in the way.

KC-46A8 karma

By "mechanics" I mean the people who physically take the parts and assemblies from the feeder lines and bolt/screw/rivet them into place. This includes the smaller parts like hose and wiring assemblies as well as gigantic fuselage parts.

Machinists, to me, are father up the line and I don't always work with them. Come to think of it, I haven't worked with them before. I have to take into consideration what their capabilities are, but all the technical stuff is left to them.

shooptek15 karma

Largest competitor being Airbus?

Crisspie138 karma

Not even close, Aerospace is more then just commuter aircraft it is military and exploration as well.

shooptek2 karma

So then who is it?

KC-46A4 karma

Probably Airbus.

bethelbread15 karma

Tell us a little about your experience. What do you do for Boeing?

KC-46A27 karma

Manufacturing engineer who has around 5 years experience on the job. Starts out slow but as you complete training and start working real world tasks, things can pile on pretty quickly without warning.

Do you have any more specific questions?

bethelbread8 karma

I assume you're supporting production?? Can you say any more in regards to your experience field?

KC-46A29 karma

If you imagine a chain of people who need to finish their jobs before the next person can start on his/hers, I'm near the end of the line. The design engineers have parts they need to design, or incorporate changes into, and once they do that, people like me would take those parts and add it to the list of parts going onto the plane.

Depending on the plane, it could be a simple and relatively quick process, or it could involve several departments/groups and drag on for months. I like my job in that I can walk downstairs and watch the mechanics install my part onto the plane and get their feedback. If the part takes too long to install or is not ergonomic enough, I need to make changes to the plan and help them out.

Being an ME is a great way to learn about the intricacies of building a very complex machine, even if you're only responsible for a "small" part of it.

bethelbread10 karma

Sounds like a very cool job. Upvote for operator feedback!

KC-46A17 karma

It's definitely a unique and rewarding experience so far. For someone who studied planes since childhood, it seems like a great fit.

Goosebaby14 karma

Do politicians frequently visit to walk around the factory and hold photo ops with the workers? I visited the Everett facility a few years back, and it is the perfect backdrop for every political ad ever.

KC-46A19 karma

The only big VIP who visited in my time here was President Obama. There was quite the PR spectacle that took place. I was quite surprised at the hardware his entourage brings.

Some rugby players from the All Blacks also visited but I didn't hear about it until afterwards. There might have also been other VIP's but don't recall any others at the moment.

l33tb3rt11 karma

Why the All Blacks? Seems like a bit of an odd vip group (foreign sports team) to tour a factory.

KC-46A25 karma

improbablydrunknlw14 karma

Words I thought I'd never say.

Wow that's a sexy plane.

KC-46A14 karma

I saw it while driving into work in the morning... it looked downright majestic. It was still dark out but lit up by lights in the fog.

rogabadu227 karma

You haven't seen the right planes yet.

Some more sexy planes:

KC-46A8 karma

It's just 747-8. They're moving away from triple digit minor model names now.

rogabadu223 karma

Why the move?

KC-46A3 karma

Sorry, that's above my pay grade. Guess it's just a cleaner way of re-branding the products.

dog_in_the_vent-2 karma

the All Blacks


KC-46A3 karma

Name of a badass professional rugby team. Look it up.

h83r14 karma

I've driven past that building in Mukilteo a thousand times and it never seems really that large until you realize you've been driving for 2 minutes solid and still aren't at the end. Then you look over at the large doors, and see the tiny people doors next to it. then, HOLY SHIT THAT PLACE IS MASSIVE

KC-46A16 karma

First time I visited the place it was partly covered in fog. I thought "no big deal, I've seen tall buildings before." I was wrong. It's as massive as you think it is.

I always suggest people go on the factory tour because there simply is no way to understand the size until you walk inside.

robtheamazing11 karma

What advise do you have for someone aspiring to go into Aerospace Engineering?

KC-46A16 karma

The industry, as a whole, isn't going anywhere so it's a good topic of engineering to get into. Do well in your high school math classes because it helps when you get to college. Do well in your college math classes because it helps in your engineering homework. Do well in your engineering homework because... grades and stuff.

If you suffer a setback in any of those steps, don't sweat it; it's not the end of the world. But re-evaluate why you were set back and learn from it. If you don't learn from it, you have no one to blame but yourself.

If you do choose to do engineering, pick a good program and try your hardest to excel. It won't (and shouldn't) be easy but it will make it that much sweeter when you graduate.

cynicalMIND6 karma

Did you have internship experience? How hard is it to get hired by a company like Boeing?

KC-46A10 karma

No internship experience but I listed a lot of projects I was working on during senior year of college as experience.

I was hired a few months after undergrad. I applied to several open positions and only got one hit, which is the job I have now.

Arbiter137 karma

Have you ever played Kerbal Space Program?

KC-46A5 karma

Nope. Been hearing a lot about it, though.

Arbiter136 karma

It has a great airplane-building simulator, in my opinion. Think your job, but less math and more trial and error.

KC-46A4 karma

Well then I'll definitely check it out.

tasty_tantalizer7 karma

Im currently an aerospace engineer at u of I in Champaign. Any chance I could send you my resume?

KC-46A7 karma

I don't do hiring but send me a PM about yourself. I'll try to help.

bethelbread6 karma

I imagine there's a higher level of skilled labor going on at the Boeing factory than what you would find at an automotive or machinery equipment factory... Do you think this changes the social makeup of the wage employees there?

KC-46A8 karma

There are three distinct types of workers: professionals, technicals, and mechanics.

Professionals are the engineers who have applicable college degrees and get paid big bucks.
Technical workers are the people who don't necessarily have college degrees and do more "everyday" stuff. They don't have the highest qualifications but some techs are former mechanics or come from other groups within Boeing so they are very knowledgeable about their jobs. They are great resources to rely on.
Mechanics are the people who physically put the parts onto the planes. They are the people you see in the NatGeo documentary I linked above.

I'm only speaking for the Puget Sound Boeing people, but I would bet there is a similar distribution of people for the automotive industry. Every industry needs college-type people to make decisions and do the math as well as the skilled laborers whose jobs are to execute those decisions. It's a very military-like atmosphere where you have generals and other officers making decisions that lower rank people have to carry out.

freemarket275 karma

What is the union situation like at Boeing? I understand there are union and non union plants. Is one more productive than the other? Do union workers get paid more? Is there much interaction between union and non union workers?

KC-46A7 karma

There are two big unions: one represents the engineers and the other one represents the mechanics.

The non-union factory is the one in Charleston and they get paid less (probably, not sure). Not sure on the benefits side but it should be competitive. They only make 787's in SC so you can't really compare the production rates with WA.

The Puget Sound area has unions and it causes the most grief with the older workers. They want their medical benefits and will strike to get them. Younger workers mainly just want to work and have steady income.
The benefits here are pretty good and salary (for engineers) is on par with market prices.

I haven't been to SC or non-union placed so I've only interacted with union workers.

I__Know__Things5 karma

Can you elaborate on the buzz-word bingo process of getting hired on with Boeing? I'd like to get on there but I seem to be lacking the necessary application skills despite my qualifications.


KC-46A3 karma

The short answer is to read through the job description and find as many applicable words/phrases/buzzwords that apply to you. Don't lie, of course.

PM me if you need or want more details.

shiv4m5 karma

Do you have a security clearance?

KC-46A7 karma

I'm sure I have some clearances but not sure what type. The factory isn't open to the public and you need, at the very least, a shiny badge with your name on it.

GoonCommaThe8 karma

Try walking into random high-security buildings until you get stopped.

KC-46A8 karma

The only off-limits place I've heard of is the control tower in the SW corner of the building. I would love to check it out someday.

Fractious_Drifter3 karma

Your badge should note a clearance level based on a symbol to the side of your chip.

KC-46A8 karma

Figured that's what s/he was asking. I will admit my badge has symbols on it.

bethelbread5 karma

What's an average day like? Worst day in memory? Best day in memory?

KC-46A26 karma

  1. Start work at 5:30 am
  2. Check emails to see if there are any emergencies
  3. Ignore or delegate emergencies to other people
  4. Reddit
  5. Go home at 2 pm

Just kidding, there aren't very many emergencies to handle and most of the time I'm attending meetings, working problems with other people within my group, or coordinating with other groups to solve bigger problems.

Worst day: haven't had a nightmare day yet. One "bad" day pretty much means staying over 8 hours, but that means overtime pay... so not bad at all, really.

Best day(s): being the new guy in my group and waiting to go to training. I was free explore the factory and walk along the flightline until I got bored or tired. I got to walk on and around 747, 767, 777, and 787 's with no objectives; just satisfy my own curiosity.

runningeagle5 karma

I will be working in North Charleston on the 787 in June. What advice do you have for a future Boeing engineer?

KC-46A8 karma

  1. Training might be boring but pay attention and take notes if you feel like it's important (you'll be given the course material).
  2. Set up your VIP (retirement/pension) program correctly to get the most out of it.
  3. Bad habits can be easily picked up. Don't let yourself fall into the "old" ways of thinking.
  4. If you don't like your manager after a few months, don't be afraid to look for a new one. I have a great relationship with my manager which might have helped me get some sweet assignments.

I'll add more to this later if I think of anymore. Congratulations and good luck.

amitarvind5 karma

I used to do tech support for Boeing. So many of you guys were really nice and polite. I just wanted to say that.

Also, you guys still using Hummingbird? (I was forever fixing people's install issues and unix logins...)

KC-46A7 karma

Because we're still getting paid and can blame it on computer down time!

Yes... yes we are. I was teaching a new guy how to use one of the programs and he kept wanting to click the red 'X' button. Kept telling him that's not the right way to exit the program.

Swedooo5 karma

I have a question, why don't passanger airplanes fly faster? What is it that makes fast (mach +) uneconomical? It seems all the new planes are running at .85 Mach? Are there other reasons for this, like air traffic control, environment, expense, politics revenue streams for airlines, safety? Thanks!

KC-46A3 karma

It's all about efficiency. When you approach Mach 1, parts of the plane will start breaking the sound barrier and create shockwaves. Shockwaves create unnecessary drag characteristics that harm a plane's fuel efficiency. In short, unless you want to specifically design a plane that is fuel efficient during supersonic flight, a traditional plane design can be economical, efficient, and relatively cheap.

This is a simplification of all the factors that go into plane design but I hope you get the idea. Plane manufacturers are definitely capable of creating supersonic stuff, but unless the customers demand it, you won't be able to sink billions of dollars of research into a plane no one wants.

CoopsNPins4 karma

What kind of cool engineering goes into a plane that the average person doesn't know about? The wing flex is quite possibly one of the most amazing things I've seen.

KC-46A7 karma

If you're talking about the 787, I love the the graceful wings on that bird. The 747-8 is also an amazing work of engineering. Walking underneath an unpainted -8 never gets old for me.

One of the coolest bits of information I like to tell people is a secret door on certain 777 models. It leads to a compartment that the flight attendants use as resting/sleeping quarters.

netizen213 karma

Can you give us a pic of the secret door ?

KC-46A5 karma

I can't take pictures in the factory if that's what you're asking for, sorry. Also, I'm not finding much on Google at the moment. I will say that it's in plain sight and normal people won't be able to tell where it is.

KC-46A4 karma

Sure is. Fun story: was checking one of these out and someone turned off the lights. Had to fumble around in pitch black to find the exit.

shaneathan3 karma

In all honesty, both my aunt and uncle work there. I realize its a massive locale, but if I PMed you their names, maybe you might know them?

KC-46A4 karma

I doubt it but go for it. At the very least, there's an internal directory I can stalk get their location and phone numbers.

Daleks__3 karma

Which program are you currently working on? What can you tell us about the KC-46 program?

KC-46A9 karma

I started out in the 747, 767, 777 programs as a "broad" ME. Now I'm specifically working on the tanker program.

I can't say much besides Wikipedia has a lot of information. I'm only responsible for a small part of the plane but overall, it's going to be a tricked out 767.

Daleks__3 karma

Thanks for the response. A follow up if you don't mind. Can you explain the nitrogen system in the center fuel tank, and how it produces the nitrogen. Also, what is your belief on what happened with TWA flight 800?

KC-46A3 karma

Oh man, I was at one of the Tully's getting something to drink once and saw one of the generators sitting there. Someone explained it to me but I don't remember how it worked. You'll get a better explanation off Google but I believe it has something to do with fire suppression and also used as a cooling system.

Maybe someone who actually knows can answer here?

And I haven't read much about TWA 800, I'll get back to you on that.

jew_york3 karma

What was undergrad like for you? Masters? Previous job experience? Next career moves?

KC-46A7 karma

  1. Got my BS at one of the top aerospace schools in the US. It was very challenging and but rewarding in the end. It prepared me well for the industry and don't regret any of it.
  2. No masters but planning to start very soon.
  3. Hired straight out of undergrad just a few months after graduation.
  4. Don't plan on staying in my group for much longer but I'll see what my possible MS opens for me. Boeing is a huge company so I'm itching to see what else I can do.

Chebyshev5 karma

Go work in rotorcraft if you want a challenge. Fixed wing is boring.

KC-46A10 karma

Your face is boring, just kidding. There aren't a whole lot of new challenges in fixed wing aircraft to overcome but just understanding modern technology, as single person, is still inspiring.

I'm trying to get more information in R&D and other "advanced" areas of study. Basically, looking to apply more of my college degree to my career/future.

Monkeyfeng3 karma

I live in Seattle. Should I visit the Everett plant on one of those tours? Is it worth it?

KC-46A7 karma

Yes, get your ass up north and visit. It's definitely worth it, even if you aren't interested in the engineering, it's still a sight to see.

Employees get tickets for $8 so find a Boeing friend and ask them to purchase them for you. Otherwise PM me and I'll get them for you, unless you want to pay $32 or something for full price.

iamthenewone3 karma

Does it sometimes annoy you to work in the largest building (maybe long ways to get from A to B) of the world, or do you consider it nice and are proud to be a "part" of it?

KC-46A12 karma

I primarily work out of a cubicle so I don't have to walk around much. However, walking around the factory floor is incredible. Now that I reread your question, I am quite proud of it. There is no way to describe how big everything around you is.

I can tell you a front landing gear tire is so and so feet tall, but until you're standing next to it, you never accept how big these monsters are.

h83r6 karma

the people doors next to the aircraft doors do it for me. It really puts it into perspective

edit: http://www.seattleattractions.com/client/assets/images_protected/20100421191159Boeing%20Factory%20Doors_large.jpg

KC-46A10 karma

Haha, saying "people doors" makes me think of a doggy door inside a normal door... Doorception.

verendus223 karma

Could you...could you get me a summer internship? Currently in Computer Science, but it turns out nobody is hiring freshman...even if I have sophomore-level experience, and an internship already under my belt.

KC-46A3 karma

Depends, PM more details and I'll do my best.

netizen212 karma

Could you give us any plane related hacks/tips for us economy class folks ?

KC-46A9 karma

I came across a website once which listed the best seats to sit depending on aircraft model, that might be worth checking out.

In general, the back of the plane seems safest, I mean, have you heard of a plane backing into a mountain?

exekutor2 karma

How far is the restroom from the center of the building?

KC-46A6 karma

There are plenty of restrooms and you'll quickly figure out which ones are closest in case of emergencies.

sirernestshackleton2 karma

So, I take it by the username you work on the next-gen tanker. Have there been warnings about sequestration's impact on the KC-46A? What do they mean for workers on the program?

KC-46A2 karma

I haven't been listening close to that stuff so I can't say that I know of any impacts. Since we really need to replace the current 707 airframes, I would think this program is a priority, but who knows?

voidifremoved2 karma

Can you get me a job?! Materials Engineer from Michigan Tech :-P

But seriously what is in your mind the coolest project you have worked on there?

KC-46A2 karma

Depends, PM me some details and I'll try to help.

Technically, I've only been working on two large "projects" but the one I'm on now is pretty damn awesome. I'm responsible for the installation of some important hardware that will eventually be used for the USAF. Not only that, I hope to bring my knowledge into other programs in the future.

cuibel2 karma

I'm on the 14th floor. My trash can hasn't been emptied in three days. Will you please send someone.

KC-46A9 karma

Have you tried turning it off then on again?

crawf3392 karma

I'm looking for a summer internship. Do you happen to have any need for a junior materials science student with research experience and good aseptic technique?

KC-46A3 karma

I could use a personal chef. But seriously, I'm not in a hiring position so I don't know what the availability is. PM some more details and I'll try to help.

cramedra2 karma

I live down in Lynnwood so I drive by the building all the time. Truly an engineering wonder. Has the recent company wide ban of the radio show "The Men's Room" effected you in any way? If so, do you know the reasoning behind Boeing's decision to ban it. I've heard it's very popular within the company and I know I wouldn't get through the day without it

KC-46A2 karma

I also live in Lynnwood it's... interesting here. I believe only the factory floor mechanics were banned from listening to the radio show so it didn't affect me at all. Someone was offended with something they said on air so they banned it for everyone.

My cubicle colleagues send me clips to listen to all the time so I can definitely say it's a popular show.

Jayqualeh2 karma

how long would it take to walk from one corner of the building to the opposite?

KC-46A1 karma

Well a straight line distance from the SE to the NW corners is about .54 miles. Take into account you'll have to zig zag between the bays and you can imagine how long it will take.

The worst is if you have a meeting and have to hot foot it over a long distance and then climb stairs or something. It can get pretty warm inside the factory.


Go say hi to my wife in Wire Assembly Group B. She's the small Vietnamese lady.

KC-46A3 karma

I'm going to guess her last name is Nguyen. There are so many small people in the factory! From what I understand, they are put to use to get to the cramped parts of the fuel tanks and such.

snakattak2 karma


KC-46A5 karma

Size is a huge factor. Trying to come up with a relatively simple solution might take coordination between several groups which means scheduling meetings and finding time to discuss. Then you couple that with people being busy with other assignments and pushing things to the last minute, you get a slow moving process.

Worker classes don't have that much effect in my opinion. Engineers have to listen to what mechanics say because they're the ones who have the hands-on time. But overall, think logically (think like an engineer) and it works out for everyone.

FAA regulations also add restrictions but I'm not too familiar with that side of things. I will say with a large and old company, people take time to adapt or outright refuse to change the way they do things. Multiple databases, millions of Excel files, and hundreds of different forms to fill out make the system somewhat slow and inefficient.

Sebu912 karma

Keep up the good work! You guys build the best planes in the sky!

KC-46A2 karma

Thanks. I certainly think so.

Vaulter_132 karma

Do you have any knowledge regarding mechatronic engineering? If so, is it a desirable field for large companies like Boeing?

KC-46A3 karma

I do not, sorry. However it seems like it is a job that would work best in smaller companies. Boeing needs dedicated engineers who know a little bit about other subjects, but can devote their expertise to one topic.

aiiye2 karma

I know the engineers just accepted a new contract, so my question is:

How do the engineers up in your neck of the woods feel about the non-strike/contract situation?

KC-46A2 karma

I'm relatively young so I'm happy we're avoiding a strike. The older dudes want their damned medical benefits because they got prostate problems and such so they won't hesitate to strike.

I think most of the action is on the company since we are doing well, considering the economy. In my opinion, Boeing should be take care of its employees (to a reasonable degree) and insure talent is home grown and incentivized to stay.

Samwise9122 karma

My Dad has has worked at that building for the last 33 years. Pretty sweet building.

What is your favorite part of the building?

KC-46A2 karma

The planes :). I get to stretch my legs every so often and bother the mechanics. It's fun to talk walk around a bare 747 or 787 and look at the expensive first class seats and whatnot.

If it's not busy, some of the mechanics will sit and chat with you about what they're doing. Or take naps in between rows of seats.

Skari72 karma

What new technology are you most excited about in aviation?

KC-46A2 karma

I would really like to see a blended wing body commercial aircraft. In fact, Boeing is working on this mofo. If done right, it might just become the new standard in commercial aviation in... 50 years? It's not new technology but new enough that it is still in research.

Besides that, I'd love to be involved with the efforts of going back to the Moon or reaching Mars.

devilsadvocado2 karma

Hey, do you know my uncle Greg? He's a mechanic there.

KC-46A5 karma

Oh sure, Greg's a cool guy.

jhenryf6262 karma


KC-46A2 karma

Already proof-ed.

Slimjeezy2 karma

why arn't you working?

KC-46A1 karma

Who says I'm not?

Willdude2 karma

Is it big?

KC-46A3 karma


Najd72 karma

I've been to the tour that you mentioned a few times, and it was absolutely phenonemal! The best thing I did while I was in Seattle. I have a curious question for you, from the ridiculous $300+ million that a 777-300ER costs airlines, how much is the actual cost per plane for Boeing? I just can't comprehend the number! Thanks for this awesome AMA!

KC-46A3 karma

I have no idea. There's just no way one engineer can fathom the part, labor, transportation, storage, and installation costs. Then you couple that with research and development costs that took place 10 years ago and you can see how monumental it can be.

Airlines get discounts for buying multiple aircraft but I'm willing to bet even the finance or sales people don't know the actual cost per unit plane. There might be some yearly or quarterly audit which tells people how much the company spent on costs and how much they took in, then things get averaged.

johansolo1 karma

I work for one of your competitors. Why do you guys suck so much?

KC-46A3 karma

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

BassDevil1 karma

Tacos or Cheeseburgers?

KC-46A6 karma

Why not both?

underdog4111 karma

is it a repair or rework?

KC-46A2 karma

Not sure what you're referring to.

karmanaut1 karma


Edit: Verified

KC-46A3 karma


CarbonChiral-4 karma

Would you build 100 horse sized buildings or 1 building sized duck?

KC-46A10 karma

One 747-8I sized duck. And send it to North Korea. Scare the shit out of them.