Interested in ‘Understanding Airplanes’?
By Maria Nelson
Ed Wells Partnership SPEEA co-director
Many SPEEA-represented employees have specialized knowledge and expe- rience but haven’t had the opportunity
to experience the big picture of how airplanes
actually fly. Now here’s your chance, in an eight-hour session, to learn about the essential components of flight.
The Ed Wells Partnership is offering a new class
next month called “Understanding Airplanes.”
• Jan. 9 – Renton
• Jan. 23 – Everett
The instructor, Bernardo Malfitano, is a Boeing
structures engineer and SPEEA member. In this
class, he will explain aeronautical concepts
using photographs and diagrams rather than
Malfitano also teaches this class through the continuing education program at the University of
Washington. This class is technical in nature,
but is taught at an “introductory” technical level
– i.e. an engineering degree is not required for
students to fully appreciate and participate in
The course is a brief overview of most of the
relevant subjects taught in classes towards
an aeronautical engineering degree such as
aerodynamics (maximizing lift and minimizing drag), engines, structures, stability and
balance, control systems, and designing for
desired performance such as payload, range,
fuel efficiency and runways of finite length.
The class will address answers to the following
• Why are wings swept in jetliners but not
in slower airplanes?
• What determines the age at which an airplane must be retired?
• How exactly do winglets and raked wing-tips reduce drag?
• What allows wider engines to be more
• How do we determine how much thrust
an airplane needs, or where on the wings
we should put the engines?
• How about electric propulsion, solar
power, or hydrogen fuel cells?
To sign up, watch for our Ed Wells Partnership
bi-weekly email or go to http://edwells.web.
boeing.com/ on the Boeing intranet.
Member feedback to tech design
drives SPEEA’s opposition
SPEEA opposes Boeing’s plan to divide its technical design job family based on feed- back from members, including nine workplace meetings.
In October, Boeing skill team leaders communicated the Skill Management Code (SMC)
6G5E-636 (Mechanical and Structural Design)
would soon be split into four separate SMCs.
To date, several hundred SPEEA-represented
technical designers have not been moved to the
“Members are concerned about their future in
this industry. Boeing would have already implemented this if SPEEA hadn’t stepped up,” said
Brent McFarlane, Northwest regional vice president, who attended some of the technical design
meetings with affected members.
SPEEA filed a grievance because Boeing
announced the change without giving SPEEA
sufficient opportunity to gather member input
and submit feedback.
In addition to the grievance (a response is
pending), SPEEA sent detailed letters voicing members’ concerns and formally opposing
the change to the Salaried Job Classification
SPEEA Council Reps hosted the technical design
meetings with the SPEEA contract administrators who are also SPEEA’s SJC focals. They gave
a summary of the process and the related contract article in addition to discussing members’
job code change
The proposed changes split the exist-
ing 6G5E-636 SMC – Mechanical and
Structural Design – into four new and
• Technical Design – Interiors
• Technical Design – Liaison
• Technical Design – Systems
• Technical Design – Structures