Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Friday, February 19, 2016

Boeing Centennial Celebration Includes Variety of Activities Amid Celebration of Accomplishments

By Carmelo Turdo Boeing Company turns 100 years old on July 15 this year, and they are asking the public to join the celebration already in full swing.  Those among the record attendance at last evening's Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting were given a primer on the Boeing Company history and the Centennial celebration by Paul Segura, Boeing’s St. Louis Site History Council Leader (along with being an Engineering Manager at Boeing St. Louis).  Mr. Segura was well received, holding the audience of 140 members and guests, including many retired McDonnell Douglas employees, in rapt attention for over ninety minutes.

Mr. Segura articulated the need to retain the institutional history of Boeing and its legacy companies as the Boeing Company turns 100 years old and continues on to another century.  "It's the responsibility of those of the present to capture the past going forward into the future," he said.  Another way of saying this is displayed at the James S. McDonnell Prologue Room at Boeing's St. Louis headquarters:  "The Past is Prologue."  The phrase is based on the Shakespearean phrase, "What is past is prologue," which means a past act has set up a future action.  In this context, it can be demonstrated that the aerospace heritage forged by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Company, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, North American Aviation, and the Boeing Company has formed the current Boeing Company.

(Paul Segura presentation slide)
A fascinating review of the Boeing heritage company legacy focused on the iconic early age of aviation leaders that formed the basis of not only the eventual Boeing Company but that of the major aerospace firms of the Twentieth Century: Bill Boeing, Donald W. Douglas, James "Dutch" Kindelberger and James S. McDonnell.  Each not only contributed to much of the advancement of the aviation and later aerospace industry, but because of the time in which they began their companies (1915-1940), they were among a very small cadre of pioneers who knew and worked with each other at various times.  In fact, Douglas, Kindelberger and McDonnell each served as Chief or Assistant Chief Engineer at the Glenn L. Martin Company, which preceded the others when established in 1912, while Bill Boeing's first aircraft was a Martin Model TT trainer then used by the U.S. Army Signal Corps.  Eventually, each company developed and matured into aerospace giants, but at one time or another faced financial difficulties and were absorbed into what is today a diversified aerospace giant  - the current Boeing Company.

"We have inherited all that heritage and knowledge," Segura continued, describing the general nature of the archives retained principally at the Everett, WA and St. Louis, MO campuses.  Along with archives, Boeing retains an Historical Library, exhibits in various buildings (including the James S. McDonnell Prologue Room), and of course shares the Boeing Centennial celebration.

Details about the Boeing Centennial celebration can be found on the company's dedicated web page.  The film, "The Age of Aerospace," was produced for airing on the Science Channel.  The "Your Story Is Our Story" program encourages Boeing and its legacy company employees and retirees to contribute their experiences in the company for the archives.  Boeing archives will also be posted periodically.  New education and outreach programs have been created, and the travelling exhibit, "Above and Beyond," is currently at the St. Louis Science Center through May 8, 2016.  Commemorative merchandise is also available at the Boeing Store.  Boeing is also a sponsor of the Spirit of St. Louis Airshow, May 14-15, 2016.

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