Boeing's iconic Globemaster says goodbye
The company is winding down production of its massive military cargo plane, further reducing aerospace jobs in Southern California.
Thursday is a day of closure for Boeing (BA) and the city of Long Beach, Calif., as the company delivers its 223rd and final C-17 to the U.S. Air Force there.
Boeing is winding down its program for the massive cargo jet, which is expected to shut down completely by late next year. That ending also calls into question the fate of the 1.1 million-square-foot Boeing plant in Long Beach -- one of the last remaining aircraft factories in Southern California -- and the estimated 4,000 workers employed there.
Plans for the C-17 cargo jet, known as both the Globemaster and the T-1, began during the Cold War. Design of the massive plane (pictured), which can carry tanks, heavy machinery, tons of equipment, scores of troops or even be converted into a mobile hospital, began in the 1980s with McDonnell Douglas. Boeing inherited the program when it merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997.
Since then, the C-17 -- with its relatively short takeoff and landing requirements -- has become a workhorse for both the U.S. Air Force and its allies, while reportedly generating more than 30,000 jobs in 44 states with an estimated total economic impact of $5.8 billion.
After the C-17's final domestic delivery to the Air Force's 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Boeing will concentrate on the remaining overseas orders for the plane. A current order from India for 10 C-17s, according to The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, will keep the Long Beach plant busy until the third quarter of next year.
The Los Angeles Times says Boeing, which has already cut jobs and slowed down production rates in Long Beach, has been trying to buy time for the plant with the international sales.
"We've known this was coming for a while," Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster told the newspaper. "I'd love for the Air Force to buy more C-17s, but they have made their decision. The future is going to be in foreign sales."
The Tribune, meanwhile, reports aerospace jobs in Los Angeles County, once an economic engine for the U.S. aviation industry, have dropped from more than 130,000 in 1990 to about 38,000 last year.
The more jobs that leave So Cal the more the tax burden increases on the average citizen.
California needs to reign in the out of control Cal OSHA and other regulatory agencies before they completely ruin California.
For a career aerospace engineer, reading that aerospace jobs in Southern California have dwindled from more than 130,000 in 1990 to about 38,000 in 2012 is heartbreaking. The rest of the U.S. does not appear to be picking up more than a small fraction of the slack.
Employers expect newly hired older workers to be able to step in and produce immediately. If your line of work changes, this is not possible. Engineers are still considered over-qualified for low paying jobs. Thus, it is not easy for a career aerospace engineer to make a living today if you are not one of the 38,000 survivors.
Nobody mentions that C-5 is bigger and has been modernized to be used through 2040. Why waste tax payer money on this when the C-5 is the work horse of the air force at caring 50 more take off tons than these mini C-17s.
C-5s are getting upgrade engines making them even more efficient and agile for take off distances vs. take of weight.
Obama and friends just don't want to lose the union votes.
On the other hand, if the money is left in the hands that earned it, that entity will invest it so that it will earn a return on their investment and thereby create more companies and more jobs. These jobs are "tax-dollar payers". Why is it so hard for some people to understand this?
More "government sector jobs" or more "government spending" will KILL the U.S. economy.
Not to worry. When planes are needed in the future they will be outsourced to the lowest bidder in some far away land. Sure the product might be substandard but it's all about the bottom line isn't it?
It is in the same vein as the military letting their trained career personnel go to bring in new less expensive recruits. They use to give re-enlistment bonuses to keep the experienced people but that ended a few years ago. In a navy with more admirals than ships, is it surprising the other services would rather get rid of Indians in favor of the chiefs who decide the cuts?
It's the old saw of beating our swords into plowshares. The only problem is; if the terrorists or warmongers come knocking, the US military won't have anything to defend the Country with except plowshares.
And what about the unemployed aircraft plant workers? More welfare? It's happened before, and it will happen again, because people who don't learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.
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