Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wichita

We left Liberal and traveled to...
Better the tale move in a more direct line to Wichita, never mind the ramblings, twists and turns taken to get there.

David and I found a place to live, which was basically a bedroom in a home, but with kitchen privileges. Then to find a job. Rent, we discover, is not free, in spite of the years of free rent the parents had given. We both immediately found employment at Boeing Airplane Company. On closer examination it becomes clear the reason employment was so readily available. At the time Boeing had contracts with the government to produce B-47s and B-52s. These contracts were on a “cost plus” basis, which is to say, that for every dollar it cost Boeing to train, employ, and pay us, they made an additional dime for themselves.

My first week with my new employer was spent at a training facility in downtown Wichita. I was learning to be a tool and die maker! At the end of the week, I was placed in the factory, second shift, as a “jig builder.” My basic tasks were to stay out of trouble, and stay out of the way.

Now the B-47 was being produced in Wichita, but not the B-52. It was to be built in Georgia. I was “working” on the B-52, for we were building a tool to hold the outboard starboard engine in place during assembly. If memory serves me right, and I think it might, I tapped one hole in that jig during my tenure there. And in my haste, awkwardness, nd ineptitude, I broke the tap and it took a machinist the rest of the shift to repair the damage.

For reasons that might be becoming entirely too clear, when fall approached, I chose to quit Boeing and enroll in college.

3 comments:

Shelly said...

That really sounds like it was a fascinating job. It's amazing how many people it takes it so many different places to produce a single, complex maching like the airplane.

Lin said...

I always admire those who can work with their hands successfully. I don't think we fully appreciate the skills until we try it ourselves.

I'll bet it was something to see a plane coming together. Have you been to the Air & Space museum in DC? I HATED it, but guys like it a LOT. All that plane stuff.....


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vanilla said...

Shelly, a machine so complex and so heavy, in fact, that I have to suspend belief to get aboard one; for my belief is, There is no way that thing can fly!

Lin, if it were not for people with skilled hands and good eye-hand coordination, where would we be"?
I have visited Wright-Pat in Dayton.