Boeing Employees Building a GlasairBy Ric Reynolds, News Editor, EAA 642317
Build Certify and Fly team members at the wing of their Glasair SII project.
March 17, 2011 — One of the latest projects being worked on at Boeing in Seattle, Washington, is an all-composite experimental model. It’s not a next-generation airliner or a prototype for the military, but a Glasair Super II, being built by a group of Boeing employees. After certification, the airplane will become a part of the fleet for the company’s flying club, the Boeing Employee Flying Association.
Build Certify and Fly (BCnF) is a project that challenges a group of early career Boeing employees to build, test, and certify the composite homebuilt airplane. They started working on the plane in December 2010 and are hoping for certification at the end of next year.
“When you work at a big corporation like Boeing, you normally are focused on one thing,” explained Chris Tezak of Boeing’s Aero Accident/Incident Investigation unit. “By being involved in the Build Certify and Fly project, participants will be involved in the entire process.”
The company supports the project through its Opportunities for New Experiences program, a corporate initiative that helps groom its future leaders. Experience gained through project and budget management, systems design, systems manufacturing, and other elements positions them to be future company leaders. Previously funded projects include electric aircraft, solar power, and others, but the from-the-ground-up Glasair project is likely the biggest to come out of the program so far, Tezak said.
Along with building up the airplane’s composite structure, team members will design the systems, procure an avionics package and powerplant, and develop and perform a flight test program for certification.
The group met and planned the project in 2010, got it approved, then acquired the regular kit (not a fast-build) from Glasair in December. Working space is provided by the company’s Structures Concept Center. Thus far the fuselage is together and work is progressing on the horizontal stabilizer and wings.
The project’s 32-member team involves mostly engineers. Only a few are pilots, including Miguel Marmol, EAA 1051256, one of the project leaders.
In early February, the team received a visit from EAA Technical Counselor Tom Osmundson of Chapter 26, which is based at Boeing Field. Marmol wrote on the BCnF blog, “Tom showed us some forms of non-destructive inspection (NDI) that were low-cost (read: FREE) and were effective at giving us a good idea of the quality of our build.”
Someday they hope to show off their completed plane to the public at major aviation events like the Arlington Fly-In or maybe even AirVenture Oshkosh. For now, you can follow BCnF’s progress at its blog and Facebook pages.