The Boeing Company built more than 700 KC-135 Stratotankers for the Air Force in the 1950s to the mid-1960's. The majority of these "flying gas stations" are still flying today because of delays in building a modernized replacement.

Food Waste And Beef Fat Will Be Making Airplanes Soar

Aug 20, 2015

What do beef tallow and manure have in common with t-shirts and pine needles? Turns out you can make high-quality, low-carbon transportation fuel with all of them. A growing number of biofuel producers are teaming up with farms, meatpackers and waste management companies to tap gassy waste to meet new demand for renewable jet fuel and diesel for vehicles.

The parent company of Alaska Airlines reported the highest quarterly profit in its history Thursday despite stiff competition in the Northwest skies.

A view from inside a Boeing factory.
Courtesy of Boeing

Ross Reynolds interviews journalist Russ Banham about the history of the Boeing company, which turns 100 this year. Banhan is the author of “Higher: 100 Years of Boeing.”

It begins with the story of how Bill Boeing went from the timber business to boat building to airplanes. Banham also tells the story of how at the end of World War II a Boeing executive found plans for a swept wing jet aircraft while touring a liberated German factory. This led to the Boeing 707, the plane that secured Boeing's pre-eminence in the U.S. airline industry.

If you judged an invention by early media reviews of its patent, then Zodiac Seats France's "Economy Class Cabin Hexagon" seating pattern is dead on arrival.

Just a few headlines:

"Hey Look the Most Nightmarish Idea for Plane Seating Ever" (Wired)

"'Economy Class Cabin Hexagon' is every flyer's worst nightmare" (Fortune)

The production line at a Boeing facility.
Courtesy/Boeing Company

Ross Reynolds talks to Jon Ostrower, aerospace reporter for the Wall Street Journal, about the challenges facing Boeing's new CEO, Dennis Muilenburg. 

When it seemed that physical changes to the stabilizers in a stretched 787 would be too expensive, Vedad Mahmulyin started looking at a software solution.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has come a long way since it was first heralded as a game-changing plane. Around 300 are flying now, but the planes are still sold at a loss. The Boeing Co. has been pushing its employees to find ways to save money on the program, and one engineer is being celebrated for doing it, big-time. 

A jet takes off from Sea-Tac airport
Flickr Photo/Alan Turkus (CC BY 2.0)

International travel from Sea-Tac Airport is expected to grow by a quarter over the next five years. So the Port of Seattle is getting serious about expanding facilities for international passengers.

You’d think airlines would be happy about that, but many of them went to the Port Commission meeting Tuesday to protest. 

Christian Cultee, a student at the Northwest Indian College, with a rocket that broke the sound barrier.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It started out as a joke. 

The students at Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham were launching little rockets made from recycled water bottles as a way to do some hands-on science.

Alaska plane at Sea-Tac Airport.
Flickr Photo/hermitsmoores (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Washington Post reporter Reid Wilson about the rivalry between Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines and what that means for Sea-Tac's expansion.

We also hear from Alaska's senior vice president of communications and external reltaions, Joe Sprague, about what his take on the competition.

Delta Airlines declined to comment at this time.

It’s no secret lead exposure is dangerous. Even low levels can affect a child’s brain.

It’s also no secret that airports are one of the last remaining sources of airborne lead in the U.S.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attests to both these facts.

And yet, the EPA has yet to declare an “endangerment finding” for leaded aviation fuel. That means it hasn’t said whether those emissions pose enough of a threat to public health or welfare to trigger the long and complex process of regulating them.

The production line at a Boeing facility.
Courtesy/Boeing Company

Ross Reynolds talks to Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, about a bill in the state legislature that would put stipulations on the tax cuts for aerospace companies. Also, Jerry Cornfield, reporter and columnist for the Everett Herald, explains the political implications of the bill.

A view from inside Sea-Tac airport.
Flickr Photo/Nancy White (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Jon Talton, economics columnist for the Seattle Times, about expansion plans at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The steep drop in oil prices is helping to pad the bottom line of Seattle-based Alaska Airlines. But don't expect lower fares on the horizon.

NTSB's Joseph Kolly, holds an fire-damaged battery casing from the Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner that caught fire at Boston's Logan Airport, at the NTSB laboratory in Washington, D.C., Jan. 24, 2013.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board says Boeing, its contractors and the Federal Aviation Administration share the blame for a fire in a 787's lithium-ion battery at Boston's Logan Airport two years ago. That fire was one of two incidents that led to the grounding of the Dreamliner fleet in 2013.

The NTSB said the fire on the tarmac at Boston Logan was the result of a short-circuit in a single battery cell. It resulted in smoke, which Boeing said would be a one in 10 million event. But then it spread to other cells, causing a wave of extreme heat known as a thermal runaway and fire.