The Boeing Company's unmanned aircraft subsidiary based in the Columbia River Gorge passed a milestone this week in commercializing drone technology.

The Air Force said Tuesday that Northrop Grumman will build the next generation stealth bomber.

The Associated Press reports that Northrop Grumman beat out a team formed by two other defense contractors, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to secure the "highly classified, $55 billion project" that will "replace the aging bomber fleet with an information-age aircraft that eventually may be capable of flying without a pilot aboard."

Reporter Ashley Ahearn dug into the Northwest history of the B-17 bomber with her father, Joe Ahearn, Jr.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

There’s an old photograph in my father’s office that I’ve always wondered about. In it my grandfather and nine other young airmen stand in front of their B-17 plane, shoulders squared, staring proudly at the camera. They were probably in England at the time, getting ready to fly bombing raids over Germany in 1943.

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Sep 27, 2015

In a recent story, KUOW Ashley Ahearn reports on the making of the B-17 bomber in Seattle – and the women who moved here to work on Boeing’s production lines.

We want to hear from you. How was your family affected by World War II? Share your memories and photos with us. Write to If you send photos, please be sure to describe what's pictured.

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Georgie, age 35, wearing her favorite Christmas earrings.
Courtesy Georgie Bright Kunkel

When World War II came, millions of women joined the fight – not on the front lines but doing the vital work of building weapons to defeat the Axis powers. Georgie Bright Kunkel was one of them.

“It was a life-changing event,” she told KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel about the experiences that American women had by the time the war formally ended Sept. 2, 1945.

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.

Since news of the Iran nuclear deal broke, lots of business clients have been calling up Washington lawyer William McGlone, a specialist in trade law and economic sanctions. He says he's been forced to give them a bit of a cold shower.

"There's this expectation, or assumption, in the business community that the sanctions are being lifted," he says, "when, in fact, the U.S. legal framework is scheduled to remain in place."

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. 

Courtesy Boeing

There is an old saying in the Pacific Northwest about the state’s largest private employer: “When Boeing sneezes, Seattle catches cold.” 

The Puget Sound region has had its fair share of sniffles over the years, but 14 years ago Boeing made a decision that was one of the most dramatic in the company’s entire history.

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.

Seattle skyline
Flickr Photo/Steven Santiago (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about what to expect from Seattle's economy in 2015.

Inside Everett's Boeing factory.
Flickr Photo/Jetstar Airways (CC-BY-NC-ND)

It was a year of soaring profits for Boeing and Microsoft, rapid expansion for Amazon and anguish for Boeing machinists. KUOW's economy reporter Carolyn Adolph tells Bill Radke how the Puget Sound region's major employers fared in 2014.

The Boeing 787 lands at Seattle's Boeing Field after its maiden flight from Paine Field in Everett.
The Boeing Company

Five years ago this Monday, Boeing's 787 flew for the first time. The Dreamliner, billed as Boeing's game-changing plane, roared into the sky above Everett at 10:27 a.m.

Now another milestone approaches: Boeing says 2015 is the year it makes its first profit per plane on the 787 line.

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.