After Brilliant Bill sent The Orphan to take charge of the noise suppressor and thrust reverser test (and manacled The Orphan to the oars of The Mighty Boeing Slave Ship), The Orphan labored for one and one-half years to make a 21-tube Noise Suppressor (“NS”) and Thrust Reverser (“TR”) fit on a J-57 military fighter jet
engine that was renamed a more domesticated title for commercial use: the Pratt & Whitney JT3C-4 Turbojet Engine.
Later the Noise Suppressor was to be renamed a “Sound” Suppressor by some Mighty Boeing Seer – at that time there were many Seers at The Mighty Boeing – and there are many, many more today – because that particular Seer thought “Noise” to be a bad word and “Sound” to be a gentle name.
However, the racket remained the same, no matter what the name.
The Orphan was curious why the Seer could not see that it was the bad “Noise” that needed suppressing, not a gentle thing like “Sound” – but teaching a Mighty Boeing Seer to see was like trying to teach a pig to sing – it wasted one’s time and annoyed the Seer.
The Orphan was to annoy many, many Mighty Boeing Seers in the next forty-or-so years.
The Orphan and The Real Granville did think The Mighty Boeing wise to keep these Seers busy with make-work so they would not be near the real work of making airplanes – since they knew nothing of airplanes and only of platitudes and slogans. This meager knowledge did, however, puff them with pride and strutting self-importance.
As The Mighty Boeing continued to swell its ranks with these Seers over the years, the potential fortunes of the Company were diminished – but since it was deemed important to these Seers to have offices with little squares of carpet outside their office doors, the situation did keep these self-appointed elitist Seers and their incompetence
away from the real work.
Governments, unfortunately, are not able to do this with lawyers and politicians.
The Orphan soon discovered that he was part of a “Staff” (The Orphan’s Staff was called The Power Plant NS/TR Staff) and that there were “real” engineers in a “Project” -- who actually designed the airplane.
The Orphan assumed that the job of The Staff was to tell The Project what to design and how to design it. The Project was contentiously contemptuous of this but The Orphan told them anyway.
The Orphan met many new friends and interfaced with many breeds of bosses during these early times. Some were bosses and friends, some just friends and some only bosses.
The friends were Delightful Drew, Hopeful Hagerman, Petty Pearson, and Herr Harry of The NS/TR Project; Doughty Dale, Arrogant Armstrong, Patient Pete, Lawless Lawler and Brilliant Bill Reinhart of The NS/TR Staff; and Swedish Jensen and Bjarne “Stolid” Syltebo of the Power Plant Staff.
(Stolid Syltebo at first was in exile in Derby, England, near Rolls Royce Aero Engines, to aid them in making a “Rolls Royce 707” powered by Rolls Royce RCO-10 fanjet engines for the British Overseas Airways Company to use -- the British are a clannish lot. Stolid Syltebo was to play a role in the life of The
Orphan when he was pardoned and returned from Derby.)
Rocky Rock and Tightfisted Fred were the bosses of the Power Plant Staffs; Brash Barfoot and Vigorous Vetter were the bosses of the NS/TR Project.
Conniving Cook was a Seer who wished to be an inventor and was the “…boss…” of all of the Staffs (Gracious Gratzer the Elder and Brutal Buell were the serfs of Conniving Cook and were imprisoned at “drawing tables” in Conniving’s office to design Conniving’s inventions and otherwise waste The Mighty Boeing’s resources). Rough Rouzie was the
boss of all of the Projects. Magnificent Maynard was the boss of everyone.
In window offices along the outside wall were mysterious people (who sometimes acted like Seers – but seemed also to have some knowledge) named Stupendous Sutter, Wiley Webb and Serious Sandoz. Each of these was also to be a part of The Orphan’s training – but only later.
The greatest guidance and care to The Orphan during the first initiation years – and also far into the future -- came from Brilliant Bill (Reinhart) of the “Staff” and Delightful (George) Drew of the “Project.”
In the far future, on a program named The 747, Massive McDonald, who talked as much and as fast as The Orphan, once said of Delightful Drew,
“…George’s middle name should have been Oscar so his initials would spell out his image of himself – GOD…”
At that time in the future when Massive McDonald was Delightful Drew’s “boss” (like The Orphan, Delightful Drew had no real boss for that would have required someone smarter) – he always called him “George Oscar.”
Massive McDonald did not know what The Orphan and Delightful Drew called him – but know that Massive McDonald was a Mighty Boeing Seer.
There are many stories to be told about the adventures of The Orphan during the initiation years – such as how The Orphan got his first car for $50.00 (a 24-year-old 1933 black Plymouth Coupe with a top that had been hand-painted a garish bright yellow) -- and how The Orphan got a grievance filed against him by the Teamster’s Union for
over-achieving and not bowing down to The Mighty Boeing Transportation Thugs.
The event that caused the union grievance was The Orphan driving the ’33 Plymouth on a wild ride from the shops at North Boeing Field to the B-52 hangar late one night just before a midnight deadline.
It involved the Dash 80 Airplane (the nickname for the Boeing 367-80, the Commercial Jet Airplane Prototype). The Dash 80 at the B-52 hangar was waiting for The “Bozeman Bi-plane” Noise (later “Sound”) Suppressor, an “…invention…” of Conniving Cook and designed by Gracious Gratzer the Elder and Brutal Buell.
Conniving Cook, the boss of all of the staffs, and Lawless Lawler, the big boss of both Brilliant Bill and The Orphan (called a “Supervisor”), had been told by a Flight Test “Test Director” Malicious Mann that the Dash 80 was going into a “…lay-up…” for a lube and oil change – and other things -- at midnight, and unless the test Noise
Suppressor was there before midnight it would not be tested until much later.
The regal Flight Test Group still visualized themselves as “…running The Mighty Boeing…” and most of them dressed like their Flight Test Boss, Director A. M. “Tex” Johnson, and walked with an affected strut in their cowboy boots while trying to manage things by blocking them.
The mandate of “…before midnight or else…” did not please Conniving Cook so he called Lawless into his office and informed Lawless that much of Lawless’s future happiness depended on the test suppressor arriving in time – before midnight. Lawless met with The Orphan and told him of the importance of the timing and strongly and dramatically
exhorted the Orphan to succeed.
The Orphan and his cohort, Patient Pete (named Talbot Eugene Henzie by his mother), camped out at the machine operator’s side in the North Boeing Field Shops and made sure that the operator had everything he needed immediately – even to fetching welding rods – and occasionally donning asbestos gloves to hold a Bozeman airfoil in a pair of
vice-grip pliers for the operator. Several times The Orphan even made “…drawing revisions…” on the concrete floor with chalk.
One hour before the machine operator had promised completion, The Orphan called Boeing Transportation to order a truck. Transportation in effect said,
“…who are you and we are busy and we will get around to it when we feel like it…”
The Orphan told his “…partner in crime…” Patient Pete that they might be able to carry the suppressor a mile to the Dash 80 – but alas, it was too heavy and cumbersome.
Then The Orphan decided that he would take matters into his own hands and load the suppressor into his ’33 Plymouth and deliver it himself. But the suppressor was too large for the trunk and too heavy for the tar-impregnated fabric rooftop of the ’33 Plymouth Coupe.
So Patient Pete said that if The Orphan would promise to drive carefully he would ride standing on the rear bumper and hold the suppressor in place.
Patient Pete successfully balanced himself and the Suppressor on the rear bumper of The Orphan’s 1933 Plymouth Coupe and during this drive The Orphan was very careful.
As Patient Pete and The Orphan unloaded the Suppressor under the Dash 80 wings near the engine pods at 11:52 p.m., they heard the Flight Test Director, Malicious Mann say,
“…Well, I’ll be dammed. I saw that ugly bastard (The Orphan assumed that characterization to be aimed at the suppressor) in the shop an hour ago and I knew there was no transportation available. How in the hell…it’s against the rules…I don’t care if you do tell Bill
(Conniving Cook)…now listen, son, Flight Test is not at your beck-and-call…I know you are not really my son…get your butt and that ugly car away from my airplane…”
The Suppressor flew on the Dash 80 the next day. Because it actually decreased the thrust that produced the sound, it did not decrease the Noise (nor the Sound) relative to the thrust – but it flew.
So the Teamsters’ Union filed a grievance against The Orphan for driving his own car instead of using The Mighty Boeing Transportation Thugs, even though they failed to be available when needed.
This grievance resulted in an admonition and, simultaneously, The Orphan’s first merit raise – and “out-of-sequence” too!
Lawless Lawler, The Orphan’s supervisor, simultaneously admonished The Orphan for his sins against the union and presented the out-of-sequence merit raise, as Lawless’s own future happiness had also depended on the test suppressor arriving in time.
He scared The Orphan by saying,
“…Granny, you remind me of me when I was young. You do not let obstacles stop you from getting things done and I like that…”
(At that time The Orphan did not want to be considered overbearing and scary like Lawless was, but he did later realize that Lawless was right and that some part of everyone is useful and valuable. The secret is to pick the valuable traits, learn from them and add them to one’s “bag-of-tricks”.)
Many years later Lawless would say,
“…Boeing operates under the Principle of Maximum Agony…” and cited The Orphan’s choice of a home in Bellevue as an example – a location with an equally inconvenient commute to all Boeing work sites.
The Orphan preferred to be like Brilliant Bill – but Brilliant Bill did not have the lawless characteristics of Lawless Lawler that were to be of great value to The Orphan in “…getting the job done…”
So, while The Orphan did not feel Lawless Lawler to be as desirable a role model as was Brilliant Bill, many of Lawless’s ruthless leadership characteristics were a valuable role model.
The Orphan did like Lawless Lawler – The Orphan liked everyone who was not a self-appointed elitist Seer or a member of the part of The Mighty Boeing that was The Land of Assassins – and he even liked some of the Seers -- if they did their work well.
But The Orphan could never really trust them.
Thus The Orphan made the first step in creating a lifelong reputation for doing all possible (and some impossible) things to accomplish assignments. This reputation was to be a major factor in the early graying of The Orphan’s now snow white hair -- all (or almost all) of which is still there!
Later, data would suggest that all Sound Suppressors were really mostly thrust suppressors and that, when the engine was equipped with a standard conical nozzle and its power reduced to the same thrust level as that thrust remaining when a Sound Suppressor was used, the noise reduction was almost the same.
So the engine at lower power generated almost the same noise as the engine at high power with the sound suppressed – but used less fuel.
The Orphan asked Brilliant Bill why we (The Mighty Boeing) didn’t just use the standard conical nozzle, reduce the engine power and save fuel. Brilliant Bill counseled The Orphan that The Seers required a NS and that The Orphan should be cautious in verbalizing too much the results of his unauthorized thinking.
The brash Orphan responded politely,
“…Bullshit! These Mighty Boeing Seers just need some one to explain it so they can understand…”
Brilliant Bill suggested that The Orphan wait awhile before making these explanations and that The Orphan remember this conversation for future sagacity (Brilliant Bill used such words even if he was a Texan and a Catholic).
In subsequent conversations, Brilliant Bill admitted that he had attempted this explanation to The Seers and had even suggested that The Mighty Boeing paint the standard conical nozzle red and stencil “Sound Suppressor” on it rather than put a “…thrust suppressor…” on the engine.
The Mighty Boeing Seers had looked on Brilliant Bill with disfavor and strongly “…advised…” that he never use the term “thrust suppressor” again.
The Orphan realized that this was a “courage” situation so The Orphan stubbornly told The Mighty Boeing Seers again anyway (without using the term “thrust suppressor”) and received only a tolerant smile and a patronizing pat on the head.
The Seers explained that the New York Port Authority had hired an ominous acoustical consulting company named Bolt, Beranek and Newman (now called BBN Technologies) to tell The Mighty Boeing that Commercial Jets could only have so much noise if they were to land at New York’s Idlewild Airport on Long Island Sound by Jamaica Bay.
The Mighty Boeing Seers felt that the wasted fuel consumption by the “…sound…” suppressor (which really reduced noise by reducing the thrust that caused the noise in the first place) was worth it to appease Bolt, Beranek and Newman and The New York
The Seers were a strange race.
Of course it was the airlines’ fuel -- not the Seers’ fuel. Neither of them really cared much about fuel at that time since, if airline-operating costs went up, the regulated airlines went to the “government,” wrung their hands and got permission to raise ticket prices. Such is the life of a government-regulated business. (Much later, the
airlines would be “…de-regulated…” and, as a result of these earlier learned bad habits, would go out of business in droves!)
The Seers were indeed a strange race – and so were the airlines – and governments!
Many adventures occurred while The Orphan was running “full-scale” tests of the Noise Suppressor and Thrust Reverser on the North Boeing Field Static Engine test stand and Taxi-tests of the Reversers on the Dash 80 Airplane.
The Orphan learned what a test Reverser looked and sounded like as it disassembled when the JT3P-1 prototype engine was at full power. It looked awful and sounded like the hornets that chased The Orphan while he was absconding with the stolen watermelon (see Chapter Nine
of The Early Adventures) – but much louder.
After each Dash 80 taxi-test with a fixed-in-reverse experimental cascade-vane Thrust Reverser, The Orphan would help with the crowbars as the team bent Thrust Reverser Cascade vanes around to discourage exhaust gas from going forward and entering the inlets – causing a phenomenon called an engine surge -- which reminded The Orphan of the
description by his Mother of the noise when the Orphan put the pan of water over the hot light bulb while at 2106 Trimble Place (Chapter Sixteen of The Early Adventures) – but much louder!
This was the beginning of The Orphan’s gradual loss of hearing to the Noises (not Sounds) he heard during his forty years at Boeing …