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"It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over."

- - - - Mark Twain (Roughing It)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Boeing Auction Marks End of Southern California’s Jet Age

Goodbye Jobs
  • Still more good paying middle class jobs vanish in California.
  • But don't worry.  They are still hiring at Burger King.

(Wall Street Journal)  -  Boeing Co. has started selling off giant equipment from its military-jet plant in Southern California, in an unusual factory auction that will close a chapter in the region’s history as a center of U.S. aerospace manufacturing.
For more than 20 years, the plant has produced the C-17 Globemaster III, a military transport jet capable of carrying 82 tons. But Boeing is ending production at its plant in Long Beach, Calif., because of a lack of international orders after the U.S. Air Force stopped buying the plane.
The C-17 is the last big jet still assembled in Southern California, whose aerospace industry dates back more than a century and, at the height of the Cold War, was home to 15 of the 25 biggest U.S. aerospace companies, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., a regional business group.
Boeing Leaves California
Nearly 3,000 employees are affected by the announcement, with a
little more than 2,200 of those C-17 jobs in Long Beach.

Many of those companies have merged or moved, although the area also has drawn big new names, including Elon Musk’s rocket venture Space Exploration Technologies Corp., and in 2012 still accounted for about a fifth of U.S. aerospace-industry revenue, according to consultants A.T. Kearney. Boeing also has moved some product support jobs to Long Beach as it scales back manufacturing.
Boeing plans to close its Long Beach plant this year and has tapped Heritage Global Partners Inc. to sell off the machines that make the Globemaster’s wings—which span 170 feet—its 174-foot-long fuselage and other parts.
Boeing’s Long Beach facility, which sits just south of Los Angeles, dates to 1941 when it was opened by the Douglas Aircraft Co. The plant, whose production area covers approximately 25 acres, has built planes including the B-17 bomber and MD-80 jetliner in addition to the C-17. Boeing took ownership in 1997 when it acquired McDonnell Douglas Corp.
Chicago-based Boeing has delivered 267 C-17s, about 80% to the U.S. Air Force, with the rest to international customers including Australia and India. The company announced plans in September 2013 to cease production amid shrinking defense spending world-wide.
Boeing said when it announced plans to end the C-17 that it expected to book a charge of less than $100 million, and would have to eliminate 3,000 positions connected with the program, including about 2,200 in California. A spokeswoman said Boeing has moved some of those people to other sites, and that retirements also have helped mitigate layoffs.
Read More . . . .

The view from underneath the Broetje Robotic Flexible Assembly
Cell. Boeing is closing an assembly plant in Long Beach.

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