Boeing Quotient -- The Wright Stuff: HistoryLink "B-Q" Quiz published by The Seattle Times on December 17, 2003, centennial of the Wright Brothers' first flight

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 12/17/2003
  • Essay 10276
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On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright executed the first controlled flights by a heavier-than-air machine, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. One century later, The Seattle Times published this little quiz to test readers’ “B-Q” (Boeing Quotient). The puzzle ran one day after Boeing’s formal announcement that final assembly of the planned 7E7 aircraft would be located in Everett, Washington. The text of the original puzzle follows, as written by Walt Crowley and edited by Lee Moriwaki. Answers are provided at the end with Seattle/King County file numbers for corresponding HistoryLink essays to aid your search for background information and sources. Enjoy.

So You Think You Know Boeing

Today (December 17, 2003) marks the centennial of the Wright Brothers' first flight. This event changed the world forever, and it had a disproportionate impact locally.

With Boeing dominating the headlines, it seems appropriate to reflect on our long, sometimes bumpy aeronautical history. Here's a little quiz to test your "BQ" (Boeing Quotient).

The answers are at the end, and on (no cheating, please), so you can rate your qualifications to make informed aerospace decisions for our region.

  1. In March 1910, Charles Hamilton demonstrated the first airplane to fly in greater Seattle at (a) the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, (b) Meadows race track in Georgetown, or (c) Sand Point.
  2. In 1914, Silas Christofferson showed off the military value of aircraft by (a) bombing downtown Seattle with flour sacks, (b) shooting down pigeons mid-air, or (c) sinking a barge in Elliott Bay.
  3. The first airplane built in Seattle was assembled in 1915 by (a) Conrad Westervelt, (b) Terah Maroney, or (c) Herb Munter.
  4. Boeing's first plane, the "B&W, "took off on June 15, 1916, from (a) Lake Union, (b) Puget Sound, or (c) Bow Lake.
  5. On March 3, 1919, Bill Boeing and Eddie Hubbard landed in Seattle with the first U.S. International Air Mail shipment from (a) Victoria, (b) Vancouver, or (c) Singapore.
  6. Boeing's first "Red Barn" plant originally housed (a) a shipyard, (b) a fire station, or (c) dairy cows.
  7. When military airplane orders dried up after World War I, Boeing sold local bootleggers (a) stealth aircraft, (b) speedboats, or (c) recycled bottles.
  8. The original Boeing Air Transportation System between Chicago and San Francisco evolved into (a) Northwest Airlines, (b) PanAm Airways, or (c) United Air Lines.
  9. The first aerial circumnavigation of the globe, which began and ended at Sand Point in 1924, took (a) 174 days, (b) 113 days, or (c) 80 days.
  10. When King County balked at building him a new airfield at public expense, Boeing threatened to move his company to (a) Chicago, (b) Los Angeles, or (c) Dallas.
  11. The first fatal airplane crash in Seattle occurred in (a) 1912, (b) 1923, or (c) 1938.
  12. In 1929, Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to (a) Washington, D.C., (b) New York, or (c) Chicago.
  13. William Boeing retired in 1934 after federal antitrust regulators broke up his (a) Seattle-Wichita Airplane Co., (b) Boeing-Curtiss-Wright Co., or (c) United Aircraft and Transportation Co.
  14. With the company unable to fill airline orders in the 1930s, sales of Boeing's new 247 airliner were quickly overtaken by the (a) Ford Trimotor (b) Douglas DC-3, or (c) Lockheed Constellation.
  15. In 1942, the first choice for a new regional airport site was (a) Paine Field, (b) Lake Sammamish or (c) McChord Field.
  16. The first Boeing airplane built in Renton was the (a) Sea Ranger (b) Stratocruiser, or (c) 727.
  17. During World War II, Boeing and other companies turned out (a) 5,745, (b) 6,981, or (c) 12,726 B-17 bombers.
  18. Boeing hired its first African American, stenographer Florise Spearman, in (a) 1938, (b) 1942, or (c) 1950.
  19. The 1943 crash of the B-29 prototype destroyed (a) the Frye meat packing plant, (b) Boeing's Plant 2, or (c) the world's largest whorehouse.
  20. In 1944, the Port of Seattle briefly renamed the Seattle-Tacoma Airport for (a) Boeing President Phil Johnson, (b) President Franklin Roosevelt, (c) Sen. Henry M. Jackson.
  21. The Boeing B-29 "Enola Gay," which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, was built in (a) Renton, (b) Wichita, or (c) Omaha.
  22. In an effort to break a 1948 strike by machinists, Boeing enlisted the aid of (a) President Harry Truman, (b) Teamster boss Dave Beck, or (c) movie actor Ronald Reagan.
  23. The 1951 crash of a B-50 destroyed (a) the Frye meat packing plant, (b) Boeing's Plant 2, or (c) the world's largest whorehouse.
  24. Test pilot Tex Johnston stunned 1955 Seafair spectators by putting the Dash-80 prototype of the 707 through, technically, (a) a barrel roll, (b) an aileron roll, or (c) a tootsie roll.
  25. Boeing's design for the 747 grew out of a failed bid to build the (a) TFX , (b) C-5, or (c) DynaSoar.
  26. After Congress canceled the Supersonic Transport project in 1970, Boeing sold its SST mockup to (a) the Smithsonian, (b) Museum of Flight, or (c) a Florida amusement park.

Bonus: True or False: During the "Boeing Bust" of the early 1970s, the company laid off more workers in Washington than it currently employs here.

Now check the answers to see how you rate: (1-9) Just moved here from St. Louis; (10-18) Earned your green card as a Seattleite; (19-26) You've climbed to the top of the Lazy B totem; and a perfect 27: Take a seat on the Boeing board of directors. We need you!

Answers and HistoryLink Essays

1-b; 2-a (Essay No. 3478: Silas Christofferson shows off aeroplane, bombs Seattle, on July 18, 1914); 3-c (Essay No. 368: Herb Munter becomes Seattle's first airplane builder in 1915); 4-a (Essay No. 369: Boeing-built airplane, the B&W, makes its maiden flight from Seattle's Lake Union on June 15, 1916); 5-b (Essay No. 373: William Boeing and Eddie Hubbard deliver the first shipment of international airmail on March 3, 1919); 6-a (Essay No. 373: Boeing Airplane Co., formerly Pacific Aero-Products, is officially incorporated on May 9, 1917); 7-b; 8-c; 9-a (Essay No. 363: U.S. Army flyers depart Sand Point Airfield for first aerial circumnavigation of the globe on April 6, 1924, and Essay No. 364: U.S. Army flyers land at Sand Point Airfield to complete first aerial circumnavigation of the globe on September 28, 1924);10-b (Essay No. 2077: Boeing Field, Seattle's first municipal airport, is dedicated on July 26, 1928); 11-a (Essay No. 3318: Seattle's first airplane fatality occurs at The Meadows Racetrack on May 29, 1912); 12-b; 13-c (Essay No. 3546: Federal anti-trust actions cause United Aircraft and Transport, a Boeing conglomerate, to dissolve on September 26, 1934); 14-b (Essay No. 2018: Boeing 247 takes flight from Boeing Field, opening new vistas in commercial air travel, on February 8, 1933 [Note that the DC-3 quickly replaced the DC-2]; 15-b (Essay No. 1004: Sea-Tac International Airport: Part 1 -- Founding, and Essay No. 1005: Port of Seattle agrees to build new regional airport on March 7, 1942); 16-a (Only one Sea Ranger seaplane was built, earning it the nickname "Lone Ranger," before Renton was converted to bomber production); 17-c (Essay No. 2004: Boeing Flying Fortress B-17 prototype takes her maiden flight on July 28, 1935); 18-b; 19-a (Essay No. 2874: Prototype Boeing B-29 crashes into Seattle's Frye Packing Plant on February 18, 1943); 20-a (Essay No. 3718: Port of Seattle Commission proposes to rename Seattle-Tacoma Airport for Philip G. Johnson on September 15, 1944); 21-c (Essay No. 1351: United States drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945); 22-b (Essay No. 2283: Boeing Machinists Strike, 1948); 23-c (Essay No. 3969: B-50 Bomber crashes into the Lester Apartments near Boeing Field, killing 11, on August 13, 1951); 24-b (Essay No. 390: Boeing prototype jet performs dramatic roll over Lake Washington on August 7, 1955); 25-b (Essay No. 1181: Boeing 747 takes maiden flight on February 9, 1969); 26-c; Bonus Question: True (Essay No. 1287: Billboard reading "Will the Last Person Leaving SEATTLE -- Turn Out the Lights" appears near Sea-Tac International Airport on April 16, 1971). Boeing shed more than 60,000 workers, more than its reported 2003 state payroll.


Reprinted courtesy of The Seattle Times with special thanks to Lee Moriwaki and Jim Vesely.

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