Our Northwest

Boeing-for-Airbus switch would be odd

Friday, December 20, 2013by  Jon Osterberg

Airbus jets made in Washington? Seriously?
   An Associated Press article says Washington state officials have traveled in recent months to the U.S. headquarters of Airbus in Virginia, aiming to connect the aerospace manufacturer with local suppliers.
   Gov. Inslee's top aerospace adviser said it's not a move to replace Boeing, which is courting 22 states for bids to produce its new 777X jetliner.
   Still, such a switch would be epic to Northwesterners. Boeing was founded by William Boeing, who bought a shipyard on Seattle's Duwamish River in 1910 and later turned it into his first airplane factory. Boeing has been an economic kingpin and a juggernaut Puget Sound employer ever since.
   Just how local is Boeing? Local enough that Bill Boeing Jr. embraced the uncommon Seattle-centric sport of unlimited hydroplane racing in a big way. From 1956-60, he owned and campaigned Miss Wahoo, driven by Mira Slovak and named after Mrs. Boeing's hometown of Wahoo, Neb.
   He missed the boat so much that in recent years he and friends commissioned an exact replica, which was built at Kent's Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum. 
   Can't get much more Northwest-quirky than that.

What's your hurry? A new nationwide survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals one in five drivers – 20% – admit they "try to get where I'm going as fast as I can," even though 91% say everyone should obey the speed limit.
   Washington and Oregon drivers weren't too dissimilar the last time PEMCO polled on the topic in 2011, when 13% said they drive over the speed limit "often" and 38% said they do so "sometimes."
   That suggests our driving might be fairly conventional out here on what's stereotyped as the unconventional "Left Coast."
   The same 2011 PEMCO poll revealed 59% believe there's a "buffer speed" where police won't pull you over, and 50% believe that buffer is 4 mph over the posted speed limit.

Road kill taken to food bank: A 67-year-old man struck and killed a moose Dec. 17 on Highway 395 near Loon Lake, Wash., totaling his 1994 Subaru Legacy.
   The man was flown to a Spokane hospital and is expected to survive.
   KHQ-TV reports the 1,200-pound moose carcass was taken to the Loon Lake Food Bank.
   Perhaps such exotic meat is what Dr. Seuss conjured up when the Grinch carved "roast beast."
Distracted walking: It happened in Australia, but it easily could have been here in the Northwest.
   The BBC News reports a tourist walked off a pier in Melbourne recently while checking her Facebook page on her smartphone.
   Rescuers found her "floundering in the water" when they rescued her 20 minutes later, still clutching her phone in her hand.
   Distracted walking is a growing safety concern, as noted in our June 25 Teen Driver blog. An obvious concern is oblivious pedestrians stepping into traffic. Or, a tourist walking the plank near Seattle's waterfront Big Wheel.

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