In the months after retirement, the number of days in my calendar schedule were almost empty, except for doctor and dental appointments, a few days spent at Wapato Point, attending financial seminars and health care meetings. With too much spare time on hand, Mary and I enrolled with the Boeing Health and Fitness program and started an exercise program of three days a week of workout. In October 1995, Mary, Susanne and I flew to Spain and spent a few days in Toreliminos (Costa del Sol) on a condo exchange and used the condo as a home base from which we visited other Spanish cities.
Sometime in 1996, I went to the University of Washington and met the heads of the mechanical and aeronautical engineering departments and offered my services for part time volunteer work. I chose to work in the mechanical engineering laboratory and I helped two professors in setting up apparatus for students to do their experiments. One of the professors I was helping suggested for me to construct an apparatus for visualizing laminar and turbulent boundary layers. Sketch of the set-up was drawn and submitted to the professor for comments and when this was approved, I prepared a list of materials needed for the project and submitted this list to the professor for her approval. Some of the materials needed were solicited and were given free because it is for university use and the construction of this apparatus could have been done at the university machine shop. So the cash outlay is minimal. Made several inquiries after weeks had past if the professor had approved the requisition of the materials needed. I was getting frustrated with the delay and began questioning why I was crazy to be doing this pro bono job and only to be subjected to long frustrating wait for no logical explanation. So I decided the heck with it and terminated my pro bono volunteer job and realized then that I could be doing consulting jobs with good pay.
Then on September 1996, an acquaintance of mine from Rohr Industry based on San Diego needed my technical expertise in assisting Rohr on the MD 95 (now the B717) model thrust reverser test program that they were in the midst of doing, so another Rolls Royce management retiree and myself were off to San Diego. I made a couple of trips to San Diego with one week duration for each trip. This consultation job was good for one month. So, from this point on was the jumped start my part-time consulting jobs.
After the Rohr Industry job, it was followed by a contract job on December 1996 at Boeing on the747X program, which was cancelled a few weeks later. Managed to transfer on February 1997 to two jobs by splitting my time on the High Speed Commercial Transport (supersonic) and on the 777 airplane program. This contract job was good for 7 months.
An acquaintance from my former Boeing days who was then working for a French company near Paris and whose company was trying to convinced Boeing to use their product, inquired if I would be interested to provide technical support to General Electric in configurating a thrust reverser design for one of GE’s customer, a German aircraft company, Dornier, who was building a business jet. It was on April of 2000, when I was treated with a implant seed radiation (Brachtheraphy) due to a small cancerous tumor in my prostate. On May 2000, I took the job and made a few trips to Cincinnati, lasting several days at a time. Airplane travels and working in the office was disruptive right after the treatment as the feeling of urination was frequent and bothersome. The culmination of this job brought me to Holland to test the installed thrust reverser on a full model Dornier airplane in a DNW low speed wind tunnel located in Emmeloord, which was a 4-5 hours drive from Amsterdam. On weekends, I was able to drive in the northern part of Holland to sight see and was also able to take the train to Brussels to visit my first cousin, who was married to a Belgian.This part-time contract job lasted for four months
Later on, a job opened up in Opa-Locka, Florida (north of Miami) on May 2001 with Quiet Technology Aerospace, Inc. This job required me as an FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER) to witness a certification test of their quiet nacelle installation (hush kit) for retro fit to the older Gulfstream business jets. Made a few trips to Florida for this test witnessing job which lasted for three months.
Another acquaintance at Boeing was able to land me a consulting job on May 2004 to provide technical support in the design of the thrust reverser for the 787 and the new 747-8 airplanes. This was a part time job, three times a week in Everett which did not impose any hardship or duress in my commuting schedule. The work itself was not difficult as I had done the same type of work at Boeing before I retired, so it was a piece of cake. With this job, I was able to make a trip to Philadelphia where we tested the airplane model with an installed thrust reverser in the Vertol-Boeing wind tunnel. This job was a long one for me since it almost lasted for twenty seven months. I stayed on this job from the beginning of the 787 program to the end of the model test program when a viable configuration was arrived at for production design.
As I was still working for Boeing towards the end of my contract, I was contacted with an offer by Spirit Aerosystem, Inc. of Wichita, Kansas to provide technical and FAA DER support in the development of the thrust reverser for the Gulfstream 650 business jet. Spirit has been selected by Rolls Royce to provide the nacelle with all the internal systems which makes a complete propulsion package for the Rolls Royce BR 725 engine that would power the new Gulfstream 650 business jet. In this arrangement, Spirit had to deal with the engine and the airplane makers and whatever Spirit needed to do, it has to go thru Rolls Royce and Gulfstream for consensus. Gulfstream was overly critical of Spirit’s work, as Spirit was a new vendor in supplying a complete propulsion package, mistrust of Spirit was understandable. In this environment, the working relationship among the three team was frustrating and bureaucratic, took so much time to have things and efforts to get things done.
In January of 2010, upon an innocent inquiry to a former Boeing acquaintance, who was then a manager of the Engine Performance Group for the 737 Re-engine program, about a job opportunity in his group replied that he could use me. So, once again I was hired as a contract engineer at Boeing and set my work schedule for three days a week. This situation lasted for six months as my hiring manager was replaced by another manager who was my former lead engineer while I worked on the 787 program. I didn’t particularly like my new boss at the time as I was critical of his loose leadership role and now he was my new manager. He let me go as soon as he took over and I think the underlying cause was retribution. I was glad to be out of his group under his supervision because of the remaining few weeks I worked for him, he had not changed a bit and continue his lax/loose management style of leadership. In addition, since he became a first level manager, he had been floating around from one group within the Propulsion Department to another, so one would begin to wonder what his aspirations or ambition were.
After this short term contract employment at Boeing, I went back to APAC Airplane Design on July 2010, whose efforts are mainly providing technical support to China’s Comac 919 airplane program. Work on this project involved answering Comac’s many inquiries on engine and airplane design parameters and these were provided to APAC for its consultant members to respond. However, the hourly pay rate is very good; double that of what Boeing is offering the contract engineering market.