Monday, October 5, 2009

Traffic Mystery

I don't get much traffic here, it being a 'niche' site and all that. I do appreciate the few that check in every day, you are who I write for. I have found it interesting what draws traffic however slight. Last week I posted a little note about Northrop-Grumman complaining to the USAF about their bid strategy regarding the Next Generation Tanker acquisition ("Shot across the Bow"). It was a simple link to a press release about the release by the USAF to their pricing data in the original tanker contract which they won but was successfully challenged in protest by Boeing.

Within 12 hours of that post I had an upturn of traffic from of all places, Boeing. Seems they must run one of them 'crawler' search engines that looks for anything posted with their name on it. The original hit came from Chicago which is where corporate headquarters are located, about 6-hours after the post going active. Then there was a flurry of activity shortly after the business day started here on the east coast and another flurry an hour later when business opened in the Central Time zone (their Defense division is headquartered in St Louis, MO). I also got hits from Northrop-Grumman and from two US Government computers at the House of Representatives. No word from Lockheed who I think I slammed more than either of the other two contractor giants.

In the post I made fun of the Boeing pricing scheme and I couldn't help myself and bashed Lockheed at the same time. I have never done work for Northrop, Grumman or the combined Northrop-Grumman Corporation. I have had in the past a long business relationship with Boeing, having been a sub-contractor on some work we did for NASA (the conversion of their S-3 was done by a Boeing field team with me as the consulting engineer). It was this long association that allowed me to make fun of the way they price bids. I saw it firsthand.

Now Lockheed on the other hand, well let me say this first; I hate them.

Yeah, I know 'hate' is such a hard word. Let me explain. I had the pleasure of working on one of their products for 35 straight years. The S-3 Viking was assembled by Lockheed in their old Burbank facility. Notice I said, assembled. The sad fact is that Lockheed 'built' less of the aircraft than at least two other manufacturers, the LTV Company in Texas and the McDonald-Douglass Corporation (the very part that is now owned by Boeing in St Louis). I don't remember the specific percentages by these outliers, but Lockheed was responsible for only 17% of what becomes the S-3. To those of us that worked on the aircraft and did not get a paycheck from Lockheed, that 17% is that part that sucks about the S-3. Over my many years of working on the S-3, I made no effort to hide my contempt or hatred for Lockheed the Corporation. I have had many friends and close working associates that worked for Lockheed whom I respect and feel are great at what they do, however there is 'sausage' in the Corporation and you and me the taxpayer get that shaft thing from that Corporation. That I can't stand.

This is not to say that the other two majors referenced above do not do the same kind of 'shafting' however, I never witnessed it nor did I find evidence of intentional 'revenue generators' (or price gouging, take your pick) built into their product. I did participate in the bidding process for my work with Boeing but they never padded it into the stratosphere even when they had the customer over that preverbal barrel. And they did have them over it several times and they never went there. Lockheed I dare say, would have without a doubt in my mind picked the bones clean.

I have nothing but respect for Northrop-Grumman, actually only the Grumman. Over the last 85 years they have built the best Carrier based Aircraft the Navy has ever used. Not just the F-14 which everyone is quick to point out, but there is a long list going back to bi-planes used before WWII. Their demise as an airframe manufacturer is nothing more than stunning and I feel the Navy is poorer for them getting out of that business. Yeah, they still make the E-2 and C-2 but that is it.

So, I am not sure why the interest from the Boeing Company in my little niche, but they swarmed for a couple of hours and they have gone on their way. Good for them.

Now, the House of Representatives, well now, if they come back here looking, Please one of you pass on to my Congress Woman (that would be Allyson Schwartz of the 13th PA district), Vote NO on HR3200 and that Cap and Trade bill too!

BT: Jimmy T sends.


Buck said...

I get the same sorts of traffic hits from the same folks whenever I publish anything about their systems... anything... good, bad, or indifferent. Some of that stuff has a fairly long shelf life, too. A year or so ago I published extensively on the F-15 longeron failure and I still get three or four hits a week... sometimes more... on that post. Weird, eh?

re: traffic in general. You're still "young" in blog terms, Jimmy. Traffic WILL increase once you become known... trust me. Quality tells, and all that!

JimmyT said...

Buck, thanks for the encouragement, I am still working on it all. I let this last Sunday go without a post and felt guilty to those that stopped in to look around. Traffic is funny, hard not to watch it!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Bag Blog said...

"Now Lockheed on the other hand, well let me say this first; I hate them."

Gee, Jimmy, get off the fence and tell us how you really feel :)

JimmyT said...

Lou, I was so famous for not liking LMAS back in the 70's that when we would get a new Technical Rep from LMAS, they would be forwarned about me. The last one we had actually told me how much my 'negative' reputation was back in Burbank that they would draw straws to see who would be assigned to my squadron. I was proud of that and this guy was the last Avionics rep we would get as I would not allow my Technicians to use them. I could go on.

BT: Jimmy T sends.