Chapter 2

In 1957, upon graduation from Cal Poly, I joined Douglas Aircraft as an Aerodynamist in the Air Force C-133 Cargo Aircraft group.

Aerodynamics Group basketball team, Douglas Aircraft-1957.
The group in the back are standing in a hole.

It was an awakening experience. Back in the same windowless building that I had started in nearly four years earlier, and not far from the same drafting boards I had previously worked.

Barbara had also begun working for Douglas, after a short stint with Rockwell in Seal Beach. She was working in the C-133 Program office just down the hall from my desk. Barbara worked just long enough to put the down payment on our first home in Anaheim, which was located just two miles from Disneyland. Carrie, our daughter, was born on December 31st, 1958, a New Years Eve baby; Craig, our son, was born May 14th, 1961.

By 1960, I was settling into a long career as an Aerodynamist at the Douglas Aircraft plant in Long Beach, California. That is when things began to change.

Douglas had just completed a 10,000 foot runway at the Long Beach airport, adjacent to the Douglas facility. The east side of Lakewood Boulevard was owned by Douglas; this is where the DC-8 was to be manufactured. The Air Force owned the west side of the facility. Douglas wanted to purchase the western half to build a new engineering facility to support the DC-8, but negotiations bogged down.

To prove that he would want a reasonable price for the facility, Donald Douglas moved everyone to the ancient Santa Monica facility and emptied the Air Force half in Long Beach. The Engineering Department was located in a hangar where the design work for the DC-1,2,3,4,6, and 7 had been accomplished, and I am sure the desk they gave me was a part of this era. It was history at its best. Being a part of it was amusing to say the least, especially when they had to spray the walls and desks for termites once a week.

Barbara and I thought we should move to the Santa Monica area, as the drive was 1.5 hours from Anaheim. We looked into homes in the Santa Monica area - too expensive, and the San Fernando Valley was too far. Though we did not need to move from Anaheim, as we had gotten the bug and purchased a home in Rossmoor, still 1.5 hours from Santa Monica.

During this time period, unbeknownst to us, Douglas and the Air Force had reached an agreement on the Long Beach facility. As it turned out, we were to move back to Long Beach in April 1961. Negotiations had been completed for the remainder of the facility. As it turned out, Rossmoor was only 20 minutes from the Long Beach facility. We were accused of knowing about the return to Long Beach because of our good luck in purchasing a home in Rossmoor. Now the Santa Monicans had to face the relocation problems we faced a year earlier.