In 1910, young timber baron Bill Boeing came out of the woods and went to America’s first Great Air Meet at Dominguez Hills near Los Angeles. Although we’re not sure what motivated that trip, we do know Bill came home inspired. In 1915, he learned to fly and purchased a Martin T-2 hydro Aeroplane, setting up a tent hangar on the shores of Lake Washington.
Being a well-to-do, young businessman-about-town, Bill became a member of the Rainier Club, where he met a like-minded aviation enthusiast—Naval officer Conrad Westervelt. They both quickly came to the conclusion that the Martin T-2 had shortcomings, and they felt that they could do better. Thus was born Boeing’s first airplane, the B & W, short for Boeing and Westervelt.
Boeing’s first company—Pacific Aero Products—was established July 15, 1916. However, it was re-organized the following year as The Boeing Company. While Bill, as entrepreneur and visionary, was with the company but a short 18 years, under the guidance of many great and talented leaders and engineers the company he started has become today one of the longest surviving and successful aircraft companies in the world. The Boeing Company has not only set new standards in technology and manufacturing, but has actually contributed to the very vocabulary of aviation history.