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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 6, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta is happiness Happiness for a small boy is many things, but for Jack Westwood of St. Petersburg, Fla., happiness is a bubble, king-size variety. Building super cargo airliner is nightmare By JEAN HELLER BURBANK, Calif. For the Lockheed Corp., building the super cargo plane for the U.S. Air Force is like being beaten with a wet rope. It's going to be such a relief when it's over. What looked like a routine job when Lockheed won the contract to build the airplane in 1965 has turned into a nightmare of cost overruns, delivery, delays, performance deficiencies and public ridi- cule. the was first ordered, it was estimated that 120 of the plsnes would cost just over billion. Cur- rently the air force lins ra- duced the order to 81 aircraft at a total cost of more than billion. The net result is that the unit price of the air- craft has nearly doubled. of the 81st plane was scheduled for May, two years behind schedule. delivered in 1971 had 251 deficiencies per aircraft. Last year was better, but each plane still had 126 deficiencies. was supposed to have a flying life of hours. Without structural modifications and reduciions in air speed and pay load ca- pacity, the air force now esti- mates the planes won't last beyond hours in their as- signed role of airlifting huge amounts of cargo or large numbers of troops. fleet of was supposed to be 75 per cent op- erationally ready at any given time. Because of unreliable Birdyback And that's exactly the way this carmine bee-eater cats arcund in Ethiopia's Danskil desert. Its transpor- tation is provided by the Arabian bustard. aircraft components, inade- quate training and numbers of maintenance personnel, only about 54 per cent of the fleet is operationally ready at any one time. COSTLY TO FIX The air force estimates It will cost at least million to fix these and other deficien- cies in the but nothing can undo the fact that the air- plane has been one of the examples of Pentagon procurement in history. The Lockheed contract was written under a purchasing procedure called total pack- age procurement. "It was a complicated con- tract, a terribly complicated Keith Anderson, Lockheed's corporate vice president for government con- tracts, an interview. In total package procure- ment, a would-be contractor makes a package bid on the development and production of an item. For the winning bidder, that package bid be- comes a fixed-price contract, with fixed required perform- ance spscifications for the product and fixed delivery dotes. Price, performance and delivery are inflexible. "What they were asking us to do was develop something and price the production prod- uct at the same Ander- son said. "What you're bidding is your best guess, but then if you win the contract, your best guess becomes your con- tract and you're locked in. If you've made a bad guess, j'ou're in trouble." GUESS WAS BAD Ar.d Lockheed made a bad guess. There is no provision in a totsl package procurement for building prototypes or reprod- uction items, those early mod- els on which bugs are ironed out. Under a TPP contract, problems don't begin to show up until the product is on the production line, the worst pos- sible place to try to cope with trouble. "In the the essential error that was made, as in so many of thsse big total pack- age programs, is that they did not wait to go into production until they had all the prob- lems shaken out of the system they were David Packard, former deputy sec- retary of defence, said in an interview. "The desire of the military to accelerate a program and to define an operational date too early and consider that date as being fixed and to de- fine the whole program that way makes the project more rigid than realistic." RULED our Actually, that kind of inflex- ibility is designed as a cost control. Under TPP, no changes are supposed to be made in an item after a con- tract is signed because changes make the item more expensive. But the dictum also leaves no room for trade- offs, the process of modify- ing one specification so an- other can be met. The LetHhtridge Herald Fifth Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, June 6, 1973 Pages 55-62 United States suffers by comparison British political system wins hands down A Commentary By C. L. SULZBERGER New York Times Service LONDON English newspa- pers correctly assess this coun- try's brief sensation involving politicians and call girls as about like a dirty postcard com- pared to the exploding letter- bomb of America's Watergate. Britain's scandal, which seems to be entirely over, in- volves only sex in high places. It has bean handled promptly and with maximum decorum by Prime Minister Heath, and the offending parties have dis- played dignity. The public en- joyed the titillation but has shown itself wise enough ne- ither to equate the affair with that staining the United States nor even to try and make it a party issue. One cannot, however, avoid draw ing comparisons between the American and British po- litical systems. Each has for long practised democracy, and both over long periods have proven flexible under stress. But at this instant in time, the British version comes out way ahead. Twice during the last 35 this country's governance was severely strained. During the 1933 Czechoslovakia crisis Prime Minister Neville Cham- berlain when appeasing Hitler, exceeded normal cabinet and parliamentary consultative rou- tine. And in 1956, prior to the Suez conflict, Prime Minister Anthony Eden entered into se- cret foreign commitments which stirred an outcry when subsequently exposed. Nevertheless, the point must be made that neither venture would have been passible with- out indications of public support for the policies they expressed. Not long after mass opinion changed, the governments themselves were changed. Both Britain and America have seen a gain in executive power during this complex tech- nological age. Decisions from Suez to Cambodia have been taken without prior consulta- tion of legislators' opinions. But a British prime minister cannot for long get away with high- handed actions. An American president can. His cabinet is not made up of members of congress; British ministers are all drawn from parliament. Moreover, many American chief executives Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Kennedy, Nixon have treated their cabinets with indifference. Tha last four named gave priority to the counsel of friends or non- ministerial advisers. Furthermore, the head of a British government cannot es- cape direct confrontation with his Parliamentary opposition and, through that opposition, with the public. He may post- pone real confrontation as with Suez but cannot avoid it in the end. Tire prime minis- ter here is a Parliamentary leader and a member of the House of Commons. He re- mains in office at the pleasure of that house. Therefore he must always at- tend its meetings, answer ques- tions tabled by its membsrs and reply to their arguments with sufficient success to keep majority support. If he is cen- sured, out he goes. The parlia- mentary opposition is a skilled body of men whose constitution- al duty is to try and upset the government. Normally, however, it cannot do so until the general public has been aroused by policies with which it disagrees. When Chamberlain was ousted in 1940, more than 30 of his Tory supporters in the Commons, re- sponding to public opinion, join- ed with the opposition to throw him out. There is no similarly direct contact between the American opposition and the chief execu- tive who is elected for a spe- cified period of time. The pres- ident is not by law required regularly to explain or justify his actions in public although he may choose to do so through press conferences or television. He can minimize or delay presentation of his full case on any heated issue by simply fail- ing to summon press confer- ences or to face unsympathetic questioning. Thus he can re- main unavailable which is what Nixon has largely done during the Watergate investiga- tion. There is no formal debate be- tween the head of government and the opposition in the Uni- ted States; only an irregular system dominated by the pres- ident's own authority and lim- ited to informal probing by tha press. For this reason the press has assumed immense political importance. Under our law there is no other direct ques- tioning authority. The obvious conclusion is not that we should modify our sys- tem to copy the prime minis- terial method. Nor, ons may add, is it desirable to exagger- ate the legislature's role, which had its ultimate limits fixed by the constitution. The way provided under our law for continuing good govern- ment is by continuing a truly free press. It is better to risk the excesses of enthusiastic in- terpretation of that license than to risk its curb. The formula has proven itself over many generations. However, an insti- tutionalized reduction of execu- tive privilege vis-a-vis congress would avoid the r i s k of what has just occurred. In Florida Blue How's this for value! An 8-pc. sun set a-1 R 92650-51-78-55. Sparkling 8-pc. sun-set includes a big 8-rib, 6' umbrella with spike anchor, sturdy 4-leg, 32" diam. table, Tringed cover and 4 deluxe size flora! vinyl chairs. 'Florida' Blue and White floral vinyl covers, e-1 R 90652. Match, swing 129.98 1 R 91650. Match, lounge 27.99 Save 'Cushionstrap' 3-pc. garden set 3-piece set if bought separately costs 43.98 Save On Combination 37 d-1 R 97608. includes 2 chairs and 1 chaisette. Super comfort vinyl straps with deluxe plastic webbing. 2-tone Blue or Avocado. Look! Our best chair buy e-1 R 94728. Compact folding rustproofed steel frame, wood arms, multi-coloured striped fabric, spring-action seats. STORE HOURS: Open daily from a.m. to p.m. Thuri. and Fri. a.m. to p.m. Centre Village Mall. Telephone 328-9231 ;