The Air Current

The fourth in a series focusing on Boeing’s road to developing its next all-new commercial airplane.

Where did Boeing’s ‘Black Diamond’ come from? And where did it go?

The moniker has been an ultrasecret industrial mystery since it was first revealed by Aviation Week in 2015. Its origins are known only to a few that developed Boeing’s ill-fated bid for the U.S. Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber.

Launched secretly three years prior, some believe that Black Diamond got its codename from a community in Washington state. Others saw it as an homage to the steepest and most challenging slope a skier can descend.2One retired industry leader even suggested the diamond was the shape of Boeing’s own bomber design.

Related: The linchpin technology behind Boeing’s 797

But Black Diamond is also — quite literally — a diamond. Not a precious stone, but the shape that Boeing is uses to represent the new crown jewel of its simulation-based engineering future. And today, it is the base on which its New Mid-Market Airplane (NMA) — eventually its 797 — is being built.

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Jon Ostrower is Editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Prior to launching TAC in June 2018, Ostrower served as Aviation Editor for CNN Worldwide, guiding the network's global coverage of the business and operations of flying. Ostrower joined CNN in 2016 following four and half years at the Wall Street Journal. Based first in Chicago and then in Washington, D.C. he covered Boeing, aviation safety and the business of global aerospace. Before that, Ostrower was editor of the award-winning FlightBlogger for Flightglobal and Flight International Magazine covering the development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other new aircraft programs from 2007 to 2012. Ostrower, a Boston native, graduated from The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs with a bachelor's degree in Political Communication. He is based in Seattle.

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