90 Days

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90 Days
90 Days VHS box cover from episode Number 6
Theme music composerUnknown
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes26
Running time30 minutes (appx.)
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Audio formatStereo sound
Original releaseSeptember 1989 –
February 1996
Followed byFlight Times TV

90 Days is a video news magazine produced by McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, MO and distributed at the end of every business quarter (hence the show's title) through the mail to employees and shareholders of the company in VHS format. From its inception in September 1989 until the final episode in 1996 under the "90 Days" title, the program routinely featured segments about employees and company programs or products, all while incorporating a review of financial results from the previous quarter. An example clip from the program can currently be found on the video website YouTube. It was "a video report about issues, events and people important to you and McDonnell Douglas."[1]


As Mr. McDonnell explains in "Number 1," the purpose behind going to the expense of producing and distributing 90 Days was to facilitate better communication between the company and its employees and shareholders. In fact, the first episode came with a postcard so viewers could share their comments on the show, and a special mailing address was established for comments throughout the life of the program. When "Number 1" debuted, the company was in the midst of a major transition, and at the time this was an innovative form of communication that served as an insight into the company's direction.


Over the course of the program's production, 90 Days had three hosts:

Episode Summaries[edit]

Each episode of 90 Days was named according to its numerical order in the series, and featured a summary of that episode either on the reverse of the VHS video cover (early episodes) or printed on a label on the video itself (episodes after "Number 17").

# Title Date Host Runtime
1 Number 1 Sept. 1989 John McDonnell 23:35
2 Number 2 Dec. 1989 John McDonnell 30:45
  • Members of the Torrance, CA parts manufacturing team take a field trip to Long Beach to see how their parts help shape the MD-80
  • Third quarter financial performance review
  • A look into how assembly team members at McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company improved efficiency in building the Apache
  • A look at the first commercial launch of a satellite by a private United States company, the Space Systems Company use of the Delta rocket in Huntington Beach, California
  • A celebration of McDonnell Aircraft Company's 50th Anniversary.
3 Number 3 March 1990 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • A visit to the McDonnell Douglas Missile Systems Company's training center
  • financial performance review
  • Engineering and manufacturing teams prepare the MD-11 for first flight
  • How teamwork is leading to faster solutions on the F-15E production line
  • A feature on the Navy's Blue Angels
4 Number 4 June 1990 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • A visit to MAC to see examine how a partnership has been built between labor and management
  • A review of first quarter financial results, and a discussion of the challenges and opportunities the company faces
  • The military commanders of plant representative offices give their perspective on MDC's performance
5 Number 5 Sept. 1990 John McDonnell 32:40
  • A look at the issues, questions and emotions surrounding recent corporate-wide cost reductions
  • Chairman John McDonnell discusses second quarter results
  • Techniques being tried at the Space Systems Company in Huntington Beach to improve white-collar productivity
  • Meet the first winners of the Spirit of Excellence Award
6 Number 6 Dec. 1990 John McDonnell 30 minutes
7 Number 7 March 1991 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • A visit to Motorola to learn how their quest for first-time quality and customer satisfaction earned them the Malcolm Baldrige Award
  • 1990 financial results and fourth quarter highlights
  • A stop by the Missile Company's Harpoon Depot to examine how reducing cycle time speeds up repairs and retrofits on the formidable weapon
8 Number 8 June 1991 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • How statistical process control techniques are improving productivity at McDonnell Aircraft's Machining Center
  • A tour of the McDonnell Douglas Research Laboratories
  • Field service representative Kirt Brown relates his experiences in Operation Desert Storm, and the outstanding performance of the Apache during the conflict
  • A review of first quarter financial performance
9 Number 9 Sept. 1991 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • How MCAIR fixes parts that don't fit properly on the F/A-18
  • Test pilot Bill Casey & assembly manager Steve Waltman take 90 Days through final preparations before the C-17's first flight
  • The winners of the Spirit of Excellence Award
  • Second quarter financial results
10 Number 10 Dec. 1991 John McDonnell 37:04
  • John McDonnell discusses the MD-12 program, and gives third quarter financial results
  • A visit to the Electronic Systems Company to learn about lasers and microphotonics
  • A ride along with test pilot Bill Casey for the C-17's first flight
11 Number 11 March 1992 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • How the criteria for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is used to measure MDC's TQMS progress
  • 1991 financial results
  • CFO Herb Lanese explains why better asset management & inventory control are essential to profitability & competitiveness
  • A tour of Space Station Freedom via the Space Systems Company
12 Number 12 June 1992 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • A visit to Douglas Aircraft's Macon, Georgia facility to see employees work in self-managed groups and participate in running the plant
  • First quarter financial results in addition to an update of the MD-12 program
  • How MDC is improving first-time quality by building better relationship with a smaller number of preferred suppliers
  • The T-45 Goshawk undergoing sea trials on the USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier
13 Number 13 Sept. 1992 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • MCAIR's new systems and process to help improve program management on the Super Hornet
  • The winners of 1992's McDonnell Douglas Spirit of Excellent Award
  • A visit to the Space Systems Company at Kennedy Space Center to see how they put payload aboard the Space Shuttle
  • Second quarter financial performance
14 Number 14 Dec. 1992 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • A visit to the MD-11 production line to examine how new systems and processes are helping reduce costs, improve quality, and putting the program back on schedule
  • A behind the scenes look at efforts to test the C-17 for the rigors of military operations
  • A review of third quarter financial results
15 Number 15 March 1993 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • Meet the new AV-8B Harrier II, and learn how Integrated Product Definition contributed to its successful first flight one month ahead of schedule
  • 1992 financial results, and the findings of the 2nd annual TQMS improvement evaluation
  • A report about light-weight composite parts
16 Number 16 June 1993 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • See the first flight of the MD-90 takes place in Long Beach, CA, and meet some of the people behind its development
  • Learn about the new DC-X
  • First quarter financial results
17 Number 17 Sept. 1993 John McDonnell 30 minutes
  • A look at the T45 Training System in action at Naval Air Station Kingsville
  • TQMS groups thriving at the Salt Lake City, Utah facility where MD-80 & MD-11 parts are made
  • The winners of the annual Spirit of Excellence awards
  • Second quarter financial results
18 Number 18 Dec. 1993 ? ?
summary: unknown
19 Number 19 March 1994 Harry Stonecipher 30 minutes
20 Number 20 June 1994 Harry Stonecipher 30 minutes
  • MDC helps introduce the C-17 into the USAF's fleet at Charleston Air Force Base
  • A T-45 team tackles manufacturing problems by measuring defects per unit
  • First quarter financial results
21 Number 21 Sept. 1994 Harry Stonecipher 30 minutes
  • A customer assessment of performance & how it's being improved with Process Action Teams
  • 1993's Spirit of Excellence Award winners
  • Second quarter financial highlights
  • The Annual Meeting product & '93 highlights video
22 Number 22 Dec. 1994 Harry Stonecipher 30 minutes
  • A look at the Navy's "Desert Bogeys" squadron
  • A feature about the MD Explorer NOTAR system helicopter
  • Stereo lithography used to make prototypes rapidly
  • Third quarter financial results
23 Number 23 March 1995 Harry Stonecipher 30 minutes
  • Learn why and how the 16th production C-17 was delivered ahead of schedule
  • FAA certification of the MD-90
  • A look at the Phantom Works
  • 1994 financial results and the results of the 4th annual TQMS-IE
24 Number 24 June 1995 Harry Stonecipher 30 minutes
Redesigned video cover from Number 24
  • An interview with Laurie Broedling, the new VP of human resources
  • Testing the MD-11 before customer delivery
  • A look at new wind tunnel technology
  • First quarter financial results
25 Number 25 Sept. 1995 Harry Stonecipher 36 minutes
  • MDC helicopters help the Phoenix Police Department maintain law and order
  • The Phantom Works finds new ways to build airplanes faster, better, and more affordably
  • Meet 1994's Spirit of Excellence Award winners
  • Second-quarter financial results and highlights
26 Number 26 - F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: A 90 Days Special Report Feb. 1996 ? ?
VHS cover from the Super Hornet special report
  • The story of the Navy's next generation fighter and the revolutionary new way we build it

Credits (or lack thereof)[edit]

As you'll notice in the infobox, there is little information regarding the production staff that was behind the creation of each episode of 90 Days. This is because there are no formal credit titles either before or after episodes. So for now, everyone from the theme music composer to the graphics designers live on in anonymity.

Legacy of 90 Days[edit]

There are not any known plans to resurrect either 90 Days or its successor, Flight Times TV by Boeing.[2] However, at least one episode from the program is currently available on video site YouTube. As such (and considering Mr. McDonnell suggested during the first episode viewers could tape over the show after watching it), 90 Days has fallen into complete obscurity. But for those who look closer, 90 Days lives on as a valuable reference into the ups and downs of the aerospace industry in the late 1980s and most of the 1990s.


  1. ^ "Number 1." 90 Days. By McDonnell Douglas. St. Louis, MO. Sept. 1989. Videocassette.
  2. ^ "Boeing Unveils New Corporate Identity". Boeing Press Release. 1997-08-01. Archived from the original on 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2008-01-14.