May 30, 2024

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Boeing whistleblowers to testify in Congress about defects in planes

Boeing whistleblowers to testify in Congress about defects in planes

Boeing is subject to back-to-back Senate hearings on Wednesday, as Congress weighs allegations Major security failures At the besieged aircraft manufacturer.

The Senate Commerce Committee heard from members Expert Committee Which found serious flaws in Boeing's safety culture. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the public wants the FAA and Congress to make sure flying on one of the company's planes is not dangerous.

“Commercial aviation remains the safest way to travel, but recent events have understandably left the aviation public concerned. The perception is that things are getting worse,” Cruz said.

In a report released in February, the expert panel said that despite improvements made after two Boeing MAX planes crashed that killed 346 people, Boeing's safety culture remains flawed, and employees who raise concerns may face pressure and retaliation.

One witness, Javier De Luis, an aviation lecturer at MIT, lost his sister when a Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed in Ethiopia in 2019. De Luis commented on the disconnect between Boeing management's words about safety and what workers observe on the factory floor.

“They hear: ‘Safety is our number one priority,'” he said. “What they see is that this is only true as long as your production milestones are met, and at that point it's 'get it out the door as quickly as you can.'”

Speaking with Boeing workers, Day-Lewis said he heard “that there is a very real fear of retaliation and retaliation if you stand your ground.”

Boeing has been in crisis mode since a door connection panel on a 737 MAX exploded during an Alaska Airlines flight in January. Investigators are focusing on Four screws Which were removed and apparently not replaced during the repair job at the Boeing factory.

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A second hearing will be held in the Senate on Wednesday Boeing engineer Who claims that parts of the skin on the 787 Dreamliner planes were not installed properly and could eventually break. The whistleblower's lawyer says Boeing ignored the engineer's concerns and prevented him from speaking to experts about fixing the defects.

The whistleblower, Sam Salehpour, sent documents to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the quality and safety of Boeing's manufacturing. Ed Pearson, former director of the Boeing 737 program, is also scheduled to testify before the Senate Investigations Subcommittee on Wednesday. Two other aviation technical experts are also on the witness list.

The Democrat who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's subcommittee and its top Republicans asked Boeing Collections of documents Go back six years.

Lawmakers are seeking all records related to the manufacturing of Boeing's 787 and 777 planes, including any safety concerns or complaints raised by Boeing employees, contractors or airlines. Some of the questions seek information about Salehpour's allegations of poor fitment of the carbon composite panels on the Dreamliner.

A Boeing spokesman said the company was cooperating with lawmakers' investigation and offered to provide documents and briefings.

The company says claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are untrue. Two Boeing engineering executives said this week that it's in both Design testing and inspection Of the aircraft – some of which were 12 years old – no signs of fatigue or cracking were found in the composite panels. They suggested that the material, composed of carbon fiber and resin, is almost resistant to fatigue, which is a constant concern with traditional aluminum airframes.

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Boeing officials also denied another claim by Salehpur: that he saw factory workers jumping on fuselage parts on 777 planes to get them upright.

Salehpour is the latest whistleblower to emerge with allegations about manufacturing problems at Boeing. After a panel explosion left a gaping hole in an Alaska Airlines plane mid-flight over Oregon, the company faces a criminal investigation by the Justice Department and separate investigations by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

CEO David Calhoun, who will get down At the end of the year, I stated several times that Boeing was taking steps to improve its manufacturing quality and safety culture. He described the Alaska plane explosion as a “defining moment” from which Boeing would emerge better.

There is a lot of skepticism about such comments.

“We need to look at what Boeing does, not just what it says it does,” Senator Tammy Duckworth, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said before Wednesday's hearing.

The FAA is also likely to take some hits. Until recently, the agency “passed over a lot of Boeing's repeated bad behavior,” especially when it certified the 737 MAX nearly a decade ago, Duckworth said. The fatal Max plane crashed after faulty activation of a flight control system that the FAA did not fully understand.

As requested by leaders of the Senate Investigations Subcommittee FAA documents Regarding its supervision of Boeing.