Another Boeing Whistleblower’s Statements Sparks FAA Investigation

( – Boeing is no stranger to dealing with problems. Quality issues have plagued the aircraft giant for years, and recent events, including a door plug blowing off mid-air, have only exacerbated the issues. One whistleblower, former quality manager John Barnett, raised the flag about the company’s manufacturing practices and was set to testify. Sadly, he was found dead before that could happen. Another whistleblower has come forward, and it has prompted a federal investigation.

Sam Salehpour, a longtime engineer for Boeing, went public on Tuesday, April 9, with complaints of flaws in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s assembly. Particularly, the problem lies within the fuselage, the main body of the aircraft, and how the pieces are fastened together. He spoke of production shortcuts that could lead to weakening over time and potentially “catastrophic failure,” including the fuselage falling apart while in flight.

The issues, Salehpour explained, stem from changes the company made to fitting and fastening large sections together in the assembly line. He alleges that the parts come from different manufacturers and don’t always line up properly. Boeing disputes this and says there are no safety issues. Paul Lewis, a company spokesman, says the changes were made but have “no impact on durability or safe longevity of the airframe,” citing extensive testing results.

On the same day as Salehpour’s public comments, The New York Times reported that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was investigating the claims. The agency confirmed it was looking into the allegations, including documentation provided by Salehpour, but refused to comment on the matter.

Boeing is still facing legal issues, as well. The Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the aircraft company after a door panel blew off an Alaska Airlines flight in January, bringing the manufacturing process into the spotlight. That plane was a 737 Max jet. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but it left people rattled.

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