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Senate Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Boeing Whistleblower Claims and Safety Culture

Breaking: Boeing Under Investigation for Manufacturing and Safety Issues

Breaking: Boeing Under Investigation for Manufacturing and Safety Issues

Senate Subcommittee Hearing Will Probe Boeing Safety Culture

The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a hearing next week to examine new claims from a Boeing whistleblower published in the New York Times on Tuesday. Sam Salehpour, a Boeing engineer, reported that design and manufacturing faults in the 787 Dreamliner and 777 fuselages could reduce the safe service life of these long-haul aircraft.

Senate Subcommittee Calls Hearing, Requests Boeing CEO’s Participation

Chairman Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ranking Member Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent letters to Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and Michael Whitaker, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, requesting their participation in the hearing and extensive documents on the manufacturing and certification of these aircraft.

Boeing’s Response and Cooperation

I contacted Boeing for more details on the company’s preparations for this hearing. Boeing confirmed cooperating with the Senate Subcommittee and shared technical details of the extensive testing conducted on its long-haul aircraft.

Whistleblower Claims Boeing Dismissed Safety And Quality Control Concerns

Sam Salehpour, a Boeing engineer for over four decades, claims the company repeatedly dismissed his concerns over quality control and safety for the 787 and 777 aircraft.

Salehpour’s attorneys stated that these manufacturing faults, including shortcuts and misalignments, could impact the structural integrity of Boeing’s long-haul planes and pose potential safety risks.

Salehpour’s Allegations

Salehpour observed shortcuts and identified manufacturing faults that increased stress on important joints and resulted in drilling debris in over 1,000 planes. He claims that defects in the Fuselage Automated Upright Build and Determinant Assembly processes for the 777 series could affect at least 400 airplanes.

Pattern of Disregard for Safety and Retaliation

According to Salehpour’s attorneys, currently known defective aircraft structures could reduce the safe service life of these planes. Furthermore, Salehpour alleges retaliation from his supervisors and senior management for raising these safety concerns. His attorneys argue that this treatment fits into a broader pattern of how Boeing manages employees who raise safety and quality concerns.

Boeing Responds and Denies Retaliation

Boeing denies Salehpour’s claims and assures that it monitors and investigates all safety issues. Regarding the manufacturing faults in the 777’s production, the company states that it is fully confident in the safety and durability of the aircraft. Boeing also expresses confidence in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s structural integrity and underlines the rigorous engineering examination the plane underwent.

Boeing’s Assurance and Halted Deliveries

Boeing assures that its production improvements guarantee quality and durability while emphasizing FAA oversight. The company also highlights the FAA’s management of the in-service 787 Dreamliner fleet. Although Boeing adjusted its production and halted 787 deliveries to address conformance issues, the FAA deemed the fleet safe to continue operating.

FAA Oversight and Response to Investigation

As the investigation proceeds, Senators Blumenthal and Johnson have requested extensive records of the FAA’s oversight of the Boeing 787 and 777 programs. The FAA has acknowledged the claims and stated its commitment to thorough investigations and voluntary reporting.

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