Boeing whistleblower to testify in Congress about defects in planes

Boeing faces back-to-back Senate hearings Wednesday as Congress examines allegations of major security failures at the aeronautical manufacturer in difficulty.

The Senate Commerce Committee heard from members of a panel of experts which revealed serious flaws in Boeing’s safety culture. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said the public wants the Federal Aviation Administration and Congress to ensure that boarding one of the company’s planes is safe.

“Commercial flights remain the safest form of transport, but it is understandable that recent incidents have caused concern among the traveling public. It feels like things are getting worse,” Cruz said.

In a report released in February, the panel said that despite improvements made after the crash of two Boeing Max aircraft, which killed 346 people, Boeing’s safety culture remains flawed and that employees who report concerns could be subject to pressure and reprisals.

One of the witnesses, Javier de Luis, an aeronautics professor at MIT, lost his sister when a Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed in Ethiopia in 2019. De Luis commented on the discrepancy between what management said Boeing on safety and what workers observe in the factory.

“They hear, ‘Safety is our number one priority,’” he said. “What they see is that this is only true as long as your production goals are met, and at that point it’s a case of ‘Push it as fast as you can.’ »

In speaking with Boeing workers, de Luis said he heard “that there was a very real fear of retaliation and retaliation if you stood your ground.”

Boeing has been pushed into crisis mode since a door catch panel blew up a 737 Max jetliner during an Alaska Airlines flight in January. Investigators are focusing on four bolts which were removed and apparently not replaced during a repair job at the Boeing factory.

A second Senate hearing on Wednesday will focus on a Boeing engineer which claims that sections of skin on 787 Dreamliner jets are not properly attached and could eventually break. The whistleblower’s lawyer claims Boeing ignored the engineer’s concerns and blocked him from talking with 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 manufacturing. Ed Pierson, former director of the Boeing 737 program, is also scheduled to testify Wednesday before a Senate investigative subcommittee. 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 Republican have called on Boeing to treasures of documents going back six years.

Lawmakers are seeking all records relating to the manufacturing of the Boeing 787 and 777, including any safety issues or complaints raised by Boeing employees, contractors or airlines. Some questions seek information on Salehpour’s allegations regarding poorly fitted carbon composite panels on the Dreamliner.

A Boeing spokesperson 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 false. Two Boeing technical officials said this week that in both cases design testing and inspections On planes — some as old as 12 years old — no signs of fatigue or cracking have been noted in the composite panels. They suggested that the material, made of carbon fibers and resin, is almost immune to the fatigue that is a constant concern with conventional aluminum fuselages.

Boeing officials also rejected another allegation by Salehpour: that he saw factory workers jumping on sections of the 777 fuselage to align them.

Salehpour is the latest whistleblower to come forward with allegations about manufacturing problems at Boeing. After the exploding sign 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 FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

CEO David Calhoun, who resign at the end of the year, repeatedly said Boeing was taking steps to improve its manufacturing quality and safety culture. He called the Alaska jet explosion a “watershed moment” from which a better Boeing will emerge.

Such comments cause a lot of skepticism.

“We need to look at what Boeing is doing, not just what it claims to be doing,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said before Wednesday’s hearing.

The FAA is also likely to take some hits. Duckworth said that until recently, the agency “had ignored far too much of Boeing’s repeated bad behavior,” particularly when it certified the 737 Max nearly a decade ago. The deadly Max crashes after faulty activations of a flight control system that the FAA didn’t fully understand.

Leaders of the Senate Investigations Subcommittee also asked FAA Documents on his surveillance of Boeing.

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Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe.Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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