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Whistleblower ‘would not’ put family on Boeing 787 jet

  • By James FitzGerald
  • BBC News

Boeing is expected to face criticism at a US Senate hearing from a whistleblower who says he fears its planes could crash in mid-flight.

Engineer Sam Salehpour told NBC News he raised concerns about the 787 Dreamliner, which Boeing rejected.

The company has come under scrutiny after a number of security incidents, including an in-flight sign explosion in January.

But he has sought to defend his practices and claims to be cooperating with the Senate investigation.

Salehpour discussed alleged safety issues with the 787 Dreamliner in an interview with NBC ahead of Wednesday’s hearing.

He said he feared the plane could simply “fall to the ground” unless manufacturing problems were resolved. He referred to discrepancies between components that appeared during the assembly of the aircraft.

Asked if he would put his own family on a 787, he replied: “Right now, I wouldn’t.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating Salehpour’s allegations, which were first reported last week by The New York Times.

Boeing, one of the world’s two largest producers of commercial aircraft, once again insisted on the safety of its planes and disputed the engineer’s claims.

He told NBC: “These claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are inaccurate. The issues raised were subject to a rigorous technical review under the supervision of the FAA.”

At a previous event on Monday, the company said 99% of deviations were within standard and testing showed “zero fatigue.”

Concerns have also been raised in recent years about the safety of Boeing’s 737 Max planes.

In January, a 737 Max 9 was forced to return to its departure point in Portland, Oregon, to make an emergency landing after a door panel exploded mid-flight.

Passengers escaped serious injury, but the incident led to thousands of flight cancellations and renewed scrutiny of Boeing – which previously grounded the 737 Max 8 after fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 .

Salehpour’s allegations were called “deeply serious” by Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who will preside over Wednesday’s hearing.

Others are expected to testify Wednesday, including a representative from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Boeing representatives will not join them, but the company says it is cooperating with the proceedings by offering to provide “documents, testimony and technical briefings.”

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News Source : www.bbc.com

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