Boeing: Safety Concerns for 777 and 787 Aircraft

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a pivotal moment, Boeing whistleblower Sam Salehpour testified last Wednesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee regarding critical safety and quality issues surrounding the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Salehpour, a quality engineer at Boeing, raised alarming concerns during the hearing. Here are the key points:

  1. Defective Airplanes: Salehpour boldly stated that Boeing is putting out defective airplanes due to manufacturing shortcuts. His testimony focused on the widely used 787 Dreamliner, which operates on international routes for numerous airlines.
  2. Manufacturing Shortcuts: The engineer revealed that excessive force was used by workers at a Boeing factory to jam together sections of the Dreamliner’s fuselage. This force could potentially compromise the carbon-composite material used for the plane’s frame, significantly impacting safety and the aircraft’s life cycle.
  3. Whistleblower Retaliation: When Salehpour raised concerns, his boss questioned whether he was “in or out.” The pressure to remain silent was palpable. Boeing, however, claims that retaliation is strictly prohibited and encourages employees to speak up.
  4. Boeing 777 Also Impacted: Salehpour’s testimony extended beyond the Dreamliner. He expressed similar concerns about the Boeing 777, another crucial passenger plane in the company’s fleet.
  5. Company Response: Boeing engineering executives countered Salehpour’s claims, asserting that there were no findings of fatigue or cracking in the composite panels of both the 787 and older planes during design testing and inspections. They emphasized the material’s resilience compared to conventional aluminum fuselages.

The dual hearings—focused on the 787’s structural integrity and Boeing’s safety culture—underscore the intense scrutiny the company faces. Since the door-plug panel incident on a 737 Max jetliner earlier this year, Boeing has been under multiple investigations, with the FBI even considering potential criminal charges against the company.

As senators expressed shock and dismay, the safety of passengers and the integrity of Boeing’s aircraft remain paramount. The aviation industry watches closely as the company grapples with these revelations. (zai)
Photo: Boeing