“Non-compliant” planes presenting “security risks”: Boeing targeted by an investigation into three of its models

“Non-compliant” planes presenting “security risks”: Boeing targeted by an investigation into three of its models

Cet ingénieur chez Boeing affirme que des tronçons du Dreamliner “sont incorrectement attachés ensemble et pourraient se dissocier en plein vol”. Unsplash

After the report of a Boeing employee, the American Civil Aviation Regulatory Agency (FAA) announced that it was investigating three models of the American manufacturer: the 737, the 787 Dreamliner and the 777.

The American civil aviation regulator, which has closely monitored Boeing's favorite 737 since January, is also investigating the 787 Dreamliner and the 777, whose structural integrity has been called into question by an engineer from the ;rsquo;aircraft manufacturer, who rejected his accusations. These revelations come at a time when the group is going through severe turbulence due to a succession of production and operational problems with its aircraft for more than a year.

Regulators have identified issues of "non-compliance" concerning the 737 family, and took binding measures for the manufacturer to remedy the situation. These are now three of the four commercial aircraft models currently manufactured by the American group which are officially the subject of an investigation by the American Civil Aviation Regulatory Agency.

A hearing is scheduled in the US Senate on April 17. This will involve addressing "alarming and dangerous production failures"reported by the whistleblower called to testify, said Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal and Republican Ron Johnson, in a joint statement.

"Ignoring serious concerns"

Sam Salehpour, a quality engineer at Boeing, accused the manufacturer of repeatedly ignoring serious concerns about safety and quality control in the construction of the 787 and 777", according to a letter dated January 17, sent by its lawyers to the head of the FAA.

"Our client has identified significant security concerns and has made every effort to draw the attention of those responsible for Boeing", indicate lawyers Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, in this letter made public after information published at midday by the New York Times.

"We thoroughly investigate all reports", the FAA said in a statement sent to the" ;rsquo;AFP. In his alert launched to the regulator, Sam Salehpour explains having noted "shortcuts" in the Dreamliner assembly process which notably caused "deformation of the composite materials, which could alter wear performance in the long term"< /em>.

Pressures faced by Boeing engineers

According to him, more than a thousand Dreamliners in service could have this problem. And, regarding the 777, he states that from "new assembly procedures" implemented without carrying out "the necessary redesign of the parts concerned resulted in poor alignment coins". According to him, "Boeing engineers were pressured to turn a blind eye" while this "also constitutes a serious security risk".

According to the New York Times, this engineer, with Boeing for more than ten years, claims that sections of the Dreamliner "are incorrectly attached together and could disassociate from each other in mid-flight after completing thousands of flights". Boeing has rejected the accusations, saying it has “full confidence in the 787 Dreamliner” , as well as "in the safety and sustainability of the family 777".

"These claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are unfounded and do not represent the extensive work Boeing has done to ensure quality and safety. long-term safety of the device", he said in a statement. "The reported issues underwent a rigorous engineering review under FAA oversight", continued the group, assuring that they presented "no security concerns and (that) the plane will be (it) operational for several decades”.

"inaccurate" according to Boeing

The manufacturer also claimed that the accusations relating to the 777 were "inaccurate". The aircraft manufacturer has been under scrutiny since an incident on January 5 on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9, delivered in October, from which a cap holder came loose in flight.

The accumulation of incidents got the better of boss Dave Calhoun, who will leave at the end of 2024, and some of the group's leaders. Mr.  Calhoun was appointed to turn around Boeing after the crash of two 737 MAX 8s due to design flaws in 2018 and 2019, which left 346 dead.

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