Claims of Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet

This is what happens when “our” reps allow corporations to self-regulate.

Claims of Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — When Boeing broke ground on its new factory near Charleston in 2009, the plant was trumpeted as a state-of-the-art manufacturing hub, building one of the most advanced aircraft in the world. But in the decade since, the factory, which makes the 787 Dreamliner, has been plagued by shoddy production and weak oversight that have threatened to compromise safety.

Faulty parts have been installed in planes. Tools and metal shavings have routinely been left inside jets, often near electrical systems. Aircraft have taken test flights with debris in an engine and a tail, risking failure.

On several planes, John Barnett, a former quality manager who worked at Boeing for nearly three decades and retired in 2017, discovered clusters of metal slivers hanging over the wiring that commands the flight controls. If the sharp metal pieces — produced when fasteners were fitted into nuts — penetrate the wires, he said, it could be “catastrophic.”


On a Dreamliner that Boeing had already given a test flight, Mr. Ormson saw that a bolt was loose inside one of the engines. The small piece of metal could have caused the engine to malfunction.


“They didn’t want us bringing union employees out to a nonunion area,” said David Kitson, a former quality manager, who oversaw a team responsible for ensuring that planes are safe to fly.

“We struggled with that,” said Mr. Kitson, who retired in 2015. “There wasn’t the qualified labor pool locally.” Another former manager, Michael Storey, confirmed his account.


Mr. Barnett, the former quality manager, who goes by Swampy in a nod to his Louisiana roots, learned in 2016 that a senior manager had pulled a dented hydraulic tube from a scrap bin, he said. He said the tube, part of the central system controlling the plane’s movement, was installed on a Dreamliner.

Mr. Barnett said the senior manager had told him, “Don’t worry about it.” He filed a complaint with human resources, company documents show.
He also reported to management that defective parts had gone missing, raising the prospect that they had been installed in planes. His bosses, he said, told him to finish the paperwork on the missing parts without figuring out where they had gone.

The F.A.A. investigated and found that Boeing had lost some damaged parts. Boeing said that as a precautionary matter, it had sent notices to airlines about the issue. The company said it had also investigated the flawed hydraulic tube and hadn’t substantiated Mr. Barnett’s claims.

Long article but every paragrap is worth reading.

Airplanes are too serious a piece of ‘equipment’ to allow for this slipshod work. But what’s flyer safety if you can save money during construction apparently.

Why wouldn’t any ‘casualties’ arising from these egregious cost saving methods not be criminal neglect? It’s all intentional and avoidable. Of course, you’d have to be able to prove it, and that’s kind of hard when Boeing hides the evidence.

15 users have voted.


Deja's picture

They don't fly on them; therefore, they don't give a rat's ass.

I've worked in non union manufacturing, more than once. At one place, we made industrial sized heat exchange air coolers, for oil refineries. I ran cnc and manual lathes and mills. Once, after hurting my back, I was pimped out to some of the office ladies until I "healed".(Today I pissed off that injury, again, just like there, trying to catch myself when I lost my balance. Only today, I wasn't carrying a 5 gallon bucket of used oil, trying not to slip on an oily, concrete floor.)

While working with the logistics lady, she wanted me to help her purge her office of years old papers and blueprints of oil refineries, our customers, around the world. I happened upon one such blueprint, and asked if perhaps we should consult Legal, because we weren't shredding any of this. The blueprints showed the entire layouts, guard shacks, fences, power facilities, etc.

When she called, Legal said to just toss it, if it wasn't marked CONFIDENTIAL. Nothing was. I carted them to a dumpster, and threw them in.

None of this really surprises me anymore. I'm actually surprised that more things don't kill more people because we don't regulate anything anymore. When we did, we had livable wages. At least I think we did.

13 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

How many mining disasters have there been where people have been killed and when the media focuses its attention on them we find out that the company had hundreds of safety violations on their books? That the mines could still be open can only be explained by the owners having more power than the regulators. Trump is deregulating so many industries and of course the media nor congress is talking about it. This is one reason why the GOP will never agree to get rid of him. He's fulfilling the corporation's wet dreams. The EPA has become toothless and the FDA has long been captured by the pharmaceutical companies. Medical devices that killed people have been covered up so that doctors can't see if the ones they use are defective. Then of course we have the deregulation of anything congress has done to keep the banks in line.

While inspecting a plane being prepared for delivery, Mr. Clayton, the technician currently at the plant, recently found chewing gum holding together part of a door’s trim. “It was not a safety issue, but it’s not what you want to present to a customer,” he said

Not a safety issue? Glad that I no longer fly. BTW. Will there be any repercussions for Boeing for killing 300 people? Probably not.

11 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Thanks Amanda, thanks for writing about the criminally insane Boeing corporation, making bigly banks great again. of course

Dark Pools Traded 791% More Boeing Stock During Week of 737 Max Crash

The biggest Wall Street banks are (insanely) allowed by Federal regulators to own and operate unregulated quasi stock exchanges called Dark Pools where they trade New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq listed stocks between themselves, in the dark. The only speck of sunshine comes three weeks after the trading when the banks’ self-regulator, FINRA, posts totals for the week for each Dark Pool. There is no information on who’s on the buy and sell side or what time of day or day of the week the trades occurred. Adding to the darkness, a number of banks have more than one Dark Pool. For all the public knows, one bank could be on both the buy and sell side of the same trade – artificially boosting the price of the stock if it has a buy rating on it or artificially tanking the stock price if it has an underperform, or the very rare, sell rating on it.
Today, the SEC simply slaps a few knuckles at the Dark Pools and levies minuscule fines while letting the highly suspicious activity continue, including the outrageous activity of Wall Street mega banks trading the shares of their own company stock.

thoughts and prayers

12 users have voted.
Amanda Matthews's picture

screwed, and seriously abused by corporate Amurika for decades. With the help of our ‘reps’ of course.

9 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

about this additional dot when I am connecting them (the dots).

6 users have voted.
Bisbonian's picture

of the first two completed KC-46's, their new aerial refueling tankers. Both were found to have tools and debris left in the airplane, where it could jam flight controls, or cause other problems. As of a couple of weeks ago, Boeing had stopped delivery of the planes, to see if they could figure out how to hide the tools more effectively.

8 users have voted.

"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

Deja's picture

1. 5S & 5S+ are pains in the ass, but the reasoning behind them is good. A place for everything; and, everything in its place. The systems employ taping off (literally) little boxes on work benches, tables, inside cabinets, on floors, walls -- everywhere -- and labeling each box with the name of the tool, or function. You need scissors? Walk 5 ft to the marked scissor spot, walk 5 ft back, use scissors, walk 5 ft back to where they belong, place them back in their marked spot, walk 5 ft back to what you were doing. Repeat every single time you need them, even if it's 5 seconds between needing them. Total pita! All the while, numbers, numbers, numbers. Keep your numbers up, or get the ax. Oh, and don't run with scissors. That's a safety violation that'll get you axed fast!


2. Maybe the manufacturer requires employees to provide their own tools? The company doesn't care then, because they aren't replacing tools, which are expensive, every day.

I see that human bodies aren't the only things with tools sealed up inside them. Crazy!

5 users have voted.
Lily O Lady's picture

Snort! Glad I was waiting for my tea to steep.

5 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"