Home Technology Boeing Admits That Its Employees Falsified Aircraft Records for 787 Dreamliner

Boeing Admits That Its Employees Falsified Aircraft Records for 787 Dreamliner


In the latest disturbing twist to the Boeing saga, the company admitted to falsifying records related to the inspection of its 787 Dreamliner plane. The company publicly disclosed this after news broke of yet another federal investigation into the company.

The Federal Aviation Administration revealed on Monday that it was conducting a new probe into the embattled airplane manufacturer—this one focused on whether records related to the company’s 787 Dreamliner had been falsified, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Not long afterward, the Seattle Times reported that Boeing disclosed that employees at its assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C. had falsified records related.

When reached for comment by Gizmodo, the FAA confirmed details of its probe.

“The FAA has opened an investigation into Boeing after the company voluntarily informed us in April that it may not have completed required inspections to confirm adequate bonding and grounding where the wings join the fuselage on certain 787 Dreamliner airplanes,” the agency said, in an emailed statement. “The FAA is investigating whether Boeing completed the inspections and whether company employees may have falsified aircraft records. As the investigation continues, the FAA will take any necessary action — as always — to ensure the safety of the flying public.”

Boeing has publicly admitted that record falsification did occur. In a note originally shared internally at Boeing that was subsequently shared with Gizmodo, one of Boeing’s executives, Scott Stocker—who is 787 vice president and general manager at one of its South Carolina assembly plants—explained a recent incident involving a Boeing teammate who had seen and reported “irregularity” at the plant. Stocker’s statement partially reads:

The teammate saw what appeared to be an irregularity in a required conformance test in wing body join. He raised it with his manager, who brought it to the attention of executive leadership. I wanted to personally thank and commend that teammate for doing the right thing. It’s critical that every one of us speak up when we see something that may not look right, or that needs attention.

After receiving the report, we quickly reviewed the matter and learned that several people had been violating Company policies by not performing a required test, but recording the work as having been completed. As you all know, we have zero tolerance for not following processes designed to ensure quality and safety. We promptly informed our regulator about what we learned and are taking swift and serious corrective action with multiple teammates.

Stocker added that Boeing’s “engineering team has assessed that this misconduct did not create an immediate safety of flight issue.”

Boeing is currently the subject of several different federal investigations. The company has been under intense scrutiny ever since January, when an Alaska Airlines flight lost part of its hull, purportedly as a result of a manufacturing error. Regulators have raised questions about Boeing’s safety practices, and the company has become the focus of numerous federal investigations, as well as Congressional scrutiny.

The company’s public relations crisis has also been marred by conspiracy theories as the result of the deaths of multiple corporate whistleblowers who have spoken out about safety issues at the company. In March, whistleblower John Barnett, a former quality control engineer at Boeing, was found dead in a motel parking lot from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Barnett was in the midst of giving legal testimony against the company at the time of his death. Joshua Dean, who previously worked as a quality auditor at the plane manufacturer’s supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, was involved in a similar legal battle with Spirit when he died last week from a fast-spreading infection.

A number of other whistleblowers have come out against the company, including three who gave testimony in front of Congress late last month.

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