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The Student News Site of Segerstrom High School

Segerstrom News

Segerstrom News

Segerstrom News

The Student News Site of Segerstrom High School

Boeing’s turbulent year

Image Courtesy of New York-air, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Recently, Boeing has faced heavy scrutiny over their 787 Dreamliner for unsafe assembly practices.

The airplane manufacturing company Boeing has been under international scrutiny in the past few months. There have been growing concerns for the quality and safety of their airplanes. Federal agencies are now investigating these claims; meanwhile, several whistleblowers have publicly addressed their concerns.

Concerns initially arose when former quality control manager John Barnett publicly revealed the internal issues with Boeing. Barnett would compile several Federal Aviation Administration complaints over safety issues with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. These complaints would go unnoticed until he went public with the New York Times

“As a quality manager at Boeing, you’re the last line of defense before a defect makes it out to the flying public,” Mr. Barnett publicly stated. “And I haven’t seen a plane out of Charleston yet that I’d put my name on saying it’s safe and airworthy.”

Unfortunately for Barnett, safety concerns against Boeing would emerge on January 5th, 2024 after an incident with Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Flight 1282 had an in-flight emergency after the left middle exit door unexpectedly flew off the Boeing 737-9MAX. They would declare an emergency landing at the Portland International Airport with only eight minor injuries. The next day, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing 737-8MAXs due to the same issue. Although there is an ongoing investigation by the NTSB, they discovered the incident was due to four missing bolts. This incident marked the beginning of widespread attention towards Boeing.

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“Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements,” FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker commented. “Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way.”

Several months later, during a lawsuit for wrongful termination, Barnett was found dead from an apparent suicide. News organizations continue to publicize his findings while also gathering more negative attention to Boeing. Many speculate that his death was related to his lawsuit with Boeing. Soon after Barnett’s death, another whistleblower would ignite the media frenzy.

Earlier this April, former quality control Engineer Sam Salehpour voiced concerns about the assembly of the 777 Dreamliner and the 787 Dreamliner. He claims that the Alaska Airlines accident was a common trend in their production line. Adding on that the assembly line is cutting corners to make a profit.

“I am doing this not because I want Boeing to fail, but because I want it to succeed and prevent crashes from happening,” Salehpour remarked in a press release. “The truth is Boeing can’t keep going the way it is. It needs to do a little bit better, I think.”

However, this international scrutiny does not seem to end here. Currently, there is an investigation by the United States Senate to validate these claims. The Senate will start its inquiry on the possible safety risks Boeing manufacturers have created. 

In the meantime, Boeing’s public perception is at an all-time low. The culmination of whistleblowers and plane accidents just this year has caused international concern. These concerns have motivated the FAA and NTSB to conduct their own investigations. But only time will tell if Boeing is accountable for these criticisms.

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