Boeing quality manager says the Dreamliner is also unsafe, “fly something else”
By Ethan Huff // Jan 31, 2020

All eyes seem to be on Boeing these days as the legacy aircraft manufacturer's reputation continues its slide into oblivion over the ongoing 737 Max debacle. But a former Boeing quality manager who worked at the company for 30 some-odd years recently came forward to confess that, unfortunately, the 737 Max isn't the only problematic aircraft that Boeing makes.


According to John Barnett, when Boeing transferred some of its 787 Dreamliner manufacturing capacity to non-unionized South Carolina back in 2010, the exceptionally high safety standards that Boeing used to be known for basically went out the window. Much of the quality control that existed back in Washington was abandoned, he says, and it was almost as if Boeing became a completely different company almost overnight – and not in a good way.

"They started pressuring us to not document defects, to work outside the procedures, to allow defective material to be installed without being corrected," Barnett says. "They started bypassing procedures and not maintaining configurement control of airplanes, not maintaining control of non-conforming parts – they just wanted to get the planes pushed out the door and make the cash register ring."

Early on, it was mostly the administrative side of Boeing's South Carolina operations that was impacted by these frightening changes. But eventually, the problems reached the production floor with all sorts of faulty parts being outfitted into Boeing's Dreamliner planes like it was no big deal.

"Over time it got worse and worse," Barnett says. "They began to ignore defective parts installed on the planes and basic issues related to aircraft safety." Barnett also recalls "several defective bulkheads being installed without having been repaired."

In one audit, it was discovered that a shocking 25 percent of the oxygen masks being installed into Boeing's Dreamliner airplanes didn't even work. Even worse were the three-inch-long slivers of razor-sharp metal that routinely fell into areas of the planes with sensitive wiring and electronics during production.

"That surface below the floor board is where all of your flight control wires are, that's where all of your electronic equipment is," Barnett says about the metal slivers. "It controls systems on the airplane, it controls the power of the airplane. All of your electronic equipment is down where all of these metal slivers are falling."

For speaking out about these and other serious issues, Barnett was reassigned by Boeing South Carolina to a department "that isolated him" as punishment

When Barnett tried to tell his superiors that these metal slivers were a serious problem, causing shorts and fires at the plant and posing risks in the air as they worked their way down into wire bundles, he was punished by being reassigned to a department "that isolated him," according to reports.

"Every 787 out there has these slivers out there," Barnett warns. "As far as the 787, I would change flights before I would fly a 787. I've told my family – please don't fly a 787. Fly something else. Try to get a different ticket. I want the people to know what they are riding on."

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) audit has substantiated Barnett's claims, and the FAA has since told Boeing that no more Dreamliner planes with metal slivers can be delivered. However, this does not address the 800 Dreamliner planes that Boeing has already delivered, and that people are flying on at this very moment.

Barnett has also filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but thus far nothing has been done as the situation is still under "investigation."

So, best advice we can give is to avoid flying on Boeing planes if at all possible. The company was obviously run into the ground by Dennis Muilenburg, its former CEO – who made out like a bandit with a $100 million golden parachute, by the way. And the transfer of some of the company's production to South Carolina – where a lack of union workers apparently translates to inconsistent quality priorities  – has further meant that quality and safety are no longer Boeing values.

In other words, if it's a Boeing, I ain't going.

For more related news about Boeing, be sure to check out

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