Whistleblower: Don't Fly on Boeing 787

Sam Salehpour says safety issues are 'as serious as I have ever seen in my lifetime'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2024 11:30 AM CDT
Whistleblower: Don't Fly on Boeing 787
Boeing employees walk the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner down towards the delivery ramp area at the company's facility after conducting its first test flight at Charleston International Airport, Friday, March 31, 2017, in North Charleston, SC.   (AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)

Before he was due to testify in front of a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday, Boeing whistleblower Sam Salehpour gave his first on-camera interview, telling NBC News that all 787 Dreamliners ought to be grounded. Asked whether he would put his family on such a plane, Salehpour said he would not. The Boeing engineer, who claims he was forced out of the 787 program after voicing concerns about quality issues, said the company hadn't properly addressed tiny gaps in the fuselage where large sections were joined. These gaps could make the plane prone to "premature fatigue failure," he said. If fatigue failure were to happen at altitude, "the plane will fall apart at the joints," Salehpour said.

Boeing engineers disputed that during a media tour of the 787 Dreamliner manufacturing plant in South Carolina on Monday, per NBC. They said the planes had been stress-tested for 165,000 takeoffs and landings, more than three times the number seen during the typical lifespan of a 787, with no sign of structural failure. Nor was there any sign of failure during inspections of 689 of some 1,100 787s now in service, according to Boeing. "This analysis has validated that these issues do not present any safety concerns and the aircraft will maintain its service life over several decades," the company said, adding it will "continue to monitor these issues under established regulatory protocols," per Fox Business.

Salehpour told NBC the entire fleet of 787s needed checking to "make sure that you don't have potential for premature failure," per the Guardian. He has also claimed similar issues with the production of Boeing's 777. "I think it's as serious as I have ever seen in my lifetime," Salehpour told NBC. He was scheduled to testify before the chief investigative subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs beginning at 11am ET on Wednesday. He'll be joined by former Boeing manager Ed Pierson, former FAA engineer Joe Jacobsen, and aviation safety expert Dr. Shawn Pruchnicki of the Ohio State University. (More Boeing stories.)

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