As Boeing struggles to regain its credibility in light of ongoing 737 MAX issues, it now faces a new a brand new credibility crisis. After an Air Canada 787 developed a fuel leak, Boeing admitted that it falsified manufacturing records.
First reported by the CBC, Air Canada discovered a fuel leak on a 787 about 10 months after Boeing delivered it. After reporting the issue to Boeing, the aircraft manufactured acknowledged that certain manufacturing work had not been performed, even though the paperwork indicated that it had.
Boeing then “self-disclosed” the problem to U.S. Federal Aviation Administration after performing its audit, asserting it was an isolated event and that the issue was promptly addressed.
Immediate corrective action was initiated for both the Boeing mechanic and the Boeing inspector involved.
Air Canada inspected the remainder of its 787 fleet (35 aircraft) and did not find any other fuel leaks. An Air Canada spokesperson told the CBC:
All of our aircraft are subject to regular and thorough inspections and we maintain them in full accordance with all manufacturer and regulatory directives.
While good that this appears to be an isolated incident, it is another sobering reminder of the inherent risks in delegating some safety checks to the aircraft manufacturer, as the FAA did with Boeing (and Airbus). Even a small fuel leak can lead to a huge disaster.
Was it South Carolina or Washington where the plane was manufactured? I heard quality at the South Carolina plant is not the greatest.
Good question, and it matters. Because what you have heard is partially true. The reason I say partially is because even a good quality inspector or mechanic can be swayed by poor culture in the work environment, call it peer pressure, or whatever you want. I Know because I have worked the 787 wing join line for 12 years in Everett. There is a big difference in the atmosphere between Charleston SC and Everett WA 787 line. We have the exact same jobs they do, same exact operations, buy offs, paperwork if you want to call it that. Everything is computer based in a program called Velocity. We can actually look at each others jobs between SC and Everett, completed or not and it is permanent record. I can only say one thing in my opinion, is that there is a quality difference between Everett and SC. That can not be denied, and I am betting my job on that by writing this statement. Even Boeing cannot deny.
I think the title of this article should be changed to “Boeing mechanic falsified records for the 787 sold to air Canada”. The current title suggests that the entire company is at fault while it was just one mechanic and one inspector
The company is at fault. Just how many dodgy mechanics or inspectors would it take before it could be regarded as a company failure?
The CEO has passed his ‘use-by’ date. He’ll be out with his golden parachute by Christmas, if not sooner. And good riddance….
I have made that same prediction, you will see that we are right. Boeing will replace him to try to get the confidence of the public to fly on the 737 Max. The New CEO will preach transparency, safety, quality. This is how Boeing works their smoke and mirror show. What else can they do?
In a business such as this, due diligence extends to actually knowing how to ensure safety and quality standards throughout all operations. Anything short of that would only satisfy those whose imaginations, or personal standards, also fall quite short of that.
Boeing needs to get a grip!.. I don’t feel any sympathy for Boeing because they intentionally took these shortcuts to race to the finish line. My opinion, everyone involved should be fire with no benefits and a total overhaul of the company. Disgraceful!
Had to be Washington, since it doesn’t appear the workers were fired (since they are protected by a union). Guys in the SC plant would have been fired for that kind of mistake.
MAUFA – Make America Union Free Again
Gotta love it when speculation is presented as fact.
The executives responsible for this need to arrested and made an example of.
I flew on a 787 last year and I was shocked at the shoddy cheap plastic fittings for the interior that were falling apart in a plane was only 3 years old. It was very obvious that it was constructed as cheaply as possible. I find it very interesting that no one at Boeing or the FAA have been fired or charged with the criminal cover up of the MCAS system that caused two crashes and the deaths of 346 people.
Falsified implies intention. Has intention been proven, or was it simply that the wrong paperwork was mistakenly stamped by operator & inspector? I’d like to assume that most people take their job seriously, and to purposefully falsify a part or assembly paperwork would have resulted in firings & possibly criminal charges which didn’t happen. I don’t think there’s enough evidence to determine that there was malicious intent – at worse it was negligence.
As it looks, it seems like a self reported mistake rather than an intentional falsification.
Highly unlikely that the wrong paperwork would be stamped by mechanic or inspector. May have been stamped by both mechanic and inspector but (roller stamped) by mechanic or inspector. Most structure jobs in the wings and fuel cell when completed and sold, are covered up by the next phase of the build, Seal. Without proper seal application the center tank or wings can leak fuel. Leaks can be caused by many other things such as improper shims etc. Without details we can only assume. Boeing is not about giving details to the public or news media. Quality inspectors are there for a reason, to prevent things like that from happening. The scary thing is that Boeing wants to get rid of 450 plus inspectors, even after all this stuff has gone down this year with the 737, and SC 787. More example of profit before safety for sure.