Boeing Engineer Testifies About Facing Threats for Raising Safety Concerns

Boeing whistleblower testifies about safety concerns, harassment, and threats over 787 and 777 production issues, sparking Congressional scrutiny and calls for cultural change at the company.

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Boeing Engineer Testifies About Facing Threats for Raising Safety Concerns

Boeing Engineer Testifies About Facing Threats for Raising Safety Concerns

Sam Salehpour, a quality engineer at Boeing, testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on Wednesday about the harassment and threats he faced after raising concerns about the safety of Boeing aircraft over a three-year period starting in 2020. Salehpour alleged that Boeing was taking manufacturing shortcuts on the 787 Dreamliner and 777 programs that could compromise the safety and lifespan of the planes.

According to Salehpour, workers used excessive force to assemble the fuselage sections of the 787, which could damage the carbon composite material. He claimed that when he raised these concerns, his boss asked if he was "in or out" and told him to "shut up." Salehpour said he was moved out of the 787 program and faced physical threats after speaking up about the safety issues.

The Senate hearings also examined broader problems with Boeing's safety culture. Former Boeing manager Ed Pierson accused the company of a "criminal cover-up" in the government's investigation of a fuselage panel blowout aboard a Boeing 737 MAX. Other witnesses testified that workers felt pressure to push planes through production quickly despite safety concerns.

Why this matters: The testimony adds to the ongoing crisis facing Boeing, which is under multiple investigations by the FAA, Justice Department, and NTSB. It reflects a collapse of public trust in the company and fierce backlash since an alarming incident on an Alaska Airlines flight.

Lawmakers expressed shock and dismay at Salehpour's testimony, while Boeing disputed his claims about the Dreamliner's safety. The FAA said it is investigating Salehpour's allegations. Boeing acknowledged the need for improvement in its safety practices, but maintained that extensive testing has found no evidence of airframe fatigue on the 787 and 777 models. The hearings highlighted the need for significant cultural change at Boeing and more active oversight by the FAA to address the serious safety issues raised by whistleblowers like Salehpour.

Key Takeaways

  • Boeing whistleblower testified about safety issues and harassment faced
  • Alleged excessive force used in 787 Dreamliner assembly, damaging components
  • Former Boeing manager accused company of "criminal cover-up" in 737 MAX probe
  • Testimony adds to Boeing's ongoing crisis, eroding public trust
  • Hearings highlight need for cultural change and FAA oversight at Boeing