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Boeing Faces Scrutiny Over Safety Culture And Manufacturing Concerns

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,

Boeing is under intense scrutiny as Congress holds back-to-back hearings to investigate allegations of safety failures at the aircraft manufacturer. The first session featured an expert panel highlighting serious flaws in Boeing's safety culture.

The main focus of the second hearing was a Boeing engineer's claims that sections of the skin on 787 Dreamliner jets are not properly fastened, posing a risk of breakage. The engineer, a whistleblower named Sam Salehpour, alleged that Boeing ignored his concerns and hindered him from addressing the defects with experts.

Documents were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration by Salehpour, prompting an investigation into Boeing's manufacturing quality and safety. Salehpour, along with another Boeing whistleblower and aviation technical experts, are scheduled to testify before a Senate investigations subcommittee.

Lawmakers have requested extensive documentation from Boeing dating back six years, seeking records related to the manufacturing of Boeing 787 and 777 planes, including safety concerns raised by employees, contractors, and airlines. Boeing has stated its cooperation with the inquiry and offered to provide necessary documents and briefings.

Boeing officials refuted Salehpour's claims about the structural integrity of the 787, stating that design testing and inspections have shown no signs of fatigue or cracking in the composite panels. They emphasized the durability of the carbon-composite material used in the planes.

Boeing has been embroiled in a series of manufacturing issues, including a recent incident where a door-plug panel detached from a 737 Max jetliner during a flight. The company is facing investigations by the Justice Department, FAA, and NTSB.

CEO David Calhoun has pledged to enhance manufacturing quality and safety culture at Boeing, following the Alaska Airlines incident. However, skepticism remains among lawmakers and the public regarding Boeing's commitment to change.

The FAA is also under scrutiny for its oversight of Boeing, particularly in certifying the 737 Max, which was involved in two fatal crashes due to a flight-control system malfunction.

The hearings aim to shed light on Boeing's safety practices and the need for improved regulatory oversight to prevent future incidents. The testimony of whistleblowers and experts underscores the importance of addressing safety concerns in the aviation industry.

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