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Boeing engineer’s startling claim: ‘Dreamliner 787 has structural flaws, could break apart mid-flight’

Published:

Apr 12, 2024 07:59 AM IST

The claims were made by Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour who said that “sections of the fuselage of the 787 Dreamliner are improperly fastened together.”

A whistleblower claimed that there are structural flaws in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner that could cause it to break apart mid-flight. Following this, the air safety body of the US – the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – announced a probe into his claims, the New York Times reported. The claims were made by Boeing engineer Sam Salehpour who said that “sections of the fuselage of the 787 Dreamliner are improperly fastened together and could break apart mid-flight after thousands of trips”.

Boeing employees walk the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner down towards the delivery ramp area at the company's facility.(AP)
Boeing employees walk the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner down towards the delivery ramp area at the company’s facility.(AP)

What Sam Salehpour claimed about safety of Boeing planes?

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Sam Salehpour worked at Boeing for more than 10 years. He said the company introduced changes to the manufacturing process which included shortcuts that could lead to parts of the fuselage failing after thousands of flights. The plane’s fuselage comes in several large pieces from different manufacturers which are later fastened together on an assembly line. He wrote to the FAA regarding these concerns as Boeing has been managing a safety crisis following a January 5 mid-air panel blowout on a 737 MAX plane.

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Sam Salehpour also said that he faced threats and exclusion from meetings after he identified engineering problems which affected the structural integrity of the jets.

What Boeing said on the claims?

Boeing halted deliveries of the 787 widebody jet for more than a year until August 2022 after the company said in 2021 that some of these airplanes had shims- a thin piece of material used to fill tiny gaps in a manufactured product-that were not the proper size.

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Boeing in a statement that it was fully confident in the 787 Dreamliner. The claims “are inaccurate and do not represent the comprehensive work Boeing has done to ensure the quality and long-term safety of the aircraft,” the company said.

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