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FAA Probe: Boeing Under Scrutiny for Alleged Falsified Records Regarding Select 787 Dreamliners 2024-05-21 02:06:15

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched a formal investigation following revelations from Boeing that certain employees failed to conduct crucial inspections on a number of 787 Dreamliners, yet falsely documented the checks as completed. The inspections in question pertain to verifying the adequacy of bonding and grounding of fasteners linking the wings to the fuselage, crucial for protecting against electrical currents such as those from lightning strikes.

Approximately 450 aircraft, including around 60 still in Boeing's production pipeline, are potentially affected, according to sources familiar with the matter. Those within Boeing's possession are undergoing re-inspection as per FAA directives. Despite Boeing engineers' assessment suggesting no immediate safety risks due to built-in redundancies, the FAA remains vigilant, asserting its commitment to ensuring public safety.

The issue came to light following a vigilant Boeing South Carolina worker who flagged irregularities in a required conformance test, leading to its escalation through management channels. Boeing's Vice President and General Manager of the 787 program, Scott Stocker, acknowledged the misconduct in an internal email, emphasizing the company's "zero tolerance" stance towards lapses in quality and safety protocols. Swift corrective measures are being taken, he assured employees.

This development comes on the heels of a recent Senate sub-committee testimony by a Boeing quality engineer, who raised concerns about Dreamliner production practices allegedly disregarded by management, underscoring broader challenges within the company's oversight and accountability.

Boeing refrained from divulging precise figures regarding the number of aircraft implicated, citing ongoing data collection efforts. However, the suggestion of potentially hundreds of aircraft affected hints at a situation that may have persisted over a considerable duration.

As of now, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not definitively concluded the presence of a safety concern pertaining to the 787 or identified any shortcomings in the production procedures. While there is no confirmation of an immediate safety issue with the operational Dreamliners, the FAA continues its scrutiny.

Initial reports of the FAA investigation surfaced via the Wall Street Journal, indicating heightened attention to the matter within aviation circles. Providing comprehensive coverage of transportation matters, Kris Van Cleave serves as CBS News' senior transportation and national correspondent, stationed in Phoenix.

In conclusion, the revelation of Boeing's internal oversight lapses regarding the inspection records of certain 787 Dreamliners has prompted a thorough investigation by the FAA. While the full extent of the situation is still being determined, the potential involvement of hundreds of aircraft suggests a systemic issue that merits close examination. Boeing's commitment to addressing these concerns swiftly underscores the critical importance of maintaining rigorous safety and quality standards in the aviation industry. As the investigation progresses, continued transparency and accountability will be paramount to restoring trust and ensuring the ongoing safety of air travel.

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