Slipping through the cracks of the Boeing controversy - which has taken on new twists and turns almost daily - were comments we recently uncovered by a former Boeing quality manager, who said last month that he thinks Boeing's problems aren't just limited to the 737.
John Barnett was a quality manager for Boeing for 30 years before he was transferred to South Carolina to work on the 787, according to Big Think.
It was there that a new leadership team who had previously worked on Boeing's military projects began overseeing work on the commercial airliner.
Barnett says that team lowered safety standards significantly. He stated: "They started pressuring us to not document defects, to work outside the procedures, to allow defective material to be installed without being corrected. They started bypassing procedures and not maintaining configurement control of airplanes, not maintaining control of non-conforming parts — they just wanted to get the planes pushed out the door and make the cash register ring."
At first, it was just administrative issues, Barnett said. But then, it got worse.
"Over time it got worse and worse. They began to ignore defective parts installed on the planes and basic issues related to aircraft safety," he said.
According to Barnett, one audit uncovered that 25% of oxygen masks didn't work. Defective parts were getting lost in the system before being discovered flying on aircraft. Barnett says he remembered "several defective bulkheads being installed without having been repaired."
He also said that there was an issue with metal slivers. 3-inch-long slivers of razor-sharp metal would fall into areas where planes have sensitive wiring and electronics, he said.
He continued: "That surface below the floor board is where all of your flight control wires are, that's where all of your electronic equipment is. It controls systems on the airplane, it controls the power of the airplane. All of your electronic equipment is down where all of these metal slivers are falling."
He said these slivers would cause shorts and fires at the plant. As planes vibrate, these metal slivers work their way into wire bundles and can cause issues during flights, he said. Barnett filed complaints with multiple members of the Boeing team, which he said led to his reassignment to a department that isolated him.
The FAA performed an audit substantiating his claims and even telling Boeing that no more planes could be delivered with those metal slivers. Meanwhile, 800 planes that include them have already been delivered and Boeing felt customers didn't need to be informed.
"Every 787 out there has these slivers out there," Barnett said.
Barnett also filed a complaint with OSHA, which is reportedly still under investigation.
He concluded: "...as far as the 787, I would change flights before I would fly a 787. I've told my family — please don't fly a 787. Fly something else. Try to get a different ticket. I want the people to know what they are riding on."