What’s going on with Boeing? Once the best passenger jet manufacturer by far, the crashes and miscues with its 737 MAX have come to haunt the 787 Dreamliner; without the crashes. So far. But now the FAA is looking more closely at what and how Boeing manufactures its airplanes. And while manufacturer continues with its gremlins $25 billion in finished Dreamliners sit.
Weak titanium parts and continuous discoveries of debris plague Boeing
According to the Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive David Calhoun has been on a two-year mission to fix manufacturing problems and bring back Boeing’s once stellar rep. But the current discovery of weak titanium parts on three years’ worth of builds shows it has a way to go.
Then there are the embarrassing discoveries, like the empty tequila bottles discovered on the new Air Force One currently being built. They were discretely left by accident by production workers. “We have strengthened our focus on quality and constantly encourage all members of our team and supply chain to raise any issues that need attention,” a spokesman told the WSJ. “When issues are raised, that is an indication that these efforts are working.”
In some instances Boeing is pushing back on the FAA
Company engineers are complaining about the scrutiny. They say once some problem is found, it brings more oversight. But the FAA has found it was using unqualified workers to sign off on parts, or otherwise flat-out failed to follow guidelines. Boeing is pushing back on some of the FAA’s claims but says it is cooperating with the agency.
The problem found was with titanium parts used in the last three years of production. But the company says it “doesn’t pose an urgent safety risk to planes currently flying.” It did replace parts on two undelivered planes that had an abundance of titanium components. Now the company says that next month at the earliest it will start delivering some of the Dreamliners it has in its inventory.
All of these issues are haunted by the two 737 MAX crashes in 2018 that left 346 dead. The problem was found to be the faulty design of the flight-control system. It would force the controls to stick the planes into deadly nosedives. Besides the two crashes, there were several similar incidents reported. Pilots were able to manually pull the planes back to a normal cruising position.
Even with extra scrutiny more mistakes are being discovered
Even after Boeing was given the approval to release reworked MAX aircraft in 2020, debris was still being found by customers. Then this year a pocketknife was found in a wheel well, and a lavatory was delivered soiled. Now it is doing more rigorous inspections before delivering planes to customers.
Now Boeing, once the crown jewel of aircraft manufacturers, is struggling with its internal quality and outward reputation. It was once unthinkable that the manufacturer builds subpar aircraft. Now, it is synonymous with failed cultures, bloated paychecks, and arrogance. The old reputation went to everyone’s heads.
For all of our sakes, Boeing must get its house in order. Otherwise, we could all be in for a much different flying experience.