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Tags: boeing | whistleblower | fuselages | defects

Whistleblower: Fuselages Supplied to Boeing Had Defects

By    |   Wednesday, 08 May 2024 10:22 PM EDT

A whistleblower who worked as a quality manager for Spirit AeroSystems, a troubled Boeing supplier that builds the bulk of the 737 Max airplane, said fuselages regularly left the factory with serious defects.

"If quality mattered, I would still be at Spirit," said Santiago Paredes, who for about a decade worked at the end of the production line at the Spirit AeroSystems factory in Wichita, Kansas, doing final inspections on 737 fuselages before they were shipped to Boeing.

"It was very rare for us to look at a job and not find any defects," Paredes told CBS News in a report that aired Wednesday, adding he found hundreds of defects every day.

Paredes, speaking publicly for the first time, said he often found problems while inspecting the area around the same aircraft door panel that flew off in the middle of an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

"Why'd that happen? Because Spirit let go of a defect that they overlooked because of the pressure that they put on the inspectors," Paredes said. "If the culture was good, those issues would be addressed, but the culture is not good."

The National Transportation Safety Board's investigation showed the Alaska Airlines door panel was removed during final assembly to allow a Spirit AeroSystems team to make defect repairs, but it appears the bolts holding the panel in place were not reinstalled.

Spirit AeroSystems, which is not affiliated with Spirit Airlines, has been scrutinized since the Federal Aviation Administration imposed quality checks and halted production expansion of the 737 Max following the Alaska Airlines incident.

"We encourage all Spirit employees with concerns to come forward, safe in knowing they will be protected," Spirit spokesman Joe Buccino told CBS News. "We remain committed to addressing concerns and continuously improving workplace safety standards."

A Boeing spokesperson told CBS News the company has long had a team that finds and fixes defects in fuselages built by Spirit as Boeing assembled the planes. The spokesperson said since the beginning of March, Boeing engineers have inspected each Spirit fuselage as it rolled off the production line in Kansas.

Boeing maintains the 737 is a safe airplane.

Paredes, who left the company in 2022, said managers at Spirit AeroSystems would pressure him to keep his reports of defects to a minimum. He said his superiors referred to him as "Showstopper" because the defects he would write up as needing repairs would delay deliveries.

Paredes said the pressure got worse beginning in 2018 as Spirit went from producing fuselages in the mid-30s monthly to more than 50 a month.

"They always said they didn't have time to fix the mistakes," he said. "They needed to get the planes out."

Paredes said what he saw made him hesitant to fly on the 737.

"Working at Spirit, I almost grew a fear of flying," he said. "Knowing what I know about the 737, it makes me very uncomfortable when I fly on one of them."

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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A whistleblower who worked as a quality manager for Spirit AeroSystems, a troubled Boeing supplier that builds the bulk of the 737 Max airplane, said fuselages regularly left the factory with serious defects.
boeing, whistleblower, fuselages, defects
492
2024-22-08
Wednesday, 08 May 2024 10:22 PM
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