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A Wing and a Prayer

Old 11th Jun 2011, 01:43
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Post A Wing and a Prayer

On SBS at 8:30 this Sunday:

Could airline giant Boeing really have allowed ill-fitting and dangerous parts into the construction of some of its 737 planes, potentially risking the lives of passengers?

Dozens of the planes are in Australian skies and there have been three suspicious crashes elsewhere in the world, but an investigation to be screened on Sunday’s Dateline alleges that Boeing and the United States authorities have taken little action.

Two former Boeing employees turned whistleblowers, Gigi Prewitt and Taylor Smith, are at the heart of the story.

They say they couldn't keep quiet any longer over defective parts being made by a subcontractor, Ducommun, which they say were then allowed into 737 Next Generation planes between 1996 and 2004… some even had to be hammered into shape or packed with filler to make them fit.

Their allegations have been all the way to the US Department of Justice, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Defence Criminal Investigative Service – all have dismissed them, with Boeing saying they’re ‘without merit’.

But Tim Tate's special investigation alleges conflicting information, intimidation, collusion, and ultimately aeroplanes that are unfit to fly. So are we really safe in the skies?

WATCH - See this special investigation on Sunday at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.
SBS Dateline | A Wing and a Prayer
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Old 11th Jun 2011, 02:24
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Al Jazeera ran this last year.
On a wing and a prayer - People & Power - Al Jazeera English
I don't think anyone payed any attention to it as it came from Al Jazeera and not a 'main stream' media outlet.
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Old 11th Jun 2011, 04:15
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I did watch the program, and it did indeed raise some questions, particularly about accountability within the FAA.

Incidentally, many of those who bag Al Jazeera have never watched it. I find it far more balanced and factual than CNN (don't even mention Fox), and comparable to the BBC.
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Old 12th Jun 2011, 12:11
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And even better than the ABC, offering the chance of not having to hear the screeching of the Ranga. Love it.
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Old 12th Jun 2011, 14:20
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We had a link to this from the ALAEA website a year ago. The SBS link only displays half the show. Better going from our site.

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Old 13th Jun 2011, 02:09
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Cassa should look into this as should our two airlines. At present the issue has only received a blind eye by all concerned.
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Old 14th Jun 2011, 06:14
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Are there any engineers out there who wish to comment on the validity of this documentary and if there has been any evidence of these construction practices affecting the Australian B737NG fleet?
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Old 15th Jun 2011, 01:47
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thats how they build the emb 120, nothing is swappable (leading edges, fairings etc) between aircraft, everything fitted by hand/eye, its not 'unusual'
there are no parts that have rivets in them that will fit another emb120 - if they do its blind assed luck

i have seen repair parts from dehavilland that had to be 'modified' after reciept of them because they didn't fit, this includes pilot holes in the wrong spot and overall dimensions out (modified on advice of bombardier obviously)

sooooooooooooo brings the question are these parts 'unsafe' or just poor quality

obviously the supplier figured close enough is good enough, and he may be right, from a structural standpoint, as long as hole edge margins and the material thickness are within specs the part should still do its intended designed job

according the al jazeera article some of these parts have been rejected by boeing hopefully the ones that are to thin are among those. Also it listed problems with the parts as being to wide, to thin, edge distances out of tolerance, and out of contour,

if its too wide then trim it, not hard, if its out of contour, make a packer for it - common practice in the sheet metal world (and per the article its what they did on old school 737's) the list of solutions goes on; and on lets not forget this is boeing - they don't even need to go the manufacturer for a repair scheme here, they have bucket loads of really smart guys called engineers (not LAMES - aeronautical) to assess this on the line, and they would have to certify/sign off it,

the fact that Gigi the parts girl knows about the problem tells me that the engineers also know

soooooooooo am i skeptical on the safety aspects of the problem????
granted i am not too sure about the latest AD status of 737 ng, but i know the 737 100-200 and have seen lap joint repairs done, and lots of corners around doors with boeing boiler plate(and a 8 inch crack ) cargo door frame (on the fuse) with a fist sized corrosion hole in it, as well as floor beam replacements, and my fave the fwd pressure bulkhead replaced because the structure holding that bit on was cracked (lots of structure with lots of cracks) (this was an AD)

so a stringer with fastener holes not exactley where they should be??????? - not convinced, or a frame with a packer under it?????? - not convinced

lets not forget what would happen if boeing deviated significantly from the type certificate of the 737 ng, the lawsuits would be long involved and big, and also lets not forget the litigation loving atmosphere of the USA,

Last edited by Connaught; 15th Jun 2011 at 02:01.
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