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Boeing in 'safety cover-up' - Documentary on Al Jazeera

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Boeing in 'safety cover-up' - Documentary on Al Jazeera

Old 15th Dec 2010, 20:30
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Boeing in 'safety cover-up' - Documentary on Al Jazeera

Just watched an interesting Documentary on Al Jazeera's 'People & Power' show, the episode was titled 'On a Wing and a Prayer'.

Details here: http://english.aljazeera.net/video/a...520679770.html

The show brings into question the airworthiness of 737NGs manufactured between 1996 - 2004, based on the proposals that were put forth by Boeing to the FAA regarding the manufacturing process to be used in the manufacturing of key structural parts. The certification of a higher gross weight was based upon this new manufacturing process.

The documentary shows that the actual manufacturing process used didn't coincide with the proposal that was presented to the FAA, and upon which the aircraft was certified - hence bringing into question the structural integrity of the aircraft. It also implicates Boeing and the FAA of a cover-up regarding the issue.

Former Boeing employees who take part in this documentary, and who are now suing the company, cite recent 737NG accidents in Amsterdam, Jamaica, and Colombia, in which the aircraft broke up identically in contact with the ground as further evidence to their concerns.

Worth a watch if you can find it on the net.
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 21:03
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Just out of curiosity, how much discussion did the show have regarding the operational factors of the three accidents in question?

One can design a very robust aircraft and it is still subject to certain fundamental laws, like gravity, sink rate, etc regardless of how "perfectly" design criterion are adhered to.

May view the entire link later. If whistle blowers in Boeing are only finding their voice in Al Jazeera, I wonder why other media organs didn't scoop this.

Any ideas on that?
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 21:20
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Had to dig a little for proper link.

On a wing and a prayer - PEOPLE AND POWER - Al Jazeera English
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 21:41
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Quote:
"Former Boeing employees who take part in this documentary, and who are now suing the company, cite recent 737NG accidents in Amsterdam, Jamaica, and Colombia, in which the aircraft broke up identically in contact with the ground as further evidence to their concerns.":

Yes, but doesn't this actually work very much to the credit of the 737 and its design? The Colombian accident (I'm assuming the Aires accident involving an ex-U2 737-700) resulted in no casulties, as indeed did the AA 737. The Turkish accident - which I think is widely accepted to have been caused by the crew, not any inherent fault in the aircraft - killed nine; it broke (as will any aircraft landed hard in a field), but it could have been a lot worse.

Last edited by akerosid; 15th Dec 2010 at 21:42. Reason: to change text
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 21:48
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As a confirmed member of the Boeing camp in any Boeing vs Airbus discussion, I am gob-smacked by this.

Silly me , trusting Uncle Sam anymore than Alphonse Obvious I guess, but if what is reported in zerozero's link is true this is indeed fairly scandalous.

Makes one wonder about accidents like Kenya Airways /Ethiopian, indeed any unexplained incident involving an NG falling out of the sky, past & future, although both of these quoted above did indeed appear to be pilot disorientation, and happened at low altitude, greatly reducing the possibility of hull rupture as a cause.
Having flown the airframe concerned in the second accident, it does give a certain "frisson" to think there exists a slight possibility it just came apart.

Makes the recent falsifying of the safety standards of seats debacle a bit of a damp squid doesn't it? a bit in the same vein I guess, but several times more serious.
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 22:20
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Remind me when Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas, and McD managers made a reverse takeover of Boeing management?
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 22:26
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I just finished watching the whole documentary.

Mixed feelings.

I'll give the producers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their claims of falsified records; shoddy manufacturing; govt cover up; etc...

Certainly wouldn't be the first time.

But I had a problem with the way they were grasping at straws trying to draw a connection between the aforementioned "claims" and those three specific accidents.

First of all, all three of those accidents were the result of pilot error, not airframe failure. But they tried to imply that the airframe failure = the age of the airframes + the phase of flight. And they showed that old video of a remote controlled B707 crashed into the floor of the Mojave Desert and seemed to say, "SEE? That airframe didn't break up in three identical pieces."

The investigation *probably* has some merit to it, but the documentary engages in some specious speculation.

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Old 15th Dec 2010, 23:07
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Excellent Question:

"If whistle blowers in Boeing are only finding their voice in Al Jazeera, I wonder why other media organs didn't scoop this. Any ideas on that?"

Should this question be addressed to al Jazeera, or our 'media'? Maybe it's cheaper to investigate Lady Gaga's mode of dress, rather than a sustained, in-depth look at this issue? And, were Western 'media' to actually investigate, would anyone watch? Maybe western media need multiple Assanges? Sam
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 23:08
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...but the documentary engages in some specious speculation.
Quite likely, considering the source.

One might then ask...why did the AirFrance A330 break up over the Atlantic ocean, and few bits have been found.

AirBus advocates in glass houses should refrain from throwing ... stones.
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 23:45
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The documents relied on by AL Jazeera are damning. I don't think Boeing can laugh this off. What does this say about Boeing management from the top down?

Don't tell me that Boeing has now joined Exxon, BP and similar companies with gold plated procedure manuals but a corporate culture of non compliance for profitability reasons.

Watch for Boeing to hang a middle manager out to dry over this matter, for "not following procedures", while piously proclaiming that safety is their first priority.
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 23:49
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Originally Posted by captplaystation View Post
Makes the recent falsifying of the safety standards of seats debacle a bit of a damp squid doesn't it?
Damp squib. A squib is a firework - squid are generally damp
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 23:52
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Cool

Hello,

First of all, all three of those accidents were the result of pilot error, not airframe failure. But they tried to imply that the airframe failure = the age of the airframes + the phase of flight
The point is not really why those planes go to ground and crash (pilot errors .. malfunction of some equipements .. etc ..) but instead what was the result when they make contact with the ground.
As the document want to show .. they broked in 3 parts ... almost same place for the 3 aircrafts shows in the document.
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Old 16th Dec 2010, 00:27
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The point is not really why those planes go to ground and crash (pilot errors .. malfunction of some equipements .. etc ..) but instead what was the result when they make contact with the ground.
A good point, but the question is was it out of the ordinary. Though not an expert on these things I would imagine each and every design has its weak points. As long as its above the design criteria thats fine. Hence an airframe under circumstances that are roughly the same should react the same. This would depend on loading etc etc.

So the real question is how did the airframes hold up. And of course did Boeing mislead, I would think theres going to be a lot of Legal jargon etc that no one will agree on.
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Old 16th Dec 2010, 00:49
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Quite likely, considering the source.

One might then ask...why did the AirFrance A330 break up over the Atlantic ocean, and few bits have been found.

AirBus advocates in glass houses should refrain from throwing ... stones.
Well. Erm. That's a tricky one. forty one million square miles of ocean and few bits have been found. Must be the French.

Can't imagine that happening to a Lockheed 1011.
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Old 16th Dec 2010, 02:59
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Hi,

Though not an expert on these things I would imagine each and every design has its weak points. As long as its above the design criteria thats fine.
I agree .. but again the point is they want show in the document that the rupture points (or the weak points) are located where the alleged bad manufactured and assembled parts are.
So it's not design weak points .. it's defectives parts.
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Old 16th Dec 2010, 03:29
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So it's not design weak points .. it's defectives parts.
I doubt that you know that

You would have no idea what the design strength in any axis is, let alone the expected prang separation points for any design.

You may think that you know only based on inferences in a news story.

Every aircraft and engine has a historic separation point in a survivable prang. They are certainly not the same between aircraft models for the same general impact conditions.

The only thing that maters is that some prangs are survivable within certain G loadings, how they break is immaterial.

This issue, as relayed from the news is a compliance issue and nothing more should be read from the incidents then what is written in the recommendations from the accident investigation
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Old 16th Dec 2010, 05:30
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Some of the story doesn't really make much sense. Consistent pattern of break ups on impact does not suggest ad hoc bashing, cutting and general bodging to make structurally crucial parts fit. Also, the implication that the computer design process is at fault seems somewhat weak considering that process was developed for the 777 to achieve Early ETOPS out of the box. So far I have no reason to believe that any incidents are related to this issue.

No doubt there were QA failures, as there are in any organisation from time to time. The question for me is was Boeing's response appropriate and is there a significant risk?
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Old 16th Dec 2010, 05:47
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Quote:
...but the documentary engages in some specious speculation.

Quite likely, considering the source.
One might then ask...why did the AirFrance A330 break up over the Atlantic ocean, and few bits have been found.

Not sure which 'source' you are 'considering', whistleblowers or Jazeera. But, the Airbus 330 accident has, as evidence, only 'a few bits'. The evidence in the 737 situation should be very obvious, one way or the other. Just measure the parts used, against the proper specs...AND investigate the paperwork. Should be a slam-dunk, one way or the other. Then, 411A, you can cast your aspersions properly, at either Boeing, OR the Whistleblowers and Jazeera. Right now, a bit too soon. Sam
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Old 16th Dec 2010, 08:15
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Hi,

Quote:
...but the documentary engages in some specious speculation.

Quite likely, considering the source.
Well ... if the postman give you a letter with a order to pay more income tax .. would you blame the postman or your government ?
Jazeera is maybe not a real friend of US interests ..
But are those two US women against US interests ?
Is this Jazeera who pushed them to investigate (make their job) and testimony ... following the legal path and after going public and lost their job in the process ?
Jazeera is just like the postman .... the messenger.
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Old 16th Dec 2010, 10:08
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Well, you can always rely on big business and politics to ride roughshod over little people. It seems to be an example of a problem too big to fix so it gets buried instead. Itís human nature really. I wonít tell anyone if you donít. Or, if you tell anyone Iíll chop you into little pieces. Poor show Boeing.

Some people used to say ďIf it ainít Boeing Iím not going.Ē
They might now be thinking ďIíll make a fuss if it ainít Airbus.Ē
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