MH370 Pilot Depressurized the Cabin to Kill Himself, Claims Kiwi Airlines Boss

The pilot of the missing MH370 flight killed himself and his passengers by switching off the oxygen supply in what is the sixth example of such a suicide, according to an aviation expert.

Ewan Wilson, head of Kiwi Airlines, believes Zaharie Ahmad Shah planned mass murder – locking his co-pilot out of the cockpit, depressurising the cabin and shutting down all communication links before turning the plane around.

Having examined all other possibilities, Mr Wilson insists that Shah, 53, is responsible for the deaths of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight, which disappeared on March 8.

Theory: Geoff Taylor (left) and Ewan Wilson who have written a book which claims the pilot of MH370 cut off the oxygen supply to the passengers before deliberately crashing into the Indian Ocean.

Theory: Geoff Taylor (left) and Ewan Wilson who have written a book which claims the pilot of MH370 cut off the oxygen supply to the passengers before deliberately crashing into the Indian Ocean.

And shockingly, Mr Wilson will tell British aviation experts today that there have been five other suicide flights in recent times, as he travels from New Zealand to Birmingham for a meeting, the Birmingham Mail reports.

He said: ‘There is a fundamental desire to ignore the mental health issue in the aviation industry.

Our research indicates there have been five previous incidents of murder/suicide in commercial flights over the last three decades or so, accounting for 422 lives.

The sad addition of MH370 would bring that number to 661.’

Malaysia MH370 Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

Malaysia MH370 Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

‘Mentally ill’: The book claims the most likely scenario is that pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah (above) deliberately depressurised the cabin then flew for another three hours before ditching into the sea

Although oxygen masks would have dropped down automatically from above the seats, the passengers’ supply was limited to just 20 minutes.

People unable to grab a mask, such as those sleeping, would have passed out within the space of a few minutes.

The entire ‘ghost plane’ – including her cabin crew whose air supply is only marginally longer, would have slipped into a coma and died shortly after from oxygen starvation.

Ahmad Shah, who locked his co-pilot out of the cockpit, survived long enough – either by repressurising the aircraft or from breathing his own, more extensive air supply – to evade radar and ‘execute his master plan’, Mr Wilson has concluded.

The Kiwi Airlines chief says he then made eight different course changes before allowing the jet to fly on auto-pilot for its final few hours.

He then performed a controlled ditching in the sea, which would explain why no debris has been found because the plane landed and sank in one piece.

The theory is the result of the first independent study into March’s disaster by the New Zealand-based air accident investigator, Ewan Wilson.

Mr Wilson, the founder of Kiwi Airlines and a commercial pilot himself, arrived at the shocking conclusion after considering ‘every conceivable alternative scenario’.

However, he has not been able to provide any conclusive evidence to support his theory.

An earlier report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) also concluded that passengers may have died from hypoxia.

And Malaysian authorities previously named Ahmad Shah as their prime suspect.

The remarkable claims are made in the book ‘Goodnight Malaysian 370’, the culmination of a four-month study into the incident, which Wilson co-wrote with the New Zealand broadsheet journalist, Geoff Taylor.

Wilson, a qualified transport safety investigator, said: ‘One of our objectives in writing this book was, in some small way, to convey the human stories of the tragedy.

‘Our other, more important task was to pursue the truth about what really happened; that is one small contribution we felt we could make to this whole, terrible affair.

‘We could never have foreseen the information we uncovered, or their implications.

‘Neither could we have imagined the horrific scenario that our research suggests took place on board that fateful plane.’

Search continues
Officials claim they are ‘making progress’ as they continue to scour 60,000 sq km of sea for the plane. The orange line indicates ‘high priority’ search areas; the yellow has been searched already.

They believe that Ahmad Shah, who they have concluded was suffering from mental illness, tricked his co-pilot, father-of-three, Fariq Hamid, into taking a break about 40 minutes after take-off.

After locking Hamid out of the cockpit, Ahmad Shah made his last broadcast to air traffic control – ‘Goodnight, Malaysian 370’ – before switching off the aircraft’s air-to-ground communication links.

Alone at the controls, he took MH370 up to 39,000 feet and de-pressurised the aircraft, giving passengers and crew less than 60 seconds of Time of Useful Consciousness (TUC).

Ahmad Shah could not have prevented the plane’s oxygen masks from automatically dropping down or an automated emergency announcement in English.

But Flight 370 was a night flight and, with the cabin lights off, the majority of passengers would have been asleep, or close to it.

And for 227 of the 239 passengers, English was not their first language.

Cabin crew would have tried to help those on board, but would have had to have donned their own facemasks first.

International effort: Australia's deputy prime minister Warren Truss unveiled the latest search plan at a press conference in Canberra earlier this month. The government has contracted a new firm to take up the search.

International effort: Australia’s deputy prime minister Warren Truss unveiled the latest search plan at a press conference in Canberra earlier this month. The government has contracted a new firm to take up the search.

International effort: Australia’s deputy prime minister Warren Truss unveiled the latest search plan at a press conference in Canberra earlier this month. The government has contracted a new firm to take up the search.

‘It would have been a frightening and confusing time throughout the cabin,’ Taylor said.

‘By the time some of the passengers had woken up groggy, heard the commotion and looked around in confusion, it would have been too late for them.

‘Those passengers who did not react within 60 seconds or less would have lapsed into unconsciousness and death would have followed within four to six minutes.’

Those who had found a mask would have had between 12 and 22 minutes of breathing time before blacking out.

The cabin crew’s oxygen supply would have lasted for about 70 minutes, depending upon the height of the aircraft.

By the time MH370 returned to cruising altitude, everyone on board would have perished.

Ahmad Shah would have had three hours’ worth of oxygen – plenty enough, the authors believe, to carry out the ‘final act of his performance’.

They conclude that he set a course for the southern Indian Ocean and, after the fuel ran dry, glided the aircraft for a further 100 nautical miles before performing a controlled ditching on the surface of the water.

Wilson, a trained commercial pilot, said: ‘Ahmad Shah was a man known for his methodical, thorough nature, for his love of the technical, and probably for his ego, too.

‘This would have been his final sad act to his family and to the world: “find this one”.’ -Daily Mail

MH370 New Search Areas

MH370 New Search Areas

Sources:  DailyMail / Malaysia Chronicle / Reuters

They’ve arrived stateside! Inside a plane loaded with 195,000 new iPhones!

A pilot released a picture of the mounds of coveted electronics he says he flew into Anchorage, Alaska on MondayA A pilot released a picture of the mounds of coveted electronics he says he flew into Anchorage, Alaska on Monday

The iPhone 6 won’t be in the hands of consumers until Friday, but Apple-obsessed Americans can now rest easy knowing the long-awaited electronics have arrived stateside.

Or so says a pilot whose taken photos upon landing in Alaska of what he claims are mounds of the coveted devices in his plane’s cargo hold.

Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million first-day pre-orders were logged, double the number for the iPhone 5 two years ago.

The company said demand had outstripped supply of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which feature larger screens and longer battery life.

Deliveries of pre-orders will begin on Friday and will continue through October.

Bumper first-day pre-orders point to first-weekend sales of up to 10 million units, analysts estimated.

About 2 million pre-orders were received for the iPhone 5 in the first 24 hours after it went on sale in September 2012. Apple sold 5 million of these phones in the first weekend.

Apple sold 9 million iPhone 5Ss and 5Cs, which were launched last year, in the first three days in stores. The company did not reveal pre-order numbers for these phones.

Raymond James analysts said they expect sales of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to top 9 million in the first weekend.

1410875241814_wps_1_The_iPhone_6_won_t_be_in_

1410875323260_wps_2_The_iPhone_6_won_t_be_in_

Source:  DailyMail.co.uk & Reuters
Photos: Twitter.

 

Russian airlines hire 200 foreign pilots

The appointments were made possible thanks to a recent change in the rules. Analysts believe this decision will allow airlines to cut spending on training pilots, who have not accumulated the required amount of flight hours.

Major Russian airlines have taken advantage of a change in legislation to hire 200 foreign pilots, the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia), has announced.

According to an official statement circulated by the agency’s press service, the biggest number of foreign pilots have been hired by Aeroflot (a total of 80), with Russia’s second-biggest airline, Transaero, coming a close second with 67 foreign recruits.

The other airlines filed considerably fewer applications. For example, the Siberian airline Utair will be able to hire 14 foreign pilots, with KogalymAvia and Vim-AVIA, which specialize in charter flights, getting seven pilots each.

Most of the pilots will be arriving from Western Europe, the Russian business daily Vedomosti reports. For example, according to the paper, Aeroflot has hired most of its new pilots in Germany.
“Russian airlines have been lobbying for allowing foreign pilots onto the domestic market for about three years. The most interested parties were Aeroflot and Transaero, the country’s biggest carriers,” says UFS IC analyst Anna Milostnova.

According to her, the main reason behind these recent amendments to the air transport legislation is the rapid growth of the Russian aviation industry, by an average 15-20 percent a year, which has resulted in a shortage of pilots qualified to serve as captains. For example, Aeroflot estimated the shortage of first pilots at 1,000 people, Milostnova says.

In the spring of 2014, Rosaviatsia allowed Russian airlines to hire 200 foreign pilots every year over a period of five years.

Under the new procedure, airlines submitted applications for hiring foreign pilots to the Federal Air Transport Agency, while the agency decided how many pilots each airline could hire. The decision on each airline was taken through an algorithm based on the company’s air traffic in 2013, Rosaviatsia explained.

Now Rosaviatsia will hand over the applications to the Federal Migration Service (which issues work permits to foreigners) and the airlines will be able to sign contracts with foreign pilots. Further applications to hire foreign pilots can be filed next year.

Previously, Russian airlines were banned from hiring foreign pilots. However, in 2013, the ban was lifted for a period of five years. Interestingly, at first Rosaviatsia planned to hire 1,100-1,500 foreign pilots every year, but in the end, the figure was significantly cut.

“Foreign pilots must have been offered a competitive salary, which may even be higher than in Europe, and an attractive benefits package,” says leading analyst with Finam Management Dmitry Baranov.
Furthermore, he continues, a system of additional benefits may have been set up for foreign pilots. Anna Milostnova agrees.

“Russian airlines realize that in order to hire European pilots, they will have to offer them attractive conditions. Some surveys have shown that in major Russian airlines, pilots’ remuneration is in no way inferior to their European counterparts,” she says.

At the same time, experts stress, there is no shortage of pilots in Russia per se, but there is a shortage of pilots with a large number of flight hours.

“Russia did not and does not have a shortage of pilots in general. However, airlines do not seem to be prepared to spend money on retraining pilots to qualify as captains,” explains Milostnova.
In Europe, the aviation industry is more mature and grows at a slower pace than in Russia, just 5 percent a year, she continues.

“For Russian airlines, the opportunity to hire foreign pilots is, of course, a big plus. In addition to filling the gap, it will also increase completion among pilots,” Milostnova concludes.

Source & Pic: Russia & India Report

Jet Airways Pilots Launch Their Own Website for Incident Analysis

Criticizing sections of the media for misreporting on a recent incident involving loss of altitude by a plane, the pilot’s union of Jet Airways today said it is forming a “technical site” to provide the right perspective on civil aviation issues.

The National Aviation Guild (NAG), the Jet pilots’ union, said a 2,900ft drop in altitude by a Jet Airways Boeing 777 last month was erroneously reported as a 5,000ft plunge by the media.

It said while the reasons for the sudden loss of altitude by the flight are still being investigated, the loss of altitude at 800ft per minute “is less than prescribed for a controlled radar environment.”
Stories about the 5,000 ft drop got circulated due to the media’s reliance on a “publicity hungry” official from the civil aviation regulator DGCA, it alleged.

The Captain was having his “controlled rest” and was not breaking any norm, while the first officer was also not playing on her tablet as being reported, adding that the tablets are used as a working tool by all pilots.
“We would request you not to conduct a trial by media. We would request you to follow the principles of natural justice and give a fair chance to the all the pilots,” it appealed to the media.

In order to get the right perspective across on such events, the union said it is sensitive to the difficulties on analysis faced by the media, which generally goes to retired military aviators for the perspective.
Stating that issues in civil aviation are different in nature, it decided to set up a technical site to comment on
happenings in the civil aviation sector.

“We have formed a technical site which consists of type rated examiners of most types of aircraft flown in India and would be able to provide a more authentic version of the events that happen in the civil aviation sector in India,” it said in the statement.

A Jet Airways plane from Mumbai to Brussels, with around 280 passengers on board, had lost altitude over the Turkish airspace in early August.

Terming it a “serious incident”, aviation regulator DGCA had suspended the two pilots and initiated a probe into the incident.

Source & Pic:  Economic India Times

Richard Branson: Russia Would Suffer Most From Closing Airspace to Western Airlines

Russia would be the biggest loser if it carried out a threat to ban Western airlines from flying over its territory, Richard Branson, the founder of British airline Virgin Atlantic, said.

“It would cost us quite a lot of money but it would actually cost Russia more money. They charge enormous amounts of money for the privilege of flying over Russia,” Branson said on the sidelines of a conference in Kiev.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signaled last week that Moscow might ban Western airlines from flying over its territory as part of an “asymmetrical” response to new European Union sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

A new wave of EU and U.S. sanctions came into effect on Friday as the West steps up pressure on Russia, accusing it of fomenting the conflict in eastern Ukraine and arming the rebels battling Kiev’s forces. Moscow denies the accusations.

“What is interesting is that the EU to date have not charged Russian airlines anything for the privilege of flying over Europe. So I think Russia would lose a lot more than European airlines if they impose that,” said Branson.

He added that the EU would almost certainly retaliate to a flight ban with a similar move against Russian airlines.
Asked how his own airline would respond to such a ban, Branson said: “If we have to fly around Russia we will have to fly around Russia. And you know obviously we are ready to do that. But I’d rather fly around Russia than see people being killed in Ukraine. I think that has got to stop.”

Virgin Atlantic is 51 percent owned by Branson.

Last month, Branson organized an open letter signed by Western, Ukrainian and Russian businessmen calling on governments in Kiev, Moscow and Western capitals to “compromise and find a peaceful solution to the current conflict.”

On Friday he reiterated his call for greater efforts to end the five-month conflict, in which more than 3,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

A cease-fire agreed one week ago between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists has been broadly holding in recent days, despite sporadic violations.

Source & Pic:  Moscow Times

 

Happy Birthday Beluga!

With its maiden flight on September 13, 1994, the popular Beluga cargo aircraft, affectionately named after the white whale because of its remarkable shape, is celebrating this week twenty years of transporting Airbus component parts between Airbus’ European manufacturing sites.

Since 1995, the fleet of five Beluga aircraft replaced the ageing Super Guppy transporters in order to supply the Airbus final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg. Today, more than sixty flights are performed each week between eleven sites, carrying crucial parts for all of the Airbus programmes, including the A380*.

The Beluga fleet is operated by Airbus Transport International (ATI), an Airbus subsidiary airline, and each Beluga crew is composed of a pilot, a co-pilot and a flight engineer.

With the production start of the A350 XWB in 2012 and the production ramp-up on other Airbus programmes, the Beluga activities again will substantially increase over the next five years.

In order to accompany this challenge, Airbus launched in 2011 the Fly 10 000 project. Flight crew numbers and flight hours have grown and loading procedures have been further optimized, with the opening of new integrated loading facilities in Hamburg and Bremen in Germany and Saint-Nazaire in France. Broughton, UK and Getafe, Spain will follow soon. Fly 10,000 should allow the Beluga fleet to double its activities by 2017 (from 5,000 to 10,000 flight hours).

Six new loading hangars dedicated to Airbus' Beluga cargo carriers – the first of which opened May 2014 in Hamburg, Germany – will help these freighters increase their flight hour totals to support the company's latest production rate increases.

Six new loading hangars dedicated to Airbus’ Beluga cargo carriers – the first of which opened May 2014 in Hamburg, Germany – will help these freighters increase their flight hour totals to support the company’s latest production rate increases.

“The Beluga is an essential element of Airbus’ integrated logistics and production ‎system. It is thanks to its reliability and engagement of the Beluga teams that we can fulfil our constant pursuit of efficiency”, said Günter Butschek, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.

The Beluga is based on the twin-engine A300-600R, appreciated for its reliability and its cost-effectiveness. It is powered by General Electric CF6-80C2 engines. With its impressive dimensions (56 m long, 17 m high, a fuselage diameter of 7.71 m and a main-deck cargo volume of 1,400m3), the Beluga is the champion of its category (compared with the Antonov AN-124 or even the C-17). The Beluga can carry a maximum payload of 47 metric tonnes non-stop over a range of 1,660 km/900 nm.

*only the Vertical Tailplane and tailcone, all other A380 components being transported through the “multimodal transport system (sea, river, road).

Airbus A300-600ST (Super Transporter)

Airbus A300-600ST (Super Transporter)

Airbus 350 Fuselage

Airbus 350 Fuselage

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A380 Nose Section

Airbus A300-600ST (Super Transporter), dawn departure.

Airbus A300-600ST (Super Transporter), dawn departure.

Source:  Airbus Media Room

Photos:  Airbus

Too Tired, Even for a Cessna…

The pilot, a senior airline captain, had recently purchased a Cessna 172 and was flying it home.

Flying under VFR at night, he switched with an approach controller about 52 NM from the destination airport. After a while, the air traffic controller noticed the airplane was descending below the asigned altitude of 7500 ft. and radioed the pilot.
The pilot did not respond to the controller’s radio calls, and the small airplane crashed in pastureland about 17 miles from the destination airport.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane collided with trees at a very shallow descent angle.

A review of the pilot’s actions during the nine days prior to the accident revealed that he flew a five-day international trip and then returned to Zurich three days before the accident. About four hours later, he began a trip as a passenger to Colorado.
On the day before the accident, he began the first of three legs of a cross-country flight, with the third leg the accident flight. He was awake for about 18 hours at the time of the accident, with stops only for food and airplane servicing.

Over the nine-day period before the accident, the pilot made three crossings of the Atlantic Ocean (each exceeding six time zones). These multiple and frequent time zone crossings would result in circadian disruption and would have diminished the pilot’s ability to obtain restorative sleep during this period, which, in combination with his extended time awake on the day of the accident, would have caused him to be in a fatigued state.

The circumstances of the accident and his fatigue-inducing schedule in the preceding days indicate that the pilot most likely fell asleep during the initial descent for landing, and the airplane subsequently descended into the trees and terrain.

Capt. Ivan

Think ink: Airbus revolutionises how an airline’s livery is applied to jetliners

The application of complex, large-scale liveries on aircraft presents a considerable challenge – particularly as airlines develop increasingly artistic and complex ways to express their identities.

ink_for_painting(1)

However, the difficulties may become a thing of the past thanks to a new method currently being developed by Airbus – which employs direct inkjet printing to deliver a broad range of production and operational improvements.
The method was developed by engineers from Airbus’ A320 Family paint shop in Hamburg, Germany, and is able to reproduce any livery design – be it a photographic motif, modern art or other complex patterns – faster and more efficiently than traditional painting processes, and with finer detail as well.

The direct printer functions much like a traditional model, using an inkjet head with nozzles that spray three basic colours (cyan, magenta and yellow) and black. Utilising a seven-square-metre bench, the inkjet head prints a design line by line, from top to bottom. After the process is completed, the aircraft component is sealed with a clear coat.

According to technology manager Matthias Otto, the advantages of direct inkjet-printed liveries are numerous. “I can create colour gradients or photo-realistic motifs that could never be achieved with paint,” he explained, and added that this new method also is capable of printing components of any size or shape. In the past, heavier printed film was used to produce complex designs, however such film is susceptible to the effects of heat, cold and high pressure, and ultimately could tear or peel.

The business case for direct printing is convincing. Compared with painting, where the design has to be built up by layer-by-layer, there are far fewer working and drying steps – greatly reducing the lead time. There also is no overspray or solvent vapour when ink is used, providing better working conditions for Airbus employees, as well as a healthier environment.

At present, the inkjet method still is at the experimental stage. Technical Readiness Level 6 (TRL 6) was reached at the end of June, and the ink and associated processes will be qualified early in 2015. Nonetheless, the project already has become part of the A320 Final Assembly Line (FAL) benchmark initiative, with the intention to further stabilise scheduled lead times for the best-selling Airbus single-aisle jetliner family.

Source:  Airbus Media Room

Boeing Responds to Al Jazeera English Documentary on 787

Boeing issued the following statement prior to the airing of the television program on Al Jazeera English. The company will not be providing any further comment.

We have not been afforded the opportunity to view the full program, but the promotional trailer and published media reviews suggest that what has been produced is as biased a production as we have seen in some time. It is unfortunate that the producers of this television program appear to have fallen into the trap of distorting facts, relying on claims rejected by courts of law, breathlessly rehashing as “news” stories that have been covered exhaustively in the past and relying on anonymous sources who appear intent only on harming The Boeing Company.
When first contacted by the producers, we accommodated them in order for them to produce a fair and objective report including facilitating factory access, interviews and providing full and open responses to their questions. The 787 is an outstanding airplane delivering value to our customers, but we have also talked candidly in public about its challenging development process. There are no tougher critics about our early performance than Boeing.

Unfortunately, the reporting team appears to have chosen to take advantage of our trust and openness and abused their position from the outset by deliberately misrepresenting the purpose, objective and scope of their planned coverage.

This specious production appears to have ignored the factual information provided by Boeing and instead based the majority of its reporting on unnamed sources pursuing their own agendas and a disgruntled former employee engaged in a legal dispute with Boeing. In one instance, the producers resorted to ambush tactics normally seen only in tabloid-style TV news. The anonymous sources the TV program depends on are clearly working with those who seek to harm Boeing and its workers. They appear to have no real interest in truth, safety or better informing the public.

Even on-the-record sources seem to have changed their stories for the producers. For example, former Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) President Cynthia Cole said this about the 787’s first flight in 2009: “Today’s flight is a testament to the skill, hard work and diligence Boeing employees put in to get this airplane ready to fly,” SPEEA President Cynthia Cole said in a news release. “Boeing returned to engineering, and that’s what made today possible and successful.” Now, she states in the documentary trailer that Boeing “shortchanged the engineering process.”

Instead of an objective view of the 787’s development, viewers and our employees will see a television program that is neither balanced nor accurate in its portrayal of the airplane, our employees, or our suppliers. This program and those involved with it do a disservice to the hard-working men and women of Boeing and our supplier partners who designed and build the 787.

Furthermore, the program presents a false impression of Boeing South Carolina and the quality of work performed there. Airplanes, whether delivered from South Carolina or Washington, meet the highest safety and quality standards that are verified through robust test, verification and inspection processes. Our data of the current 787 fleet in service show parity in the quality and performance of airplanes manufactured in both locations.

Source:  Boeing Media Room

 

Boeing 787 – Broken Dreams?

Exclusive: Safety concerns dog Boeing 787
Al Jazeera Investigative Unit finds some workers with quality concerns, alleging drug use and fearing to fly the plane.

Al Jazeera has found that some Boeing workers have serious concerns about the safety of the 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft.

In a new documentary, Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787, current and retired Boeing employees discuss their worries about quality control with Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

Boeing’s 787 “Dreamliner”, which made its first commercial flight in late 2011, has been dogged with problems since plans for its launch were announced in 2003.
Two battery failures in January 2013 sparked safety fears and led to fleets being temporarily grounded worldwide for over three months.

Boeing says it does not compromise on product safety or quality.

Whistleblower
A worker at one of two Boeing 787 assembly lines in Charleston, in the US state of South Carolina, contacted Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit to share his worries about the “Dreamliner”.
The worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, says “with all the problems reported on the 787, there’s 90 percent that’s getting swept away”.

He describes the troubles with the plane as “an iceberg”. He claims only 10 percent of problems are visible to the flying public, with the rest “hushed up”.
“I’ve seen a lot of things that should not go on at an airplane plant,” the worker says. “It’s been eating me alive to know what I know, and have no avenue, no venue to say anything.”

In a statement to Al Jazeera, Boeing says that “787 airplanes delivered from both South Carolina and Washington final assembly and delivery operations meet the highest safety and quality standards that are verified through robust test, verification and inspection processes”.

Ten of 15 ‘wouldn’t fly’

Using a concealed camera, the worker films inside the Boeing South Carolina plant, recording his discussions with colleagues.

He randomly asks 15 of his co-workers who assemble the 787 “Dreamliner” if they would fly on the plane. Ten say they would not.

“I wouldn’t fly on one of these planes,” one worker tells him, “because I see the quality of the fu**ing sh*t going down around here”.
Another worker replies, “it’s sketchy”. Asked what he means, the worker adds, “yeah I probably would, but I kind of have a death wish too”.

A third says of the 787s assembled at South Carolina, “we’re not building them to fly. We’re building them to sell. You know what I’m saying?”

Larry Loftis, Boeing Vice President and General Manager of the 787 “Dreamliner” Program, told Al Jazeera, “The number one focus that we have at Boeing is ensuring the continued safe airworthiness of an airplane, the integrity of the airplane and the quality of the airplane going out”.

Drugs
The Boeing worker also says that he is concerned that some of his colleagues are on drugs, saying he has seen “people talking about doing drugs, looking for drugs”, specifically marijuana, cocaine and prescription painkillers.
In the footage, he records one man saying: “It’s all coke and painkillers” at the plant, adding, “you can get weed here, you can get some really good weed here”.

Another complains that Boeing “don’t drug test nobody”, adding that “there’s people that go out there on lunch and smoke one up”.

In 2011, US federal agents raided a separate Boeing plant in Philadelphia as part of a drugs investigation. They arrested dozens of workers at the facility, which builds aircraft including the H-47 Chinook helicopter and the V-22 Osprey.

In a statement to Al Jazeera, Boeing says “drug testing of employees is done in accordance with Boeing policy and procedures across all facilities in accordance with applicable laws. Boeing thoroughly investigates any employee reports of policy deviation, and appropriate corrective action is taken if needed.”

Memo
A memo obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit also shows that in 2010, Boeing altered its quality standards at a time when the 787 was already two years delayed.

The source of the memo, a veteran Boeing engineer, says it reveals that the company “changed basic engineering principles to meet schedule”.

On seeing the document, another long-time Boeing engineer says “they’re short-changing the engineering process to meet a schedule… I find that reprehensible”.

Cynthia Cole, former president of Boeing’s engineers union SPEEA, adds that she would no longer fly on a Boeing 787. “I’ve been kind of avoiding flying on a 787 and seeing this, I would definitely avoid flying on a 787.”
Boeing says its memo is fully consistent with the company’s robust quality assurance system. “While we will not discuss in detail our proprietary production processes, we note that the document itself concludes by saying that the process changes ‘do not signify authorisation to ship or accept parts which do not meet engineering and quality requirements.’ ”

The company also says that it uses one, FAA-approved quality system for the 787 in both of its assembly plants.

Source:  Al Jazeera

  •   GDL 39