Boeing says no 787 safety risk after whistleblower raises troubling claims

Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times on

Published in Business News

But no delamination was observed. The localized damage Boeing deliberately inflicted did not spread or deteriorate.

The engineers also cut through a pressurized fuselage with a guillotine blade, slicing a 4-foot section and severing one of the circumferential frames.

The fuselage didn’t even lose pressure, and testing showed the tear did not propagate and the fuselage was able to maintain its structural integrity well above the loads expected in normal operation.

Boeing said the gaps were present in the first Dreamliners ever built, including the ground-test airplane that over five years from 2010 was cycled through the loads and pressurization of 165,000 simulated flights — three-and-a-half lifetimes — without showing any structural damage.

Salehpour, the whistleblower, claimed last week that Boeing’s own data from detailed inspections of 26 airplanes showed nearly 99% had gaps larger than the specification of 5 thousandths of an inch, about the thickness of two sheets of paper, and the small filler pieces of glass fiber material used to fill such gaps — known as shims — were not inserted.

At two of the main circumferential joins on those 26 airplanes, “98.7% of the time, the gaps exceeding 5 thou are not shimmed,” Salehpour said on a press conference call last week with his lawyers. “Nearly 8,000 gaps exceeding 5 thou were not shimmed.”


Chisholm said the result was “exactly opposite.”

He said Boeing removed every fastener on each of the five circumferential joins on all of those airplanes, about 2,000 fasteners for each join, and measured the gap at each hole — a so-called “through-hole” inspection.

“Close to 99% were fully conforming and met the 0.005 inch requirement,” Chisholm said.

On Wednesday, Salehpour is due to speak at a U.S. Senate hearing. Boeing did what it could Monday to contradict his account.

©2024 The Seattle Times. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus