Boeing hid safety risks in 'criminal cover-up,' whistleblowers tell Senate

Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times on

Published in Business News

“I’m not going to sugarcoat this,” Pierson said. “This is a criminal cover-up. Records do in fact exist. I know this because I’ve personally passed them to the FBI.”

According to people with knowledge of the document, Pierson is referring to the Shipside Action Tracker, or SAT, data, which is a series of entries in an informal system at the Max assembly plant in Renton, Washington, used to track problems during assembly and their resolution.

That documentation does exist and Boeing has provided it to the NTSB, the safety agency charged with investigating the incident, The Seattle Times has confirmed.

The document shows it was Boeing mechanics who opened and then incorrectly reinstalled the panel — a door plug used to fill a hole where some airlines choose to have an extra emergency door installed.

The Seattle Times obtained a copy of the page in the SAT record that contains the entries for the days when the panel was removed and reinstalled and the work item closed out. However, the document does not identify the individuals who did the work.

The employees named in the record are “manufacturing representatives” in the factory who simply log the entries to track the progression of the work. Their role is as the liaison between the mechanics who do the work and the managers who assign the work.


So the document Pierson has given the FBI likely doesn’t directly contradict Boeing’s assertion that there is no documentation identifying who actually did the work.

Of course, it remains problematic and mystifying that months after the incident Boeing hasn’t identified those individuals from the team in Renton.

Wednesday’s hearing continues the run of public relations shocks to Boeing, fueled now by testimony from insiders.

At this point, every one of Boeing’s passenger jets — the 737, 777 and 787 — is under public attack, accused of being a safety risk. All three aircraft are flying hundreds of flights every day.

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