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Lawsuit claims Boeing planes had defective parts
The Kansas City Star ^ | May 27, 2005

Posted on 05/27/2005 2:44:08 PM PDT by Righty_McRight

WICHITA, Kan. - Three senior Boeing Co. employees have filed a lawsuit against the aircraft manufacturer claiming the company ignored numerous defective parts used to build airplanes.

The three employees of Boeing's commercial aircraft division in Wichita brought the lawsuit in March on behalf of the U.S. government, alleging that Boeing was aware of nearly 2,000 defective parts from Ducommun Inc. of California used in 32 of the company's airplanes.

The lawsuit became public Thursday after the U.S. Justice Department completed its investigation.

A federal court filing said the parts ended up on $1.5 billion worth of planes delivered to the U.S. Air Force and Navy and foreign military forces, including ones in Japan, Italy, Turkey and Australia.

The lawsuit contends the parts did not pass minimum Federal Aviation Administration safety requirements and were used on 737s, 747s, 757s and 767s made in Wichita and delivered for sale from March 1998 through November 2004.

James Ailes of Wichita; Jeannine "Gigi" Prewitt of Derby; and Taylor Smith, now of Savannah, Ga., filed the lawsuit. Their attorney said they would not comment beyond the lawsuit.

Craig Martin, a spokesman for Boeing in Seattle, said corporate officials did not learn about the lawsuit until recently and could not comment on specifics.

"Boeing has a superb record of safety and a very high reputation with our customers," Martin said.

Ducommun executives were unavailable to comment, according to officials with the Carson, Calif., manufacturer of parts for numerous aircraft.

The lawsuit said in 1999 Boeing found Ducommun's documents for making the parts did not conform to FAA requirements.

A Boeing field representative wrote a report to suspend Ducommun's delivery of parts to the Wichita plant, the lawsuit says, but the computer report was deleted the next day.

"Ducommun continued to deliver bogus, defective and nonconforming parts to Boeing Wichita," according to the lawsuit.

Ailes, Smith and Prewitt claim in the lawsuit that Ducommun kept two sets of books for manufacturing parts - "fake books," for Boeing and the FAA and "real books" for Ducommun.

The three investigators say they "became the subjects of harassment, threats and intimidation" when they filed reports in 2000 criticizing Boeing's use of defective parts.

The lawsuit seeks at least $10,000 for each false claim made by Boeing to the U.S. government concerning the quality and safety of the aircraft.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Government
KEYWORDS: 737; 747; 757; 767; australia; boeing; ducommun; faa; italy; japan; lawsuit; turkey; usaf; usnavy

1 posted on 05/27/2005 2:44:08 PM PDT by Righty_McRight
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To: KylaStarr; Cindy; StillProud2BeFree; nw_arizona_granny; Velveeta; Dolphy; appalachian_dweller; ...

ping


2 posted on 05/27/2005 2:45:26 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Righty_McRight

Use the defective aircraft for target practice, then force Boeing to replace them, free of charge, or lose all existing and future contracts with the US government. Make the defective parts cost Boeing far more than replacing them would have cost and they'll never do it again.


3 posted on 05/27/2005 2:51:21 PM PDT by NJ_gent (Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.)
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To: NJ_gent
Use the defective aircraft for target practice, then force Boeing to replace them, free of charge, or lose all existing and future contracts with the US government. Make the defective parts cost Boeing far more than replacing them would have cost and they'll never do it again.

I don't suppose waiting for the truth to come out has any part in your elaborate plan?

Just because three disgruntled employees say something does not make it true. If the parts were so bad that they didn't pass the FAA certifications, a quiet word to the FAA inspectors would have solved the entire matter.

There is more here than meets the eye. For instance, nowhere is the nature of the defect even hinted at. We there holes in fuel tanks? Or was it simply an "i" not dotted or a "t" not crossed on some FAA form?

4 posted on 05/27/2005 3:00:02 PM PDT by konaice
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To: NJ_gent
I think some former Boeing execs just earned their recent bonus for consulting work done on behalf of Airbus.

As a plane owner, I can tell you that a certificated airworthy part does not mean it's good or bad, just made IAW paperwork rules.

You could make cement life preservers and have them certificated as made IAW all requirements called for. They will still drown the user. Just to a specification drowning.

I've got enough airorthiness directives from the FAA on one part, requiring this or that to comply with the directive. As new airworthy specialists come on line at the FAA, they issue new directives, countering the ones from previous airworthiness specialists. I've had several unairworthy parts made even more unairworthy after the FAA gets thru detailing the required fix. All seven or eight times!

5 posted on 05/27/2005 3:00:04 PM PDT by blackdog (How are the ones and zeroes treating you today?)
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To: konaice
"I don't suppose waiting for the truth to come out has any part in your elaborate plan?"

Considering the number of times the US government has had to sue Boeing for everything from defective parts to billing for work never done, and considering the fact that the lawsuit was only made public after the completion of a Justice Dept investigation, I think it's reasonably safe to assume that Boeing has yet again tried to screw US taxpayers and the US military.

However, if I were in a position to implement such a plan as the one I offered, I would absolutely have a full investigation done prior to going to any such extremes. In addition, it would require tracking down the exact planes with the defective parts, which shouldn't be too terribly difficult.
6 posted on 05/27/2005 3:09:09 PM PDT by NJ_gent (Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.)
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To: blackdog
"You could make cement life preservers and have them certificated as made IAW all requirements called for. They will still drown the user. Just to a specification drowning."

That's the most fantastic line I've read all day. :)
7 posted on 05/27/2005 3:10:25 PM PDT by NJ_gent (Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.)
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To: Righty_McRight

As I read the article I am lookiing foe specifics. I don't find specifics. The lack of specifics IN A NEWS ARTICLE is interesting. I recall something about 'who' what' 'when' and 'where' being neccessary to a NEWS article. This piece is a 'statistical' article. That is; it is meant to plant an idea without actually lying. The complanints didn't write the article themselves--that is interesting too....


8 posted on 05/27/2005 3:11:32 PM PDT by TalBlack
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To: NJ_gent
Make the defective parts cost Boeing far more than replacing them would have cost and they'll never do it again.

I haven't peeked at your profile yet but I'll make a guess. You've never worked for the government nor a government contractor.

9 posted on 05/27/2005 3:15:16 PM PDT by ScreamingFist (Peace through Ignorance)
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To: NJ_gent

bump


10 posted on 05/27/2005 3:17:27 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: ScreamingFist
"I haven't peeked at your profile yet but I'll make a guess. You've never worked for the government nor a government contractor."

I'm not naive enough to think what I said would ever actually happen. I do know about the ridiculous amount of protections built in for government contractors. We really need to modify the way our government does business if we're ever to even hope of cutting down on government waste and pork.
11 posted on 05/27/2005 3:19:39 PM PDT by NJ_gent (Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.)
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To: NJ_gent
Enjoy this gem then.........

If you have a 727 or 737 or any other jet with run-out engines beyond TBO, don't spend a dime to overhaul them! Just remove them, crate them up and ship them to Turkmanistan, where there is a rebuild/overhaul station doing business. They solvent wash, clean up, and retag the engine in the same condition it arrived in as now being airworthy. It gets shipped back stateside, installed, and logged in the planes books as zero time engines.

It's quite a lucrative business. Rather hard on the mechanics who have to do all this because it's still IAW FAA rules. If that repair facility in Turkmanistan has been certificated, it's just peachy.

Now if you're Connie Culletta or United Airlines, what do you think they do to cut expenses yet comply with FAA rules?

12 posted on 05/27/2005 3:21:05 PM PDT by blackdog (How are the ones and zeroes treating you today?)
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To: blackdog

Wonderful. You know, until we stop bailing out the airlines, we'll never get fiscally responsible people into positions of power in the major airlines. People who cut engine maintenance to feed their multi-million dollar bonuses are, by no means, fiscally responsible. Perhaps when airplanes start falling from the skies people will wake up to things like this.


13 posted on 05/27/2005 3:26:00 PM PDT by NJ_gent (Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.)
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To: NJ_gent
I'm not naive enough to think what I said would ever actually happen.

I was referring to the fact that first you have to find out the motivation for the "Boeing employees".

The lawsuit seeks at least $10,000 for each false claim made by Boeing to the U.S. government concerning the quality and safety of the aircraft.

Money is normally the first motivation, the second is usually that an insider has an axe to grind. Usually the two coincide. Is there a problem with the parts? Maybe. Are these three doing this from the goodness of their hearts? No way.

14 posted on 05/27/2005 3:30:11 PM PDT by ScreamingFist (Peace through Ignorance)
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To: ScreamingFist
"Is there a problem with the parts? Maybe."

Which is my only concern. I have no concern whatsoever for these guys. If their suit has merit, they'll have their day in court. My concern is for the money blown on defective parts, yet again, with Boeing. My concern is also for the lives of the men and women in combat who have to use brand new equipment that could potentially be on its last leg. Boeing has been sued numerous times in the past by the US government for providing garbage to the US military, and I just think it's about time we got serious about punishing them for it.
15 posted on 05/27/2005 3:34:02 PM PDT by NJ_gent (Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.)
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To: NJ_gent

That is a unique and wonderful solution to the problem. I'm for it.


16 posted on 05/27/2005 3:52:08 PM PDT by No Longer Free State (Standing in the way of progress is not a party platform)
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To: NJ_gent
It's my experience that the planes are themselves rock solid. But you are right about stuff falling off of them. I've left flaps, windows, sections of cowlings, gear doors, prop chunks, and fairings all over the terra firma after a long ride down.

In the case of proven platform planes with millions of hours and flight cycles recorded worldwide, it's mostly a paperwork thang as you earlier mentioned. Something like the contracted company didn't magnaflux the parts before shipment by a certified lab or something like that. It may have been a new vendor that Boeing might have omitted a specification that should have been on the specs but they forgot. It happens a lot. Usually the parts and processes in making them is all traceable and can be fixed by an inspection or paperwork entry during the next 100 hour inspection. It just will make someone look very bad.

17 posted on 05/27/2005 3:56:01 PM PDT by blackdog (How are the ones and zeroes treating you today?)
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To: Calpernia; SandRat; Tuba Guy; Pepper777; DAVEY CROCKETT; lacylu; SevenofNine

Bump to Cal.

Ping to the rest of you.

Why am I not surprised that so many small planes fall out of the sky?


18 posted on 05/27/2005 3:56:49 PM PDT by nw_arizona_granny (My prayer of thanks is for all the Freepers who make my days so interesting,educational and loving.)
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To: NJ_gent
Boeing has been sued numerous times in the past by the US government for providing garbage to the US military, and I just think it's about time we got serious about punishing them for it.

I was directly in the middle of the "F-16 Kapton wiring" issue many years back. In short, chaffing of the wiring harnesses, and the resulting electrical shorts, could cause the Kapton insulation to catch fire. I remember watching a crying widow, whose pilot husband had died, supposedly of a terrible Kapton wire fire, saying General Dynamics KNEW of the problem, and did nothing. The facts were;

1. All aircraft have wire chaffing, period. Stretch an airframe with 9 G's, you have chaffing. (This is the GD "knew" part)

2. Kapton insulation could burn when exposed to excessive arcing. (The problem was that when electrical shorts of that magnitude were encountered, the pilot was pulling the exit handle anyway. Fire was just a side effect.)

3. Kapton wire is no longer used. We the taxpayer footed the bill. The widow is rich. The widow's lawyers are millionaires many time over.

19 posted on 05/27/2005 3:58:52 PM PDT by ScreamingFist (Peace through Ignorance)
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To: NJ_gent
My concern is also for the lives of the men and women in combat who have to use brand new equipment that could potentially be on its last leg. Boeing has been sued numerous times in the past by the US government for providing garbage to the US military, and I just think it's about time we got serious about punishing them for it.

NJ, you keep inferring this is a taxpayer/military screwjob by Boeing. Re-read the freaking article.

From the article: "The three employees of Boeing's commercial aircraft division in Wichita brought the lawsuit in March on behalf of the U.S. government, alleging that Boeing was aware of nearly 2,000 defective parts from Ducommun Inc. of California used in 32 of the company's airplanes."

You're adressing non-valid points. Some Boeing customers may have an axe to grind, but neither the military nor taxpayers do.

20 posted on 05/27/2005 4:14:01 PM PDT by IonImplantGuru (Give me heaven... or a 637!)
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To: nw_arizona_granny; Aeronaut
Why am I not surprised that so many small planes fall out of the sky?

No offense, Granny, but Boeing doesn't make 'small planes'; they make BIG planes! And - statistically speaking - per million miles flown very few of them 'fall out of the sky.'

- SE_AZ_Grandpa

21 posted on 05/27/2005 4:19:36 PM PDT by IonImplantGuru (Give me heaven... or a 637!)
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To: IonImplantGuru
I>A federal court filing said the parts ended up on $1.5 billion worth of planes delivered to the U.S. Air Force and Navy and foreign military forces, including ones in Japan, Italy, Turkey and Australia.
22 posted on 05/27/2005 4:20:33 PM PDT by ScreamingFist (Peace through Ignorance)
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To: ScreamingFist; NJ_gent
"A federal court filing said the parts ended up on $1.5 billion worth of planes delivered to the U.S. Air Force and Navy and foreign military forces, including ones in Japan, Italy, Turkey and Australia."

Doh! I saw the reference to "Commercial Aircraft Division" and that's what stuck in my brain; the sentence you've supplied slipped under my radar somehow.

NJGent: Like the followup to an Emily Latella rant on SNL ...

"Oh! Never mind."

23 posted on 05/27/2005 4:35:11 PM PDT by IonImplantGuru (Give me heaven... or a 637!)
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To: IonImplantGuru

I was as confused as you. Perhaps the parts were in a military transport/tanker model.


24 posted on 05/27/2005 4:38:34 PM PDT by ScreamingFist (Peace through Ignorance)
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To: konaice
There is more here than meets the eye.

I agree. This could be nothing more than problems with a certification of conformance or something similar.

As usual, the sensationalism of the subject implies airworthiness and/or safety problems yet we know no facts. I would strongly suspect the motives of these three employees (considering the hundreds or thousands that may be familiar with the issue). What exactly drove them to this revelation? That is a key part of this story yet to be told.

25 posted on 05/27/2005 5:01:52 PM PDT by pfflier
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To: pfflier; All

By the way. These three worked at one of the plants that Boeing is trying to sell to Onex. They might of lost their jobs in the deal.


26 posted on 05/27/2005 5:14:17 PM PDT by Righty_McRight
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To: IonImplantGuru

Maybe they're complaining as a proxy to the whining french. They got real quiet suddenly.


27 posted on 05/27/2005 5:20:44 PM PDT by monkeywrench (http://ciudadano.presidencia.gob.mx/peticion/peticion.htm -Tell Vicente)
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To: Righty_McRight
When I was just a junior engineer with Rockwell I found myself next to the chief structural engineer for Boeing on a 737. We talked a long time. He was extremely proud of his airplanes; "won't fly on anything else," he said. He told me lots of interesting stories. At least then there was pride and integrity in the commercial airplane division.

Now the military division is essentially McDonnell-Douglas, once headed by Harry "Dipstick" Stonecipher, a man wihout scruple or ethics. What to say?

Now I am a Boeing employee but my division is about to be sold to UTC.

--Boris

28 posted on 05/27/2005 7:13:26 PM PDT by boris (The deadliest weapon of mass destruction in history is a leftist with a word processor.)
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