25% of the oxygen bottles on Boeing 787 failed during the tests – says former Quality Engineer at Boeing

November 7, 2019


A former Boeing engineer has claimed that passengers on 787 dreamliner could be left without oxygen in the event of a sudden decompression.

John Barnett said Boeing cut corners on safety aboard the Boeing 787, and deliberately fitted faulty parts on the Oxygen system and might not work when needed.

He said, tests at the South Carolina assembly line suggested one in four of the aircraft’s passenger oxygen systems could fail.

Barnett told BBC that “when he was decommissioning systems which had suffered minor cosmetic damage, he found that some of the oxygen bottles were not discharging when they were meant to. He subsequently arranged for a controlled test to be carried out by Boeing’s own research and development unit.
This test, which used oxygen systems that were “straight out of stock” and undamaged, was designed to mimic the way in which they would be deployed aboard an aircraft, using exactly the same electric current as a trigger. He says 300 systems were tested – and 75 of them did not deploy properly, a failure rate of 25%.”

In 2017, he complained to the US regulator, the FAA, but no action had been taken, FAA, however, said it “could not substantiate that claim, because Boeing had indicated it was working on the issue at the time.”

He complained to his managers and subsequently to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but the safety regulator said that Boeing was dealing with the issue.

He also claimed that workers under-pressure “even fitted sub-standard parts from scrap bins to aircraft on the production line, in at least one case with the knowledge of a senior manager. He says this was done to save time, because “Boeing South Carolina is strictly driven by schedule and cost”..

Boeing rejects Mr Barnett’s assertions and said “Boeing has always focused on the safety of its products and people.”…“We are more committed than ever to our shared responsibility to design, build and service the safest products..”

John Barnett is a former quality control manager/engineer at Boeing, worked for Boeing for 32 years, until his retirement on health grounds in March 2017.

He worked as Quality Control Manager at Boeing’s North Charleston, South Carolina factory since 2010.

Mr Barnett, meanwhile, remains deeply concerned about the safety of the aircraft he helped to build, and said to BBC “Based on my years of experience and past history of plane accidents, I believe it’s just a matter of time before something big happens with a 787,”

he says “I pray that I am wrong.” 

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