Boeing whistleblower John Barnett useless in obvious suicide

A former Boeing employee who raised security considerations in regards to the firm’s planes has been discovered useless from a “self-inflicted wound”.

Former high quality supervisor John Barnett, 62, retired from Boeing in 2017 after 32 years and made headlines for saying he had begged his household to not fly on its planes.

He had been giving proof in a whistleblower lawsuit towards the US aerospace large within the days earlier than his loss of life in South Carolina, the BBC first reported.

Mr Barnett, from Louisiana, was discovered useless on March 9 “from what seems to be a self-inflicted wound”, the Charleston County coroner’s workplace confirmed in a press release.

“Charleston Metropolis Police Division is the investigating company,” it mentioned. “No additional particulars can be found at the moment.”

The BBC reported Mr Barnett was present in his truck within the carpark of his Charleston resort.

“We’re saddened by Mr Barnett’s passing, and our ideas are along with his household and buddies,” a Boeing spokesman informed

Mr Barnett labored from 2010 as a high quality supervisor on the North Charleston plant making its state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner, which is now utilized by most main airways together with Qantas.

He first blew the whistle in 2019, alleging Boeing had reduce corners in its rush to get the brand new plane off the manufacturing line. He claimed defective elements had been intentionally fitted to planes, and that round one quarter of the drop-down oxygen masks didn’t work.

His public statements got here within the wake of two deadly crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 planes in 2018 and 2019 that killed greater than 350 individuals.

Boeing denied his accusations on the time and insisted its plane had been constructed to the very best requirements of security and high quality.

However in 2017 a assessment by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) upheld a few of his considerations, together with that the situation of not less than 53 “nonconforming” elements within the manufacturing unit was unknown.

The FAA ordered Boeing to repair the issues.

Boeing mentioned in a press release in 2020 that the considerations raised by Mr Barnett had been addressed and that planes undergo rigorous security checks earlier than they go away the manufacturing unit.

“In 2017, Boeing’s regular 787 manufacturing testing course of recognized some oxygen bottles obtained from the provider that weren’t deploying correctly,” the assertion mentioned.

“We eliminated these bottles from manufacturing in order that no faulty bottles had been positioned on aeroplanes, and we addressed the matter with the provider by means of our regular FAA-approved course of. We encourage and count on our staff to lift considerations and after they do, we totally examine and absolutely resolve them, in co-operation with the FAA, the place acceptable.”

After his retirement for well being causes, Mr Barnett took authorized motion towards Boeing, accusing the corporate of retaliating towards him for talking out, a declare Boeing denied.

He had been in Charleston for authorized interviews in that case on the time of his loss of life, the BBC reported. He gave a proper deposition final week the place he was questioned by Boeing’s legal professionals and cross-examined by his personal counsel.

He had been due for additional questioning on Saturday however didn’t seem. Enquiries had been made at his resort, the place he was discovered useless in his truck.

Mr Barnett’s lawyer informed the BBC his loss of life was “tragic”.

It comes amid a spate of high-profile security incidents involving Boeing plane.

On Monday, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner en route from Sydney to Auckland skilled an unspecified “technical drawback” that brought about the airplane to plunge abruptly, sending passengers flying into the ceiling and injuring 50 individuals.

Boeing remains to be reeling from a near-catastrophic incident in January when a fuselage panel on a Boeing 737 MAX 9 Alaska Airways jet blew off mid-flight.

Mr Barnett spoke with TMZ within the wake of that incident after the FAA gave the 737s the green-light to return to the skies.

“One, this isn’t a 737 drawback, it’s a Boeing drawback,” he mentioned.

“I do know the FAA’s getting in and so they’ve executed due diligence and inspections to guarantee that the door-plugs of the 737 are put in correctly … however my concern is what’s the situation of the remainder of the aeroplane?”

Mr Barnett claimed that in 2012, Boeing began eradicating inspection operations from meeting strains leaving “mechanics to purchase off their very own work”.

“So what we’re seeing with the door plug blowout is what I’ve seen with the remainder of the aeroplane so far as jobs not being accomplished correctly, inspection steps being eliminated, points being ignored,” he mentioned.

“My considerations are with the 737 and 787, as a result of these packages have actually embraced the idea that high quality is overhead and non-value-added, so these two packages have actually put a robust effort into eradicating high quality from the method.”

US regulators earlier this month gave Boeing 90 days to provide you with a plan addressing high quality management points, with the FAA chief saying the corporate should “decide to actual and profound enhancements”.

Final week a Boeing 777 jetliner certain for Japan needed to make an emergency touchdown shortly after takeoff from San Francisco when a wheel fell off and plunged into an airport car parking zone, damaging a number of vehicles.

Additionally final week New Zealand’s Prime Minister was compelled to take a business flight to Australia for high-level conferences due to a last-minute drawback with a New Zealand Defence Drive Boeing 757 plane.

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