This quote is also from my first report to the FAA local MIDO office, when I was naive and chose not to believe all those press reports about the FAA being the "handmaiden of the aviation industry" and a "tombstone agency."
Inspectors who do not "get it", and will not stop documenting defects per the FAA-approved BCAG Quality System, drawings, and specifications, costing the Company needless money and loss of schedule, are put in meaningless "make work" type office jobs simply to prevent them from documenting defects on the production floor. This is a flagrant violation of the FAA-approved...BCAG Quality Assurance Directive...: "Personnel performing inspection and testing functions shall have sufficient, well defined responsibility, authority, and the organizational freedom to ensure that products comply with approved design requirements."
The above happened to me on or about 5/1/2000. At the time, I was working with (name), fellow line inspector, inspecting on the 747 strut line. I was just trying to do my job, as I described to you so redundantly before, to the FAA-approved PSD/BCAG Quality Manual. I had settled into a rhythm in my inspections, as I had been inspecting in that area for some time as of that date. I was trying to improve the abysmal quality of the plans in the area as I did my inspections. Between inspections, I would go through the work copies of plans occasionally, as time permitted, auditing the plans and redlining defects in the plan, as our QA planning office never audited the plans as they were supposed to, and the M.E. planners had grown extremely careless in their updating of the plans as a result of no oversight. I was trying to fix that in the area.
I figured I would be there for some time, and eventually, job by job, I would get all of the plans on the 747 struts into compliance with the minimum planning requirements. I was good at auditing plans, and I knew exactly the minimum requirements per the...planning manual, as I had audited plans for compliance to minimum requirements while I was a member of the First Article Verification Team for the 777-300 in Everett. We had had to go through the new plans and get any errors fixed, as well as inspect the jobs to make sure they were per plan, specs, and drawing. Anyway, when a job that I had time to audit was put on the call sheet, I would inspect the job, and write up any defects, and then document the planning defects I had found on the job also. Generally I would only write a planning pickup if there were fairly major defects in the plan, such as the wrong drawings, missing inspections, and missing operations.
I audited the plans while off of the call sheet, because I knew I had very little time to even read the plan during an actual inspection. If shop saw me sitting down for a long period going over their job that they wanted sold immediately, for planning errors, then I would be turned into my management again, I knew. Anyway, I kept having to write the same pickups over and over because planning kept "forgetting" to revise the follow-on units. An example of some planning NCRs I wrote at that time are NCRs...I’ll let you (the FAA) be the judge of whether I was wasting Company resources by writing them.
I also was writing NCRs on T/R hinge damage on the struts as received from Wichita. It looked like damage from handling the struts when they were removed from whatever jigs located the T/R hinges, but could have been from fastener installation. An example is NCR..., and I think, ... (my notes are not too descriptive on that one). (Name), my lead, came into the area one day as I was documenting the damage on the T/R hinges on one strut. He said, "You aren’t writing up those damaged fittings again, are you?" I said, "Yep." He walked off, disgusted.
The Customer Coordinators would have us line inspectors document damage much less severe than I was documenting on these T/R hinge NCRs during their Customer Shakedowns of the struts (reference NCR ...), but I always seemed to catch hell for my much more significant damage NCRs. After I had written several up, they started to come in in the condition they should have been received--with no damage, although one came in in which it was obvious that unauthorized rework had been done to the damage in Wichita, prior to being received at PSD. The damage had been crudely blended out, with no required rotopeen or MRB stamp (NCR ... items 7, 8, and 9).
I also was starting to write up mislocated wire bundles, whose critical pink flag markers were not within (dimension) of either side of the designated clamp. I had recently learned of the requirement. It was news to the shop, and they didn’t like it when I had to write MRB-type NCRs up on the mislocated wire bundles when I inspected the wire bundle job, as the bundles were sealed in place at that point, and couldn’t be made to comply with document requirements. I was the only inspector I knew that was writing this requirement up, although (name) may have copied my lead on a few tags. This really endeared me to Manufacturing. Example: ...
I was also writing up a lot of torn blankets, which I believe I had originally noticed. The raceway blankets would tear at the grommet almost every installation, sporadically. Example: NCR ...
I also was writing up missing fillet seals from Wichita around the bushings in the strut to wing attach fittings. I found this discrepancy while inspecting the rework of a damaged bushing per NCR ... Examples: NCRs ... and ...
(A note about this quote: These missing required fillet seals around the noted 747 bushings, which hold the fuse pins that attach the struts (aka pylons) and the engines attached to the struts to the airplane, could allow corrosion of this critical part of the strut assy the noted corrosion preventative fillet seals were supposed to prevent, quite conceivably resulting in crashes like two previous crashes of 747s, which are believed to have occurred due to corrosion of the fuse pins that were installed in these bushings.
However, even documenting potential catastrophic defects like these so they could be fixed before the airplane went into service can get you into trouble if you are an ethical inspector in the corrupt Boeing Quality System, as you can read below. And I wrote these defects up eight years after the noted 747 crashes. You would think that inspectors who documented these type of critical defects that could contribute to yet more crashes of 747s would get praise at Boeing instead of being banished from the production floor, especially after Boeing had to spend untold millions of dollars during the strut retrofit program Boeing had to institute as corrective action for the noted crashes, but that was not the case, as I sadly experienced.
Cost and Schedule trumped Safety at Boeing, even when it was demonstrated that corrosive defects in the same structural connection I documented lack of corrosion preventative compound in had led to crashes in which much death and destruction had in fact occurred. You would think that other inspectors, inspection leads, and inspection supervisors, and even shop personnel (who were more schedule driven than anyone) would have their priorities straight after the noted crashes, and would defer to safety instead of cost and schedule and ensure these type of defects were repaired and those that found these defects were praised for doing so.
However, the opposite occurred, and QA leads, shop management, and QA supervision instead ensured the opposite--that inspectors who documented these type of defects were removed from the production floor to ensure such defects were not documented and repaired in an effort to ensure that all important cost and schedule goals were protected even if those goals were not "in danger," and, by doing so, consequently ensuring that the lives of those who fly on these Boeing airplanes and the lives of those unfortunate enough (as in the El Al 747 crash) to live in the path of such airplanes are not protected as required by airplanes that conform to quality, safety, and reliability engineering requirements. As a result of the noted crash, it was found that, "the system to ensure structural integrity by inspection failed," (http://www.planecrashinfo.com/cvr921094.htm).
However, I witnessed personally how the lessons of that crash were not learned by my QA leads and my QA management even some eight years after that crash.
Almost unbelievable (but true and believable when you know how "defective" Boeing's quality system and culture really are) is the fact that Boeing tried to silence and punish an inspector who was trying to expose Boeing's failure to act internally to prevent such incidents because of these fuse pins.
I do not remember if this incident was before or after the noted crashes. Unfortunately I did not find it in a Google search, albeit it was publicized, even if only superficially. The inspector felt so strongly about the issue that they took data home, presumably to report the safety issue they were concerned about to the relevant investigative institution to ensure the safety of personnel flying applicable Boeing aircraft, among others (please bear with me, as I am working from distant memory on this event). Somehow Boeing found out they had taken this action, and fired the inspector for doing so (sounds familiar, doesn't it). Much later, the inspector had to be restored to their job because the union won a grievance over their termination.
I believe this inspector was active in the union, especially after being restored to their job over Boeing's objection. I have asked my Union Business Rep to coordinate the union's current grievance of my termination with the same business rep that handled that inspector's eerily similar unjust termination. Of course, Boeing terminated me with full knowledge of their similar termination of the noted inspector. And that inspector is not the only QA personnel Boeing terminated or layed off for trying to do thier jobs despite Boeing's wishes that they do not do them, however critical to public and military personnel's safety those personnel's jobs were.
Of course, Boeing is careful not to reveal the real reason they fired or layed off such personnel, but if they place you under surveillance, they can easily find (or even manufacture, as I have heard Boeing can do from my union) a reason to terminate you, however minor, even if it is for something you did directly related to your job, protecting lives, and/or bringing Boeing's fraudulent actions to light, even if permitted in Boeing policies, such as happened in my case of unjust termination by Boeing.
Do you see a pattern here? I do, too. To be so consistent in your methods across a large enterprise, such terminations and layoffs must be directed from a central source--upper management. And it was at the highest levels of Boeing management from which my termination was coordinated and approved. Back to the daily quote:)
Also, pretty much the only systems installation Wichita did on the struts, the drain tubing installation, was arriving in various states of miss-assembly or disassembly, as it was being slapped together with no inspection at all, obviously, the defects were so obvious on receival. Example: NCR...
But, although I’m sure all of the aforesaid legitimate write-ups contributed to my banishment from the production floor, I am almost sure that the "straw that broke the camels back" was something that I never got a chance to write up due to my banishment. (Name), my supervisor at the time, had told (name) and I to let shop install high-heat (P/N) clamps and high heat fasteners, such as (P/N) bolts and related hardware in place of the drawing required (P/N) clamps and low heat fasteners, such as (P/N) bolts and related hardware, on the systems installations on the core side of the struts, while waiting for engineering to change the drawing. (A violation of the...BCAG Quality Assurance Directive...) A couple months went by, when on or around 5/1/2000, I got fed up with waiting for the drawing to change.
It seemed all the PSD inspectors of the time held onto the staunch, incorrect belief, that an inspector could not write a NCR on a drawing error. I had told you about the same incorrect belief that recently (my QA supervisor) had displayed. I had found a procedure...stated the use of Rejection Tags was O.K. where an ELR will not support the delivery schedule, such as was the case with the high heat hardware. I took the (procedure) to (my QA Lead) and showed him the section, and told him I knew it was wrong to just let shop install whatever they wanted without a drawing change, and that I was going to start writing NCRs on the drawings to make the changes legal, as I was tired of waiting for engineering to change the drawing. Later that day, or the next day, I believe within hours of when I talked to (my QA Lead), I saw (my QA supervisor), (another QA Lead), and I believe (my QA Lead) (my memory is fuzzy on that at this time), having an impromptu meeting at the western end of the 737 Value Team Cubicle Area. Whatever they were discussing, I wasn’t invited, obviously. Shortly after that, (my QA supervisor) called me into a meeting ((another QA lead), I believe, was also there) and told me that he was reassigning me to a project to come up with a new "process monitoring" procedure for PSD. I asked him why he selected me for the project. He said he selected me because I was "thorough."
The Last Inspector