The verdict is in.
Followers of my blog will note that I stated in my February 9, 2010 blog that I expected an open investigation by the FAA to prove whether or not the FAA has reformed, or is still as corrupt as it ever was. Was the FAA still “taking bullets” for corrupt companies they are supposed to be independently and thoroughly overseeing for the safety of the public by only pretending to do their jobs? Were they still giving corrupt companies clean bills of health when witnesses to that corruption affecting public safety reported those companies' fraud to them for investigation, just as happened in the 2002/2003 “investigation” of Boeing per my report of QA Management fraud across the enterprise? Or had they reformed, now doing their jobs impartially and ethically?
Just a few days ago I learned the outcome of that investigation of my detailed report, and the news is not good for those that want any level of integrity of oversight of the commercial airplane industry by the FAA.
During their “investigation” of the noted detailed report, the FAA’s Transport Airplane Directorate (TAD) Management deliberately chose to not investigate and prove any of the numerous violations in the report. They deliberately chose to protect that company from a real investigation and enforcement action and instead chose to prove something they seem not to care anymore that the public knows—that they, the FAA, are themselves so corrupt that their future employment prospects and other benefits gained in industry after they leave the FAA are much more important to them than doing their jobs of protecting public safety that we entrusted them to do.
And the outcome of the noted just completed investigation proves that the FAA is even more corrupt than it was in 2002/2003, when they literally fought to intentionally ignore as many of the 382 violations at Boeing that I had reported to them as they could possibly get away with. They actually only investigated 8.05% of those specific, valid, and meticulously documented violations--only 31 items out of the 382. And those 31 items are probably an overly optimistic number (on my part) that they had investigated in any way. There was legitimate evidence I had that those 31 items had in fact been investigated by the FAA. The problem with even that low number of the 382 that the FAA investigated?--I only have evidence that those 31 were partially investigated. The true number that were actually completely investigated is some subset of those 31. And the number of those completely investigated serious violations that were actually fixed is even a smaller subset of that. So, in the end, what was the actual number of those 382 items that the FAA investigated and ensured were fixed? 8%? No. I have evidence of several of the noted items not being fully investigated. 7%? 6%? 5%? How many of the remaining were actually fixed by Boeing and verified by the FAA (the minimum requirement of corrective action (C/A))? 4%? 3%? 2%? You see where I am going. Did they actually investigate and ensure C/A for even 1% of the items I reported to them, many of which were safety critical items? That would be only 4 of the 382 items! The other 378 items the FAA would have never investigated and/or verified were fixed by Boeing.
Your guess is as good as mine. Were as many as 378 of the items never investigated or fixed? Or was it as few as 351 of those items that were never investigated or fixed? Is there really much difference between 351 and 378 of those (many safety critical) items never being investigated and fixed on most or all Boeing airplanes? The answer is actually a counter-intuitive "yes." Even one of the items I reported to the FAA being fixed could save many lives. Just one example item in my report was responsible for thousands of defects on Boeing in-production and delivered (that people were flying on) airplanes, with literally hundreds of critical defects per commercial jet.
In the end, however, they had to confirm several serious violations by Boeing from those 382 items to make their investigation look remotely believable, as they knew that I wouldn’t give up on trying to get them to do their safety critical jobs of investigating the Boeing QA Management fraud I witnessed. They did so reluctantly, as doing their jobs against a company as powerful and as "revolving door friendly" to former FAA Management as Boeing could easily nix their planned lucrative quid pro quo post FAA retirement jobs at Boeing.
This time they didn’t even put up the appearance of doing their jobs of investigating serious industry fraud that they had tried to do back then—they just denied any existence of the reported fraud--fraud that the person that sent them the report had described in detail, and which that person had witnessed first hand.
Troubling indeed. The Minerals Management Service (MMS) partially behind the recent mine disaster and the BP rig explosion and spilling of millions of gallons of crude in the Gulf is getting reformed. For some reason the FAA is getting a pass on reforming its corrupt ways, and is even sinking further into the abyss of “working together” FAA/industry corruption that negates their public safety mission.
It's interesting that the FAA “fell on its sword” and killed what little it might have had left of its integrity with the noted recently completed “investigation.” The corrupt company it concerned was minute compared to the size of Boeing. Conceivably, they wouldn’t have the pull with the FAA to get the same service Boeing gets as far as bogus investigations of whistleblower reports are concerned. However, much of their work was on Boeing parts, so maybe the FAA extended the courtesy to rig investigations for Boeing to them so that no discrepant Boeing parts shipped by the reported company to Boeing need be fixed and therefore slow down production at their future hoped for employer Boeing. Strange, but the report didn’t allege Boeing had anything to do with the corruption, or even knew they were intentionally being shipped defective parts by the company that was the subject of the report.
But I guess corrupt management at the FAA were just being extra accommodating to what they thought Boeing would want the investigation outcome to be, or they have extended their corruption deeper into the supplier base, hoping to enhance their employment prospects and other favors from industry after retiring from the FAA by doing so.
Eerily, a big part of the responsibility for the noted report nixed from being actually investigated fell on the same FAA employee, Christopher “Chris” Spangenberg, Manager of the eminently corrupt Boeing Certificate Management Office (CMO) at the TAD. Mr. Spangenberg played a big part in also nixing a real investigation of Paul Grauber's report to the FAA of QA fraud at his former employer (also a Boeing supplier).
Mr. Spangenberg rose to that position on January 4th of this year, replacing Jeff Kephart, who formerly provided such service for Boeing as head of the TAD’s Boeing CMO. Where Mr. Kephart went I do not know. Perhaps he was promoted in the FAA, actually retired, or left to cash in on his service with private industry. Tracking the revolving door at the base of FAA corruption is obviously a major interest of mine. Before Kephart, Kevin Mullin, who played a major role in nixing my report of Boeing QA Management fraud, had the position. If anyone knows where these people (or any other manager who has left the FAA) went after the FAA, please send me an email.
Perversely, corruption pays at the FAA. Others involved in nixing my report of Boeing QA Management corruption were Ali Bahrami, K C Yanamura, and Peggy Gilligan. All have been promoted since then.
Ali Bahrami now runs the eminently corrupt TAD, and he was responsible for overruling the FAA technical experts and allowing the 787 to be even more unsafe when struck by lightning than it already was just so Boeing could meet its dispatch reliability goals for the airplane. I have heard rumors that Bahrami was considering retirement at one time. If true, he likely postponed retirement in order to be the person to usher through the 787 to certification no matter how unsafe it is. Granting Boeing Type and Production Certificates would be pure gold to him after FAA retirement. Perhaps he did plan to retire earlier (when granting of Type and Production Certificates for the 787 were originally scheduled), but 787 Program delays have delayed that. Such a gift to Boeing would look great on his resume for a Boeing job post FAA retirement, however no resume or even a job application will likely be required when he leaves the FAA, just like the case of former FAA official Tom McSweeney.
You’ve got to wonder what kind of greed causes these people to throw public safety “under the airplane” for more money post-FAA retirement in quid pro quo jobs in industry that they served instead of the public. FAA Aviation Safety Inspector jobs (the lowest level in the TAD hierarchy) pay from 90-110 grand a year. Their managers make 110-130 grand a year. Spangenberg makes more than that. His pay range is up to 165 grand a year, I believe. Bahrami is at that level or much more. For any of us that were in the middle class, that level of pay seems like more than any normal person could want or need. But, for FAA Management, apparently it is not enough. Perhaps it is seeing some of the high level Boeing executive lifestyles that they see in the course of their jobs that makes them want the level of income to sustain that kind of lifestyle, a lifestyle just not possible, apparently, on a "meager" $200,000 a year federal FAA Management job plus great benefits.
The TAD is more corrupt than ever. As of this moment. They just proved it themselves. As a consequence, the 787 will be the first uncertified commercial airplane to be produced, as the TAD is “overseeing” and “certifying” the 787 Type and Production Certificates.
Those certificates will be meaningless as far as certifying the safety or conformity of the 787, for, as I wrote in the previously noted blog about Paul Grauber:
“A certificate certifying integrity given by an agency without any integrity has no integrity.”
Consequently every 787 flight in service will be an experimental flight, and all passengers and crew on board will be in far more danger than they would be on any other airplane, even assuming each airplane built was inspected properly to quality, safety, and reliability requirements (which none will be absent the corrupt FAA reforming the ongoing Boeing QA Management corruption detailed on this site, which is as likely as the sun not coming up tomorrow).
If you ever wanted to be a flight test pilot, and feel the danger and thrill as you fly an untested, uncertified, largely uninspected airplane though its paces, just book a flight on a 787 when it enters service. They won’t let you handle the controls, but you can experience that “thrill” by just being on board one of those experimental flights, brought to you courtesy of Boeing/FAA corruption.
A comment on this blog entry by David Padilla:
My name is David Padilla. I worked at the Ridley Park, Pennsylvania IDS (Integrated Defense Systems).
I was wrongly fired from my job on June 17, 2009. All the policies and procedures which Boeing runs their company by were not followed. I could not have any representation present and I was not allowed to contact Human Resources.
My supervisor gave me a 30-day review and I was not allowed to touch and read the review he wrote. He kept the papers covered with his hand and then insisted that I sign it. I refused to sign it without reading it and he also refused to give me a copy of the review. My rights were violated. Managers are responsible for creating an open and honest environment in which employees feel comfortable in bringing issues forward. Retaliation against employees who raise genuine concerns will not be tolerated. I could not trust Darec Alliston, my supervisor, due to the fact that he was doing the same as the rest of the employees.
The day of orientation when I was hired HR was there and said if by any chance you have problems with a supervisor for retaliation of any reports, then we need to report it. When I did report that employees were breaking policy, I got retaliation from the department I worked in, fellow employees and supervisor. They proceeded to name call, referring to my Latin nationality "wet back," and calling me stupid and slow, referring to my disability. I went out on medical leave due to all the harassment I was receiving. I brought this to HR's attention and nothing was done. When I came back from medical leave on 6/17/09, I was terminated at 12:30 p.m. No paperwork was given to me at the time of termination. My probation had not been met yet due to medical leave.
When I was in the hospital, Ted Moore kept in touch with my wife, Pamela. He assured her that my position was secured and I would still have a job when I got out of the hospital. He told her this more than once. He also stated that I was doing an excellent job for Boeing and not to worry, just get better. This was after the 30 days I had been employed.
I feel I was discriminated against and I would like to have an internal investigation on the matter. I notified the union UAW 1069, Tony Forte.
There are a lot of employees in this organization that abuse the company time and property. If you check e-mails in Supervisor Darec Alliston's crew, you will find evidence of non-work related videos and web sites. I did report this and I was retaliated against.
Attached you will find reports of what I turned in to Human Resources. I work slow because of disability, Please review and let me know if you have any questions.
I have a lot more information on this matter if you wish to contact me, please feel free to do so.
The Last Inspector