Brave Boeing QA Manager Whistleblower Comes Forward, Exposing that in a 787 Hull Breach, Only 75% of Passengers' Oxygen Masks May Work.
"Mitch," a brave whistleblower from Boeing QA Management has contacted me about several QA issues he witnessed in his Boeing management role--issues he was retaliated against by his management for trying to fix.
This whistleblower's first revelation revealed publicly anywhere is, that if you or your loved ones fly on any Boeing 787, you only have approximately a 75% chance of surviving in an emergency if you require emergency oxygen.
That's right. Approximately 25% of 787 passenger oxygen bottles will likely fail and not give you oxygen in an in flight emergency, as the squib/firing pin that fires to release oxygen to your mask that drops down won't fire and release life preserving oxygen through the tubing to your mask. So if a depressurization occurs as happened with the Southwest 737 yesterday killing a woman occurs at altitude, you have approximately a 25% chance of injury or death by asphyxiation on a 787.
And, if you are unfortunate enough to be on a 787 during an in flight emergency requiring oxygen masks and you are unlucky enough to be in a seat served by one of the defective "dud" oxygen bottles whose squib doesn't fire and release oxygen, you won't be injured or die alone. The passenger(s) next to you will die of asphyxia or be brain damaged from lack of oxygen at the same time, as there aren't individual oxygen bottles for every 787 passenger.
According to the Boeing QA Management Whistleblower, Each PSU (Passenger Service Unit, which is above your head when you are seated, where your lights, fasten seat belt indicator, and A/C nozzles also are on most airplanes) oxygen bottle serves 3 passengers in most cases. There were several different bottle sizes and types that had their squibs fail to fire when tested by Boeing.
The Boeing QA Management Whistleblower is not sure of all the other places these discrepant oxygen bottles are used, but they are mostly used in the PSU’s for passengers, they believe. However it is possible that the pilots' and flight attendants' oxygen bottles may be affected as well. Here is a picture of the 787 PSU showing the usually hidden passenger oxygen bottle that are unlikely to give passengers oxygen in approximately 1 out of 4 cases:
Boeing QA Management Whistleblower Mitch's disclosure here should give pause to any flier considering flying on Boeing 787s, at least until this specific safety threat is finally investigated, fixed, and the fix is ultimately verified.
So, as noted above, don't count on the person next to you on a 787 having a non-defective and working oxygen mask when your defective oxygen bottle doesn't release oxygen. That's the kind of fate no one sane wants to share with anyone else.
For the past 2 years, Boeing has known that at least 25% of the Passenger Emergency Oxygen bottles in the Passenger Service Units (PSUs) above the passenger seats on 787s will not operate in the event of an emergency.
The whistleblower's group at the time, Boeing MRSA (Material Review Segregation Area, which is where QA keeps defective or suspected to be defective parts and assemblies to ensure they can't be taken by Manufacturing and installed on airplanes until they are reworked/repaired, as they sometimes are at Boeing if not locked up. Sometimes they are even taken without authorization when they are locked up in such cages) discovered during a discharge of oxygen bottles in 2016 that 25% of the squibs on the O2 bottles failed to fire as designed when the activation electrical charge was applied.
The squibs did not fire so there was no oxygen released. After Boeing failed to take action to determine the root cause and correct the fleet after almost a year, the Boeing QA Manager Whistleblower reported this safety concern to the FAA and OSHA via a Whistleblower complaint.
Thus far, no actions have been taken to correct this safety issue, and QA Manager Mitch's career at Boeing has been destroyed by his Boeing Quality Leadership for his insistence on following Boeing's FAA approved QA procedures in his attempts to assure the safety of the flying public by fixing this and other safety issues.
According to the FAA, Boeing Everett reported a higher failure rate than Boeing South Carolina did, but yet, the flying public remains unaware and are being left in harms way by Boeing, the FAA and OSHA.
This brave whistleblower has ample documentation to support this particular safety concern, as well as other safety issues. Here is the text minus identifying info of their Whistleblower complaint to the FAA:
December 13, 2017
DOT - FAA
1601 Lind Ave. SW
Aircraft Certificate Service
Systems Oversite Division
Renton Wa, 98057-3356
Dear ( FAA name),
As you may recall, I filed case (case number) with the FAA against The Boeing Co. In my initial complaint, I disclosed a safety concern dealing with the emergency oxygen equipment on the 787s. In my most recent complaint, (case number), I provided information regarding (another 787 safety issue).
It appears that the oxygen issue was not identified properly nor investigated. Next is a quick history that explains my concern. In an effort to dispose of damaged PSU panels and other panels that contained oxygen supply equipment, we (MRSA) separated the plastic panels from the oxygen supply systems (metal) in order to send the parts to separate reclamation locations. In dealing with the oxygen supply equipment, we were required to discharge the pressurized oxygen bottles in order to send them off to reclamation.
During the discharge process in (Boeing Area) (July 2016), it was discovered that 25% of the squibs responsible for releasing the oxygen did not activate (fire). There were 300 oxygen bottles of varying sizes and shapes that we needed to discharge. Out of those 300, 75 squibs (25%) did not discharge when activated by the equipment. The discharge equipment was set up to mimic the airplane.
The 75 squibs that did not fire were removed from the oxygen bottles and were quarantined in MRSA (August 2016) for failure analysis. The failure analysis has never been performed and no corrective actions have been taken to correct in-service airplanes. When I left, the separated defective squibs were still located in the “explosives” area in MRSA.
There were an additional 200 PSU panels and oxygen bottle assemblies quarantined in MRSA for failure analysis and testing. I am aware the local FAA located the 200 oxygen bottles and panels in MRSA due to my initial complaint, but only wrote them up for not being marked correctly for scrap, they missed the fact that they were the ones set aside for failure analysis. No action has been taken to determine why the squibs are failing and no actions have been taken to insure the flying public is safe.
My concern is that Boeing has had data for well over a year that shows 25% of the emergency oxygen bottles currently in service will not operate in the event of an emergency. So far it has been ignored and gone unaddressed. I feel it is imperative the defective squibs not go unaddressed any longer. I wanted to make you aware of my concern in hopes that you can help drive the appropriate actions to assure the aircraft being delivered and those that have already been delivered are safe.
I believe Boeing’s failure to properly address known defective emergency equipment and knowingly leaving the flying public at risk should be reviewed as well.
Attached, please find supporting documents.
(Boeing QA Management Whistleblower)
Cc: (Two names)
End of whistleblower complaint.
The FAA has so far not acted to eliminate this 787 safety threat per the Boeing QA Manager Whistleblower. Because of his concern that 787 passengers and perhaps even crews are in danger of dying or being injured in a 787 depressurizing event at altitude, he has decided to go public with this so far unaddressed safety threat here at this time.
I submitted a FOIA today to the FAA requesting all of their records on this serious safety issue. When I receive anything in response from the FAA is anyone's guess. Just like Boeing, they seem to hate showing their dirty laundry, so to speak, without an act of Congress. I'll keep you posted as time goes on.
The above document unfortunately shows what I experienced when I went to the FAA with my whistleblower report of QA management driven fraud throughout Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Reporting anything to the FAA is exactly the same as reporting it to Boeing management itself, and is just as ineffective, in my experience.
In fact, this Boeing QA Management Whistleblower told me that another worker at Boeing reported to him that they had found his FAA whistleblower complaint above on top of a Boeing printer. Whomever at the FAA gave this QA Manager whistleblower's complaint to Boeing management should be terminated, at a minimum, IMO.
Boeing QA Manager Whistleblower Mitch insisted on trying to have the defective squibs analyzed for failure analysis and all the appropriate actions taken to assure the fleet was corrected and the flying public was safe, but rather than getting the support he requested from his Boeing QA management, he was removed from the investigation and the investigation was stopped.
And, this may just be the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully this will get the reliability of all oxygen bottles/generators looked into on all Boeing models in service. Considering the importance of these oxygen bottles and generators to prolonging life in an emergency, you would think there would be some robust oversight of the reliability of them by the FAA and/or Boeing. As this case shows, that is obviously not the case. If it was, the FAA and Boeing would have the ongoing test data to prove that these oxygen bottles/generators are reliable to the degree such life saving equipment should be, in the very high 99th percentile.
A Boeing apologist on the Facebook post of this blog actually wrote that passenger and flight attendant oxygen masks functionality isn't a concern, as the pilots would always detect a hull breach at altitude, immediately don their own oxygen masks, then immediately dive to an altitude to where others on the plane can breath without supplementary oxygen.
This is false. That isn't what actually happens in real world hull breach situations:
In 1999, a Learjet 35 with two pilots and four passengers on board, operated by SunJet Aviation, stopped responding to air traffic controllers enroute from Orlando, Florida to Dallas, Texas. An F-16 fighter was dispatched to intercept the Learjet about an hour and a half after departure, and found it unresponsive to radio communication. The jet looked undamaged, but the windows seemed to be dark and blocked with ice or condensation, and no flight control surfaces moved as if a pilot was controlling them. The fighter pilot had to go back to their Air Force Base.
About three hours into the Learjet's flight, two additional F-16 fighters intercepted it, and found the exact same situation the first F-16 pilot had found. They had to break contact and refuel. About 40 minutes later, two more F-16s were dispatched, along with the two refueled F-16s, and they followed it until it ran out of fuel and spiraled down, having to leave because the fighters were at their limit of endurance just before it crashed. It impacted at near supersonic speed just outside Mina, South Dakota, killing all on board.
The NTSB investigation found that the probable cause of the accident was incapacitation of the flight crew members as a result of their failure to receive supplemental oxygen following a loss of cabin pressurization, for undetermined reasons. In addition to the deaths of the two pilots and three passengers, Payne Stewart, the famous golfer, died in the accident.
In 2000, a chartered Beechcraft Super King Air with one pilot and seven passengers on board, departed Perth, Western Australia, enroute to Leonora, Western Australia.
During the flight, the aircraft climbed above its assigned altitude. When air traffic control (ATC) contacted the pilot, the pilot's speech had become significantly impaired and he was unable to respond to instructions. Three aircraft intercepted the Beechcraft but were unable to make radio contact. The aircraft continued flying on a straight heading for five hours before running out of fuel and crashing South-East of Burketown, Western Australia. The accident became known in the media as the "Ghost Flight".
A subsequent investigation concluded that the pilot and passengers had become incapacitated and had been suffering from hypoxia, a lack of oxygen to the body, making the pilot unable to operate the aircraft.
The last and most similar to a possible 787 hypoxia induced crash is that of the 2005 crash of Helios Airways Flight 522, a Boeing 737-300 flight enroute from Larnaca, Cyprus to Prague, Czeck Republic.
All 121 people on board, consisting of both pilots, four other crew members, and 155 passengers, including 22 children, died in the crash. All recovered body autopsies showed that the passengers and crew were alive on impact, and many burned alive in the crash. Three bodies were never recovered.
It was found that a ground maintenance engineer had left the pressurization system in "manual" mode after a pressurization check after inspection for a possible leak in the right aft service door, when it should have been set back to "auto" mode after the inspection.
As the 737-300 climbed, the pressure inside the cabin gradually decreased. As it passed through an altitude of 12,040 feet, the cabin altitude warning horn sounded. The warning should have prompted the crew to stop climbing, but it was misidentified by the crew as a take-off configuration warning, which signals that the aircraft is not ready for take-off, and can only sound on the ground.
Shortly after the cabin altitude warning sounded, the captain radioed the Helios operations center and reported "the take-off configuration warning on" and "cooling equipment normal and alternate off line". He then spoke to the same ground engineer that had left the pressurization system in "manual" mode and repeatedly stated that the "cooling ventilation fan lights were off". The ground engineer asked "Can you confirm that the pressurization panel is set to AUTO?" However, the captain, already experiencing the onset of hypoxia's initial symptoms, disregarded the question and instead asked in reply, "Where are my equipment cooling circuit breakers?". That was the last communication with the aircraft.
Two hours and 14 minutes into the flight, two Greek F-16s were dispatched to intercept the 737-300. They intercepted it and observed that the first officer was slumped motionless at the controls and the captain's seat was empty. They also reported that oxygen masks were dangling in the passenger cabin.
25 minutes later, a flight attendant, Andreas Prodromou, entered the cockpit and sat down in the captain's seat, having remained conscious by using a portable oxygen supply. Prodromou held a UK Commercial Pilot License, but was not qualified to fly the Boeing 737. Crash investigators concluded that Prodromou's experience was insufficient for him to gain control of the aircraft under the circumstances. Prodromou waved at the F16s very briefly, but almost as soon as he entered the cockpit, the left engine flamed out due to fuel exhaustion and the plane left the holding pattern and started to descend. Ten minutes after the loss of power from the left engine, the right engine also flamed out, and just before 12:04 the aircraft crashed into hills near Grammatiko, Greece, 25 miles from Athens, killing all 121 passengers and crew on-board.
It is quite amazing that Boeing, a manufacturer of at least one commercial airplane that tragically crashed killing all on board because of hypoxia of the pilots and others possibly capable of taking over flying the plane, treats oxygen bottle and oxygen generator functionality so cavalierly as in the 787 "one in four oxygen bottles is a dud" situation described above. Extreme negligence on the part of Boeing, indeed.
Boeing had to separate the "loss of oxygen" idiot light in the cockpit from the same idiot light being used for a relatively minor fault as a result of this crash.
So, as can be seen from all of these airplane crashes, things don't always happen the way the Boeing apologists think they should in such incidents, with deadly results. That's why the pilots, the rest of the crew, and the passengers deserve functioning oxygen bottles/generators in a hull breach like occurred in the noted Southwest Airlines incident.
Another incident that shows what can happen when emergency equipment like the noted 787 passenger/crew oxygen bottles not functioning in an emergency happened only three days ago on an American Airlines flight from Hawaii to South Carolina, with a planned stop at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
American Airlines passenger Brittany Oswell died after the flight, during which she suffered an embolism and went into cardiac arrest, according to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the airline by Oswell's husband and parents.
The suit alleges that Oswell began to feel unwell while the flight was near Los Angeles and fainted after becoming disoriented and slurring her speech. A doctor who was a passenger on the flight talked to Oswell after she regained consciousness and determined she was having a panic attack, the suit alleges.
According to the suit, within three hours of the doctor's initial conversation, Oswell vomited and defecated on herself in the bathroom. The doctor then examined Oswell and told flight attendants to let the flight crew know it should land the plane at the nearest airport so Oswell could receive further medical attention.
Brad Cranshaw, the attorney representing Oswell's husband and parents, told The State that the doctor asked for an emergency landing three times, but the flight crew never attempted one.
The lawsuit alleges the doctor tried to use medical equipment on the plane, but the equipment didn't work properly. Oswell's breathing and pulse stopped about five minutes after the doctor went to the cockpit to speak with the pilot, according to the suit, which says the doctor then made three unsuccessful attempts to use a defibrillator on Oswell.
Oswell was taken to Baylor Medical Center after the plane landed in Dallas-Fort Worth, where she was diagnosed with brain damage and an embolism. Oswell was removed from life support and declared dead three days later.
As the suit alleges, because the defribrillator malfunctioned, the woman died because of severe brain damage, whereas if the defribrillator was tested regularly and functional on the flight, she would have had a real chance of survival. The refusal of the pilots to make an emergency landing was a separate issue that reduced her chances of survival still further.
This is a real life present day example of why you can’t compromise when it comes to emergency life supporting equipment like the emergency medical equipment on this American Airlines plane and the oxygen bottles on 787s.
During an emergency, it’s too late to find out the equipment your life depends on doesn’t work. You are dead. Boeing and the FAA can make all the excuses they want, but at the end of the day, they have solid objective evidence as noted above showing 25% of the 787 oxygen bottles don’t work when tested.
Instead of taking it seriously, Boeing and the FAA seem to be working very hard to minimize this safety issue and sweep it under the carpet. They have 75 squib/oxygen bottle assemblies that were pulled straight from stock that failed to function as designed.
Instead of taking 3 or 4 days to analyze the 75 failed squibs and make a solid, provable conclusion, Boeing would apparently rather spend two years (and counting) trying to “make it go away” and justify their actions for not taking action on the 787 passenger safety issue.
This is not only a violation of countless processes and procedures, but it is a violation of the public's trust in both Boeing and the FAA to do the right thing when safety issues like these arrise.
The public rightly expects all emergency equipment to work, without question. Knowing there is this so far uninvestigated question with the 787 oxygen bottles should be enough for Boeing to do their due diligence in making sure there is not an issue that could cost up to 60 to 70 lives or brain damaged passengers per decompression event, per airplane. But, apparently in the interest of Boeing’s profitability, this issue has so far gone unaddressed. Apparently Boeing continues to justify its lack of action with cost concerns instead of doing its due diligence in finding the root cause of these failures and ensuring they cannot recur in an in-flight emergency. There is absolutely no excuse for this issue to have gone this long without action, period.
The 787 is the first program to use the oxygen bottle/squib combination for emergency oxygen support for passengers. The other Boeing airplane programs have different types of systems, i.e. the 777 uses oxygen generators, 747 used compressed gas tanks at one time. All have different requirements and are activated in different ways.
On the 787, the oxygen bottle/squib assemblies are for passenger use only. The Pilots and Flight Attendants have their own separate oxygen supply that they turn on by a manual valve, not by a squib. Some are portable tanks that allows them to move around and assist a few individual passengers that need oxygen for whatever reason, without having to activate the entire system as would be needed in a hull breach.
So, the passengers and the flight crew are serviced by different systems. However, as seen above, the pilots aren't always able to get their masks on in a depressurization event. But even if one does, and the plane is still under the control of an alert pilot, if 25% of the passengers are found dead or brain damaged after the landing, can such a landing be considered a success? Obviously not.
Even if the noted suspect passenger oxygen bottle/squib combinations went through all of the required approvals, testing, and certifications that they must go through to be approved for use on 787s, they went through those steps initially, 7 to 15 years ago. But it doesn’t just end there. Over time, other influences come into play at the manufacturers, like process revisions, management changes, employee changes, etc. It can’t be a “one and done” process, as this case shows. Periodic retesting must be done, especially when they fail as often as is noted above.
These 787 oxygen bottle failures are rightly a major concern of Boeing Quality Manager Whistleblower Mitch, who reported them to the FAA, and then to me when that effort apparently failed. It also a major concern of mine now, as well.
"Mitch," the Boeing QA Manager Whistleblower, prays that we don’t wake up one morning to headlines about how 787 passengers died and/or were brain damaged from lack of an emergency oxygen supply, like the sad news of the woman that just died because the American Airlines emergency medical equipment didn’t work.
Mitch's sole purpose in his Boeing life as a Quality Manager was to assure that the airplanes Boeing delivered to the public are safe in all aspects, not just in a particular area. Such ethics driven QA Managers are not tolerated at Boeing, as Mitch's case and other QA Managers' cases have shown. He has suffered severe retribution from his Boeing management because he fought trying to protect all of us in the flying public.
Never in Mitch's decades at Boeing has he seen such disregard by the Boeing Quality Leadership in assuring the planes being built and delivered are safe. This 787 oxygen bottle failure rate issue is just one of many issues and concerns he has with Boeing Quality Leadership. There are more that are just as concerning, if not more so, that I will detail here soon.
I am so thankful that Mitch, the brave Boeing QA Manager Whistleblower, decided to turn to me for support in getting this existing deadly serious (literally) safety issue addressed and corrected.
Share this post with everyone you know and love. It is critical that you warn your friends and loved ones to avoid flying on Boeing 787s until this serious safety threat is actually investigated and ended.
This yet again proves that you, the taxpayer and air traveler is not being served by the FAA, as you are required to be by the law. As Boeing management has long ago regulatory captured the FAA you actually pay for, it is Boeing that controls the FAA, not you or your so called representatives in the Federal Government. Write them anyway, and ask them to investigate and end the puppet relationship of the FAA to their Boeing management puppeteers so there can finally be assurance that safety issues like this will always be investigated and fixed.
Remember to share this with any of your friends and loved ones, especially if they have booked travel on a 787 or are considering doing so. They may well breathe much easier if you do so. Certainly much easier than they will potentially breathe in a 787 emergency requiring oxygen masks to actually function.
On a different issue, longtime site visitors may want to know that I have finally become a President and CEO of a corporation! Not exactly my goal in life, but the corruption at Boeing and the FAA that I witnessed kind of forced me (as any ethical person would be) to do so in furtherance of this unusual personal hobby of mine.
I am President and CEO of the Foundation Against Roller Stamping Fraud (FARS-Fraud.org for short, and very much less funny sounding, and more relevant as well, as the fraud at Boeing and the FAA that I expose is fraud against the Federal Aviation Regulations, or FARS for short), which you can visit at www.farsfraud.org right now, if you wish. It's just a stub site now that I started only to get public donations for my FOIA requests of the FAA and other agencies, as well as website costs and social media advertising costs to get this information in front of as many air travelers as possible.
All you will see there now is the propriety logo of the site, taken from the "Post-Its From the Edge page," and the "What is Rollerstamping" page, the Briggs and Stratton powered rollerstamp that my corrupt QA Lead at Boeing used to brag that he used to buy off unlimited production records in record time for any corrupt Boeing QA Inspector/Lead or Boeing QA Manager. He is retired now, but his metaphorical lawnmower engine powered rollerstamp still lives on as an icon for all Boeing QA fraud, past and future, here and on the noted Foundation page. It is just an idea at this point, not yet realized, that quite likely may never be followed through on. I just love the irony that I am President and CEO of my own corporation, exposing the fraud of other Presidents and CEOs of corrupt gigantic corporations like Boeing and their Vast Network of Fraud supplier network.
I will never use any money raised by the Foundation for personal use, if I ever complete the site. It has probably cost me more money than I will ever raise through it for FOIA and website costs anyway. The FARS-Fraud Foundation will not be limited to Boeing and their FAA's various frauds. It will be used to expose Boeing's Vast Network of Fraud as well, such as General Electric/CFM, whose engine's defect killed a lady yesterday as noted.
At one time when I was allowed to inspect 737 CFM engines on receival at Boeing in my job as a Precision Assembly Inspector at Boeing's later absorbed into Everett and Renton Propulsion Systems Division, most of them had obvious defects that I wrote up, even serious ones such as missing safety devices and missing core section attachment bolts.
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You don't have to enter your name or contact info if you want to remain anonymous to me for some reason. I'm especially interested in hearing about your own experiences with Boeing and/or FAA fraud, or their other crimes, ethical breaches, or other type of misconduct.
The Last Inspector