This quote is also from my addendum (supplement) to my first report.
This part of my report starts detailing some of the many massive violations of Boeing's quality system I didn't have time to report in my original report.
My report, of course, did not detail every violation going on at Boeing in violation of FAA requirements that was possible for me to document, as I documented many times in my report that these noncompliances, though vast and systemic accross BCA, were only a symptom of the real root cause of those noncompliances, and that I wanted them fixed, but what I really wanted fixed was the root cause of those innumerable noncompliances--the corrupt BCA QA management that purposely let them happen to pad their own merit bonuses and Boeing's bottom line.
To do this, I told them, it would be necessary to file charges against individual managers and convict them to long terms in prison. Fining them personally would not work as a motivator for the remaining corrupt QA management that was not prosecuted to begin to really do their critical jobs. Boeing would just pay those fines for them, just as Boeing paid a Boeing pilot's fine imposed on the pilot by the FAA (the fine was about $30,000 I believe).
This was common talk at Boeing Flight Test where I was banished for the crime of trying to actually inspect critical airplane components--namely the engines that prevent them from being very heavy gliders, and the struts and strut systems that interfaced them to the wings.
Additional common talk at that time was what really went on in the crash of a restored Boeing aircraft (destined for the Smithsonian) in Elliott Bay next to Salty's on Alki, a local restaurant normally not accessible by such aircraft, and how the Boeing manager Flight Test personnel thought was responsible for the crash got away scott free, even keeping the job he had had before the crash.
Anyway, back to the subject--I told the FAA (not in so flowery language) that, after a few of these corrupt Boeing managers were thusly imprisoned, the prospect of being someone else's "bitch" in prison would make the remaining managers think twice before they followed their manager's wishes and told their inspectors to rollerstamp inspections as done when they were not done, and otherwise ignore FAA approved quality procedures in the hopes of getting a big bonus at the end of the year and/or to set themselves up for a promotion.
The other essential step I told the FAA would be required to restore the Boeing quality system would be to pull BCA's PC, shutting down production until the quality system was restored and rollerstamping inspectors were trained to actually inspect instead of rollerstamp.
However, as the FAA and Boeing are not independent as required, but instead in effect share the same bed as so many others have also observed, in the end the FAA chose to let the corruption I reported to them continue ad infinitum, at all costs, because ending that corruption would interfere with their job opportunities at Boeing after their retirement from the FAA, as well as expose their own complicity in that corruption:
New items to investigate that I didn’t have time to document in my prior letter:
34. Please investigate the certification of adjustable torque wrenches at BCAG. We are told to reset the wrenches at the engraved stop line or at 20% of the wrench capacity to relax the spring between uses so it does not take on a set and affect the accuracy of the wrench.
I believe that we were told not to use the bottom 20% of the torque wrench range when I worked in the Military Airplanes Division, and I have a Tip Sheet (I.D. #), Exhibit U attached, from Boeing Philadelphia Military Aircraft and Missile Systems Goup, that states in item 1 to not use the bottom 20% of the torque wrench range because that part of the range is impossible to calibrate.
If it is impossible for them to calibrate, then how would it be possible for BCAG to calibrate?
Also see the Exhibit V "Torque Wrench Checklist" Form (I.D. #) item 4, which states to not use the lower 20% of impulse feel torque wrenches and the lower 25% of screwdriver type torque wrenches. This is from the Boeing Guidance Repair Center. That requirement is apparently from USAF spec (spec number).
I was told by someone by email from the BCAG Torque Team that the whole torque range is calibrated and can be used, but cannot find this documented anywhere (see the Exhibit W email).
We’re not supposed to operate by word of mouth in the FAA-approved BCAG Quality Manual. Please investigate, and follow the documentation to arrive at a conclusion, do not believe simply what they tell you. Have the Cal-Cert lab prove to you that they certify every adjustable torque wrench/screwdriver to within the (percentage) maximum error allowed by (spec I.D.), for any setting that wrench/screwdriver can be set at, including the minimum and maximum settings indicated on the tool.
Some of the line inspectors at PSD, including me, have caught mechanics trying to set torque wrenches at ranges outside of the indicated ranges on the torque wrenches (by setting them to the minimum or maximum setting and then backing off, or ratcheting up the graduated handle, respectively, until they have rotated the handle the right amount of graduations to either subtract from or add to the indicated range and arrive at the torque value they want) during torque witness inspections because they didn’t have a wrench with the correct range immediately available, but that is another story (some of our "less competent" inspectors probably just let them do it. I’ve only heard about the cases when inspectors made them stop it, not the other way around, because the type of inspectors who wouldn’t question it won’t talk for obvious reasons).
That last aside emphasizes the requirement to be very specific and unambiguous in specifications, because if you leave something out because you think that nobody would ever be stupid enough to do that prohibited action, you will be proven the stupid one.
The maxim that if you can think of something, however outrageous it is, means that it has probably been actually done before, applies with mechanics as well.
Some inspectors and QA Management occasionally speak of not documenting processes, as we’ll just do it with "common sense." The only problem with that is that one person’s version of "common sense" rarely matches another person’s. It should be common sense not to set a torque wrench at a setting outside the minimum and maximum indicated settings, right? Wrong. It happens with BCAG mechanics at PSD, where they work on some of the most complex machines mankind has yet built!
Anyway, If BCAG’s use of the bottom 20% of the torque range is wrong, then write us up. Hundreds of thousands of improperly torqued bolts will be the result of this if BCAG cannot prove they certify the entire torque range, as other Divisions are unable to do.
Why did I not press this with my management? I think all my prior writings give you the answer. If I did, I would now be holding up a sign saying "God Bless" on a freeway off-ramp, trying to support my family.
If my suspicions are proven right on this, I hate to say it, but please revoke our PC, as it proves that not only Quality at BCAG is corrupt in overlooking this, but that our engineering specifications (like spec I.D.) were written by incompetents.
Everything may be fine with this, but inquiring minds would like to get a real answer on paper, not just a "yes, the entire range is certified" verbal answer from afar without any documentation references to prove it.
This just in:
I found a Flight Test Cal-Cert specification that seems to prove my suspicions right. See Exhibit X. In the "Performance Specification" section of the (I.D.) spec for the Snap-On torque wrench, it states that it only applies from 20% of full scale, to full scale, on the wrench. I couldn’t find the other BCAG Cal-Cert specs on the web. Please get them, then write us up for building products (doing critical and BAC torques) with uncertified equipment.
The Last Inspector