Interesting Email I Sent to the FAA in Mid-2002 When it Looked Like the FAA Would Investigate Boeing Corruption Per My 5/02 Report, But FAA and Boeing Corruption Ultimately Prevailed
The following email was to Tim Vranna, who at the time was the managing "Senior Aviation Safety Inspector" who worked just under Kevin Mullin, at the time the FAA's Northwest Regional Manufacturing Inspection District Office Manager. "Ms. Lipski," was Vi Lipski, at the time Manager of the Transport Airplane Directorate, above Mr. Mullin.
From: GERRY EASTMAN
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 11:14 PM
Subject: Letter request.
During our last phone conversation you requested a copy of the letter I received from FAA headquarters. You will find it attached. The signature on the letter is of Margaret Gilligan, Deputy Associate Administrator for Regulation & Certification, for Nicholas A. Sabatini, Associate Administrator for Regulation & Certification (see website www.faa.gov/avr/ if you have not associated with them in the past and you would like more information on their piece of the FAA pie). As you can see, the issue to be investigated is "your concerns of the (sic) Quality Assurance Management at the Boeing Company Commercial Airplane Group." In my letter to Administrator Garvey, I made it very clear that my concerns were about the Quality Assurance Management corruption at BCAG, not so much the havoc that corruption has caused to the BCAG Quality System, although that damage too must be documented and remedied, along with the management corruption that caused it. Hopefully your investigation is following those lines. My meeting with Tom Nakamichi on 1/11 and my email to Soheila Khosravani, among many other things in my report bear out that my allegations you confirmed were not simple oversights by an incompetent management, but were intentional acts in violation of the law to "create more value" (make more money for Boeing's bottom line by defrauding our customers and you) via noncompliance with inspection requirements to be performed on our safety critical products.
Regarding our last phone conversation, I still reiterate that I do not believe any sabotage of our Quality System by BCAG QA Management should be considered a "trade secret" and therefore kept out of your report to me. Crimes can never be considered "trade secrets" in my view. You, the FAA, has the power to make both Airbus and Boeing play to the same rules--and those rules should be all above board and non-criminal. And they should especially not be criminal behavior, as I have detailed in my report, that results in possible past and future loss of many lives. I reiterate my staunch belief that individuals must pay heavy criminal and civil penalties for such QA Management corruption. That is the only way, If BCAG QA Management is left in place, to make QA Managers think twice before they similarly sabotage the QA System for profit again.
I realize it is difficult to investigate the very people that you may have had very amiable personal relationships with before my report. It is difficult to put aside feelings that "such a nice person" could have been lying to you all of the time when they told you they were doing their best to fix your concerns, when in reality they were dragging their feet on reforms while other QA Management was at work trying to hobble the BCAG QA System further for "value." But past relationships must be put aside and the pure, hard data, like I have presented to you, looked at to find the truth in your investigation. I know how hard that can be. I had not wanted to believe the reality I have lived every day in the corrupt BCAG Quality System until Tom thrust that System in my face to view in all its unholy glory.
You might have wondered what experiences I have had while at Flight Test, across the street from PSD. You might have wondered if being in a different area of the BCAG QA System might have changed my belief, drawn from past personal experiences, that the BCAG QA System's corruption is systemic, across all of BCAG. If I was asked, "Has your past experience of systemic BCAG Quality System corruption been debunked by your transfer to Flight Test Inspection," I would not be able to say no, but I would have to say "hell no!" My desk is stationed in the Flight Test Lead office, a perfect position to keep track of the health of the Flight Test Quality System. And what I have heard in my short time there is not pretty, in the least. This is only the few things I can remember off the top of my head:
1. Engine runs are not being added to the Engine Logs (in effect, Boeing is lying about how much time is on the engines because of this). It is not a great amount of time, I guess, that an engine is tested on the ground, but I'm sure it adds up, especially on long test programs, or troubleshooting or testing engines on production aircraft (737 N2 tone comes to mind).
2. Shop routinely begins work before removals, work sheets, and NCM NCOs are written. When I said something about some struts I heard had been worked on without paper to authorize the work, an Airworthiness Inspector in the opposite cubicle said "Get over it. This is Flight Test."
3. When NT386 came in from Renton, apparently the pilots left the antiskid system off, burning up some tires on landing. During the troubleshooting and rework of that, a rudder message appeared on the maintenance display. It was checked out, and found to be a "hand tight" bolt in the rudder PCU system. I believe they also found a similar hand tight bolt in the Aileron system, also, on the supposedly fully inspected, flyable airplane. I know, and you probably know, that this is not the first instance of its kind on Renton roller stamped products.
4. (Name), Airworthiness Inspector, said that his counterparts in Everett were allowing shop to do work without work sheets, and that "they would really be fucked" (his words) if you audited them.
5. You'd think these Airworthiness Inspectors would know what the hell they were doing, considering almost all of them have at least fifteen years with the Company. However, it seems not a day goes by when I don't hear them arguing between each other or among shifts as to what is the correct way to do their jobs, which they should know by now. It's the same old thing Tom told us about--"crews tearing themselves apart," with the inspectors who still believe in their jobs (like me) and the inspectors who don't care how or if they do their jobs (the ones that QA Management is on the side of) sparring, with QA Management rooting for the "roller stamper" team. Do they step in and help the good QA in the fight as they ethically should? Hell no. They laugh on the sidelines as they watch inspectors like me get beaten up. A day or two ago it was the laughably simple subject of whether to write NCRs or REOs on BBJs. They kept arguing whether it was a delivered airplane or not. Eventually they found out it was still a Boeing airplane, even if BBJ had possession of it. So they had been writing REOs on BBJs apparently for quite some time, in error, as it was not a repair station airplane yet.
6. The QA Supervisor's main function at Flight Test seems to be to make sure there is not too many inspectors per airplane, which is the QA Supervisor's main trick to keep inspectors from really inspecting the airplane. They always seem shorthanded, and they loan out inspectors to Everett or Spares at the earliest opportunity to keep their headcount down. Of course, as always, inspection supervision is only concerned about how many hours an inspector spends on an airplane, not whether the inspector has enough time to inspect the jobs adequately. Once again, they are not doing their jobs, but only their boss's, Manufacturing Supervision's jobs, in only ensuring hourly beancount forecasts are not exceeded, and not ensuring their real jobs, ensuring Quality, are done. Like production QA, Flight Test QA spends more time trying to get rid of their inspectors than ensuring they do their jobs. Like self inspection in production QA, Flight Test QA Management is spending their time formulating schemes to get rid of the useless roller stamping inspectors after they trained them that way. It's something called "AML" and I don't know much about it.
7. (Name), A 34 year Boeing employee constantly gripes about what QA Management is doing to the former integrity of the QA Department, lamenting that "they have taken our power away to do anything." I guess he means that QA has become nothing more than a shell department that only looks like it is overseeing the work of Manufacturing. We have no power to actually do our jobs. I know that well. You know what happened to me when I tried to do my job. He is a mine of information.
8. Wonder of wonders! It is so uncanny how PSD was just a perfect example of the corruption of the rest of BCAG's Quality System. Guess what? The first two, and so far the only (they haven't called me back again yet (funny, that)) composite repair I have inspected at NBF (North Boeing Field) resulted in me having to write two FRR supplements for, guess what--insufficient cure of the parts! They were undercooked a full 30 minutes I believe, among other defects in the cure, and I could tell by the composite technician's reaction that no one had written up a discrepant cure before, just like at PSD!
So, I guess I'll leave it at that for now. As I said in my original 49 page report, I could go on forever about such items if I really tried to remember everything that happened recently, but I'll stop for now.
Feel free to call me on the cell phone, or any of the multiple other ways I gave you to contact me. I hope, in our last phone conversation, that your only investigating my "specific allegations" that were contrary to a specific FAA requirement did not mean you were giving yourself an out from investigating the items in my report that may require extra effort on your part to investigate. Remember, even though the FAA perhaps does not require a reallocation letter on engines or Unit Issue items, the FAA does require that we build our airplanes per type design, which lack of such reallocation letters would jeopardize. Also, I think I, and the public, deserve an unbiased and thorough investigation regardless of what you think of me or BCAG QA Managers personally. Let the chips fall where they may. The days of promoting the U.S Aviation Industry are over. Safety of the public is now our chief concern.
In a meeting a few months ago at PSD, Tom said that you were close to pulling our PC. That kind of shocked me, as it obviously had nothing to do with my report at that time. I trust, if that was true, that with your investigation of my report, that such drastic action can at least be done in PSD's case while you are investigating the rest of BCAG with what you have learned in your investigation to confirm it's systemic proportions. Shutting PSD down for several weeks while its Quality System is reconstructed from scratch and put under ethical management will definitely get the attention of the entire BCAG Management team, especially if you do not allow them to shift the work elsewhere.
I still think I deserve the chance to review Scott Peterson's responses to your letter confirming items in my report to give my opinion on the validity and appropriateness of their accusations/corrective actions. Please let me know when that opportunity comes. Please share this with Ms. Lipski as you think appropriate.
The Last Inspector