As sadly noted in the title above, the Second to Last (Boeing) Inspector is dead.
I have been going through my email as I occasionally do and reaching out to people that have contacted me through this website that I haven't heard from in a while.
One Boeing inspector I had communicated with was the self named "Second (to) Last Inspector." My email to him bounced back as undeliverable. I googled him to see if I could reach him in another way, thinking he changed his email address. Sadly, I found his obituary instead. The Second to Last Inspector had died. One less good guy in the inspection ranks at Boeing, I thought. What little is left of Boeing's quality system took another hit. Not to mention a good man of the community gone as well, with so many deplorable people still amongst us today. Both Boeing and America had lost a force for good. Sad.
In honor of this good man and patriot, I wanted to share the first email he sent me, minus identifying info of course:
email subject line: "thesecondlastinspector"
(Name) here. I started in 19XX as a QA inspector in Everett on the 747.
Spent XX 1/2 years there, then got laid off in 20XX. X years as a Union Steward there. Then called back to Renton 737 wings X years ago. Prior to that worked as a (Industry) Inspector at (city), (state).
I presently work 737 wing laydown in Renton as QA, and once again as a Union Steward. I see and live what you talk about everyday.
I learned to collect the Union Steward role for the area I'm working in long long ago, for the simple fact if you do your job like we are supposed to do you'll be "moved". Hell, it happened here to a lady inspector who was hanging "too much tape" just two weeks ago.
I'm a total asshole to Boeing management when it comes to Quality by the book. And yes, as you well know, that always comes at a price at Boeing. But having the Steward badge makes it so they can't just "move me along." I am a very happy thorn in their ass and I love it.
(Deleted identifier)...have a few really current and very deceitful practices they do to this day.
Well must go to work but would be glad to talk more if your interested. Have a good day...(name)."
As you can see, The Second to Last Inspector experienced the same fraud by Boeing QA and Manufacturing management (no difference at Boeing, as there is supposed to be per FAA requirements) that I did.
He became a Union Steward so he wouldn't be bounced around like I was and the woman he noted was for actually inspecting the airplane before buying off the job (less items found).
Yep, at Boeing "hanging too much tape" as an inspector is an offense that will get you transferred to a makework job, to another location, or even fired. Inspectors at Boeing identify defects with narrow blue painter's tape like you use when you mask for painting at home. This identifies the specific location of the defect the inspector found during the inspection, usually noting the defect ("Short Hi-Lok," for example) and/or nonconformance record item number the inspector writes that the defect corresponds to.
So, "hanging tape" simply means an inspector is documenting the defects they find during their inspection of the job/process that a mechanic put up for final/process inspection. It's a good thing to find and document defects on airplanes, except at Boeing. As The Second to Last Inspector noted, "hanging too much tape" (documenting defects instead of letting them deliver to the airline or government customer as is) as an inspector can bring you the unwelcome attention of the typical corrupt Boeing QA Supervisor.
In a healthy and functioning quality system, an inspector would be rewarded for "hanging tape" (finding defects during an inspection) by their management. Not so in Boeing's largely corrupt quality system.
"Hanging too much tape" (finding some/all defects during an inspection instead of buying off the defective work as OK on the production record after a very cursory or "pretend" non-inspection) can get you retaliated against by your corrupt Boeing QA Supervisor as noted. This retaliation can be very severe, and result in you being sent from the location you committed the offense (to corrupt Boeing management) of actually inspecting the work put up for inspection, to a much worse and less desirable location, such as being transferred from Final Assembly, where you don't have to crawl through confined spaces and there is little to no constant noisy/jarring riveting, to the relative "pit of Hell" inspection area of the Wing Majors, where there are cramped spaces and almost constant drilling/riveting. And such less desirable locations to work as an inspector as the Wing Majors are Hell for inspectors who actually inspect the work they buy off, as the typical rollerstamping inspector just has to buy off the production record falsely stating they inspected the work and found it acceptable, whereas a non-rollerstamping inspector has to inspect all of the work done on the job, even in extremely tough to inspect areas, and "hang tape" and document the defects they find.
As noted elsewhere on this site and in my report to the FAA, I was retaliated against several times over my almost 10 year career as a Boeing QA Inspector for the "crime" (to corrupt Boeing QA management) of actually doing my job of inspecting, rather than just falsifying paperwork as rollerstamping Boeing inspectors do.
The first time my QA management retaliated against me for inspecting was my first day, I believe, as an inspector, as I noted in this Daily (to the FAA) Report Quote:
'I don’t remember if it was my first day as a Body Structures inspector, or not, but I believe it was close to my first day. I had logged in on a "job complete" inspection on the (electronic) call sheet...on a skin lap job on a body structure section. This job was huge. There were, I think, several hundreds or even thousands of rivets (mostly) on this major job. I believe there were some Hi-Loks on the job. I knew Hi-Loks well, as I had installed many of them myself, but rivets were another story.
I knew very little about solid rivet installation, and that was pretty much all this job did. I pulled all of the drawings for the job, and went through the plan. I read the specifications I didn’t know that had to do with the job. I went to the tool room to get the correct rivet gages in case I needed them, which I hoped I didn‘t. After all, these were probably very experienced structure mechanics (certainly more experienced at their jobs than I was at mine at that point) that had done the job, and I would just be able to eyeball all of these rivets with my "calibrated eyes" as they all would likely be installed correctly. I went out with my drawings and blank pickup forms and began to inspect the skin lap job.
I couldn’t believe all of the defects that I found on that job! Oh well, I thought, I had to do my job regardless of the number or extent of defects, as I was taught in class, for the most part, so I documented everything I found. At the end of the inspection I had several pages of pickup items written on the one job. I don’t remember the exact number of pages, but it seemed to be a huge amount to me, the new inspector. I hoped that that job was an aberration, and the number of pickup items was only due to the workmanship of the mechanics involved, and I would not have to write so many pickups on every similar sized job all of the time if more skilled mechanics had done the work. I was glad my QA manager obviously knew I was new at this so that they would allow me the extra time that it had taken me to document those defects than it would take a more experienced inspector that had inspected that job before.
I believe it was the next day when I got a transfer notice that I was being reassigned to the 777 Wing Stub Body Join area.'
End of report quote.
I had "hung a lot of tape" on that job, so my corrupt QA management had to get rid of me. As noted, I was sent to the 777 Wing Stub Body Join area, where I had to crawl into the 777 Wing Stub to inspect, a much harder area to inspect than the open 777 Body Structures. I eventually was banned from inspecting in the 777 Wing Stub, also for the "crime" (to corrupt Boeing QA management) of "hanging too much tape" on defective fasteners, holes, and structural damage in the Wing Stub area. Corrupt Boeing QA management couldn't have me there as I documented too much damage inside the Wing Stub one day, which takes a lot of rework, as almost all rework to critical wing structure there requires flap peen work after blending, which takes time for both mechanics and inspectors to perform their roles, after Engineering disposition. Corrupt QA management assigned me outboard of that area, so that such bad holes, bad fasteners/bolts, and structural damage to the Wing Stub Body Join structure could deliver to airline customers instead of possibly delaying a Line Move by taking time for QA to document the defects, Engineering to disposition the defects if required, mechanics to fix those defects, and inspect that rework/repair. Makes you wonder why a 777 hasn't broken up in flight yet, doesn't it?
And that's the chief reason corrupt Boeing management ensures this QA fraud--the QA "rework/repair loops" in the production process are totally omitted through such fraud, cutting cost and production flow time, when a Boeing QA manager ensures that those defects are never documented in the first place by ensuring that one of their "groomed" rollerstamping Boeing QA inspectors falsifies the production record stated the work was inspected and acceptable when neither was true.
Another contributor to my transfer from that area was that I was probably the only inspector who wrote up shanked out/too long bolts that attached the wing stub to the wings and bulkheads. And these were the biggest bolts in those critical structural joins--some of the largest bolts in the entire 777. See, no matter how critical or large the defect is, "hanging too much tape" (finding too many defects when inspecting) will get you retaliated against by corrupt QA management, as The Second to Last Inspector noted above.
I wonder where that lady inspector from 737 Wing Laydown who "hung too much tape" (actually did her job) got transferred to by her corrupt Renton QA management, as The Second to Last Inspector noted.
I never took delight in doing my job over the objections of my corrupt Boeing QA management as The Second to Last Inspector obviously did. Nothing wrong with being happy about making evil people like corrupt Boeing QA Management angry when doing your job over their illegal pressure on you not to, I guess. But that was never a motivation for me. I only did my job well over the wishes of my corrupt Boeing QA management because I knew of the importance of my job to everyone on or under the Boeing airplanes I inspected, and our critical roles as designees of the FAA. I took no pleasure in "hanging too much tape." Doing so only put a target on my back for corrupt Boeing management and bad mechanics to "shoot at." I never looked forward to being retaliated against because a mechanic made too many mistakes. But I had to do my job regardless. I was born with something alien to many Boeing employees and almost all Boeing managers--ethics.
Yes, dear departed Second to Last Inspector, us inspectors doing our jobs per the FAA approved Boeing quality system "book" of procedures always comes at a personal price at Boeing. But good inspectors like us do it, regardless of the price corrupt Boeing management makes us pay.
The Last Inspector