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Boeing whistleblower, aviation experts called to testify before Senate

A Boeing whistleblower and a panel of aviation experts will testify at Senate committee hearings next week to discuss safety and quality concerns regarding the U.S. aviation company’s jets. 

The Senate Commerce Committee will bring in three experts, some of whom were involved in a February report that criticized Boeing’s safety culture as “inadequate and confusing.” 

The report outlined 50 recommendations to Boeing and said the manufacturer should review and come up with a plan to address the issues within half a year. The experts said the plan should be shared with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which published the report. 

Capitol Hill lawmakers ordered the report in 2020, after Boeing 737 Max crashes in 2018 in Indonesia and 2019 in Ethiopia.

The hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, will feature NASA expert on safety culture Dr. Tracy Dillinger, University of Southern California professor and expert on aviation safety Dr. Najmedin Meshkati and Dr. Javier de Luis, an aeronautics expert at MIT, the committee announced.

The hearing comes as Boeing has dealt with safety issues plaguing its jets this year alone. An Alaska Airlines flight in January had a fuselage panel blown off on a Boeing 737 Max 9 while the plane was flying over Oregon, leaving a hole and forcing an emergency landing. No one was injured. CEO Dave Calhoun stepped down in late March.

At a second hearing on Wednesday, held by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Boeing whistleblower, Sam Salehpour will testify, according to Reuters. The hearing is dubbed “Examining Boeing’s Broken Safety Culture: Firsthand Accounts.” 

Salehpour alleged Boeing dismissed quality and safety concerns in the production of its 777 and 787 aircraft. His claims are being investigated by the FAA.

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