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Boeing 787 Dreamliner: “Hundreds of Defective Parts”

Ralph hears from courageous former Boeing Quality Control Manager, John M. Barnett, who blew the whistle on shoddy production of the 787 Dreamliner, how the FAA has backed off on oversight, and how Boeing “bean counters” have put profits over safety.

John M. Barnett was a Quality Control Manager for Boeing Company for 25 years in its Seattle facility. He transferred in 2011 to manage Boeing’s new plant in South Carolina to build the 787 Dreamliner where he revealed shoddy production as reported on the front-page of the April 20, 2019, New York Times. He retired under pressure in 2017 and assumed the challenge to inform the flying public. His whistleblower complaint to OSHA is pending.

“I haven’t seen a plane out of Charleston yet that I would put my name on saying that it’s safe and air-worthy.” John M. Barnett, former Quality Control Manager on the 787 Dreamliner

“In aircraft production, and working with Boeing all these years, we have a rule of thumb: that it takes eight to ten years for a defect to become an issue on an airplane. So, if you look at the eight to ten-year time frame before a defect becomes an issue and our first plane was delivered in 2012, we’re starting to get into that eight to ten-year window.” John M. Barnett, former Quality Control Manager on the 787 Dreamliner

“Boeing’s number one priority should be the safety of the flying public. And the last six years that I worked with them, that is the last thing on their mind… Because it’s just about kicking airplanes out and making the cash register ring.” John M. Barnett, former Quality Control Manager on the 787 Dreamliner

For more information on how to protect yourself, go to Flyers Rights


RALPH NADER RADIO HOUR EP 297 TRANSCRIPT (Right click to download)


  1. Mark Hughes says:

    QA jobs being considered ‘non-value added’ is nothing new really; both Marx and Smith state that any job that’s not directly involved in the production of the commodity itself adds no surplus value to it. I used to work in QA and process improvement, and it is true. Doesn’t mean those jobs aren’t important, they are. Unless you’re a senior manager of course, then any job that doesn’t add value (except theirs) are indeed expendable.

    One company buying another one but keeping the name of the bought company is also something I’ve heard of. In the packaging industry a few years ago, Chesapeake Services Limited and Multi Packaging Solutions merged. Chesapeake is who bought MPS, yet they keep the MPS name. I have no idea why that was, I’m sure the reason is very suspicious, but I was told this in a job interview by a manager.

    Congressional hearings where they ‘rake over the coals’ some CEO of serious corporate wrongdoing that they knew about, I never watch those. John Stumpf of Wells Fargo was berated by Elizabeth Warren yet was allowed to keep his golden parachute. Yeah I’m sure these CEOs are smarting all the way to the bank. Please.

    “How do we pay for it?” Is a question that applies to tons of stuff we should have been having long by now (a moral healthcare system, better education including ‘free’ college, etc). The simplest answer is the truest: 1) tax the rich, 2) stop all these pointless and self-indulgent military excursions. I’ve seen that question asked multiple times, and multiple times I’ve explicitly stated this answer. But because Americans are utterly propagandized, they have no clue how to envision this regardless other countries do this now and have been for several decades.

    • James Dudley says:

      Thanks for making sense on the topic. There’s no price to pay for malfeasance in the C Suite so malfeasance happens.

  2. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    Socialism = workers democratic control of the means of production

    Corporations–giant private fiefdoms ruled by a handful of majority shareholders–love socialism, David? I don’t think so.

  3. Dale West says:

    The FAA 737 Max saga & revelations should be called “whistle-Boeing”.

  4. Patrick Mazza says:

    Ralph, Patrick Mazza from Seattle here. You probably have made these connections, but just in case. The 787 issue partly stems from earlier union-busting at Boeing. Many years ago the engineers union, went out on strike. Boeing wanted to break the union, so in creating the global supply chain for the 787, farmed out the engineering. When the parts finally started arriving for assembly in Seattle, they didn’t fit together, which would have never happened if the Boeing engineers had done the work. As a result there were delays that caused huge late penalty payments to All Nippon Air. I have heard analysis that the penalties destroyed the business case on the first 800 787s out the door. So there was great pressure to speed up production. Interesting they have finally reached that poi “The package,” as one Boeing exec called their airplanes, is truly less important than financial returns. Boeing is a ruins.

  5. Ann says:

    I went to but didn’t see anything about participating in boycotts, or in fact anything about what actions we can take as consumers concerned about safety & the power of corporations over our oversight institutions. (?)

  6. Jerry Chamkis says:

    Also as a result of the strike- as reported by Democracy Now! at the time, wiring harnesses for the 787 were built in Mississippi by poorly trained workers and the resulting re-work in Seattle cost far more than the reduction in labor cost.