Boeing was back in the spotlight Wednesday as company whistleblowers, both past and present, converged on Capitol Hill. They shared troubling details about safety shortcuts taken by the company.

“I was ignored…I was told frankly to shut up,” said Sam Salehpour, a current quality engineer at Boeing.

Sam Salehpour is the latest Boeing whistleblower. He’s coming forward publicly on Capitol Hill after he said he’s raised concerns internally for years.

“I have serious concerns about the safety of the 787 and 777 aircraft and I’m willing to take on professional risk to talk about them,” he said.

Salehpour alleges the company took shortcuts when it made its 777 and 787 Dreamliner jets. During a congressional hearing Wednesday, he detailed how crews putting together the 787s failed to properly fill tiny gaps when joining parts of the fuselage.

“Ninety eight point seven percent of the time the gaps that they were supposed to be shimmed, they were not shimmed,” said Salehpour.

In response, Boeing said there’s rigorous testing and maintenance checks for those planes. “Under FAA oversight, we have painstakingly inspected and reworked airplanes and improved production quality to meet exacting standards that are measured in the one hundredths of an inch. We are fully confident in the safety and durability of the 787 Dreamliner,” said a Boeing spokesperson in a written statement.

Former Boeing engineer Ed Pierson said he raised concerns about another plane: the 737 Max. Two of those jets were involved in deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019.

“The world is shocked to learn about Boeing’s current quality production issues, I’m not surprised. Because nothing changed after the two crashed there was no accountability, not a single person from Boeing went to jail, hundreds of people died and there’s been no justice,” said Pierson.

Pierson also believes some federal agencies are at fault too.

“If government agencies had done their jobs, investigators would have uncovered a mountain of important information, the FAA would have known Boeings production processes were a mess and the safety culture was terrible,” said Pierson.

The Washington News Bureau reached out the FAA about these allegations.

“FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker made it clear “this won’t be back to business as usual for Boeing.” The company must commit to real and profound improvements, and we will hold them accountable every step of the way,” said an FAA spokesman in a written statement.

During the hearing, both Democrats and Republicans said they want to get to the bottom of these issues.

“Boeing is at a moment of reckoning, it’s a moment many years in the making, it’s a moment that results not from one incident or one flight or one plane,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D) Connecticut.

“We want Boeing to succeed we need them to succeed because as traveling public, we want to feel safe in the air,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, (R ) Wisconsin.

Lawmakers say this was just the first of many hearings. They want the leaders from Boeing and the FAA to answer questions before Congress.

Boeing also released this statement about its culture:

“We take the FAA review panel’s detailed assessment to heart and will act on their findings and feedback. Since 2020, Boeing has taken important steps to foster a safety culture that empowers and encourages all employees to raise their voice. We know we have more work to do and we are taking action across our company. Since January 2024, there has been a more than 500% increase in employee reports through our “Speak Up” portal compared to 2023, which signals progress toward a robust reporting culture that is not fearful of retaliation. More than 40,000 employees have participated in  ‘quality stand downs’ at more than a dozen Boeing sites, providing tens of thousands of ideas for improving our production system and culture. We continue to put safety and quality above all else and share information transparently with our regulator, customers and other stakeholders. Retaliation is strictly prohibited at Boeing.”

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