FAA Audit Turned Up 21 Violations at Boeing's Everett Plant
Jul. 18, 1990
SEATTLE (AP) _ Federal inspectors found 21 violations of FAA-approved quality assurance procedures in an audit of The Boeing Co.'s production plant in Everett, Wash., last year, records show.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Dave Duff said none of the violations posed a safety risk to the flying public. Boeing, which has been under the gun to deliver airplanes, said all the violations have been corrected.
Details of the violations were reported today by the Seattle Post- Intelligenc er. The FAA, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, made available to the newspaper part of a ''Quality Assurance Systems Analysis Review'' it conducted at the plant in February 1989.
The Everett plant is where Boeing makes its widebody 767 and 747 jetliners.
Inspectors said violations included failure to:
-Check approved engineering drawings in the manufacture and inspection of parts.
-Use proper methods and tools to cut composite and titanium parts.
-Document and check reworked parts.
-Use the proper torque to tighten tubes and latches.
-Document parts used in areas for which they were not originally intended.
The report also said workers were not properly protected from airborne dust while drilling holes in graphite composites.
''All area personnel are completely unaware of the safety consideration of cutting and drilling advanced composites,'' the report said. ''Great amounts of cutting and countersinking are being conducted without vacuums or the wearing of respirators.''
A report of a similar January 1989 inspection done at Boeing's Renton facility, where 737 and 757s are manufactured, documented five similar violations, the Post-Intelligencer said.
Boeing, which is now producing a record 34 airplanes a month, said the problems have been fixed.
''We have corrected all the items in that audit to the satisfaction of the FAA,'' said spokeswoman Elizabeth Reese. ''For a facility like Everett, 21 (violations) was not a bad number, but it's not something you want to rest on.''
FAA officials in Seattle who oversaw the audits declined to be interviewed, the newspaper said.
Duff said the FAA did not fine Boeing, as it had in the past. Between 1985 and 1989, Boeing paid 14 fines to the FAA totaling $245,000 for quality control violations found in previous inspections, which are done every 18 to 36 months.
''In the past we relied on legal enforcements as the primary action after the quality assurance review,'' Duff said.
But under the philosophy of FAA Administrator James Busey, who was appointed by President Bush last year, ''there is less emphasis on time- and manpower-consuming legal proceedings and more on assuring compliance,'' Duff added. ''Enforcement is now the last resort to ensure compliance.''