Boeing whistleblower calls for 787 production to stop ahead of Senate hearing

The FAA is addressing an unsafe condition on the Boeing 787
mirounga /

In an interview with NBC News ahead of an important Senate hearing, Boeing whistleblower Sam Salehpour has called for production of the 787 Dreamliner to stop. 

Boeing engineer Salehpour has alleged that processes were carried out during the production of the 777 and 787 Dreamliner jets which put the safety of both aircraft types at risk.    

In the interview on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on April 18, 2024, Salehpour claimed that flaws in the 787 fuselage could cause the widebody jet to fall apart and “drop to the ground”. 

When questioned by the NBC host if he would currently let his own family travel on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Salehpour replied: “Right now, I would not”. 

Salehpour told NBC that production of the 787 should be halted while the alleged problems are addressed. 

In response to the interview, Boeing said: “These claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are inaccurate. The issues raised have been subject to rigorous engineering examination under FAA oversight.” 

Salehpour has alleged that small gaps at the fuselage joins on 787 aircraft could “cause a catastrophic failure,” due to excessive wear. 

In 2020, Dreamliner deliveries were put on hold to fix issues with small holes. After almost two years, the FAA eventually approved a solution to the problem.  

However, Salehpour claimed the “gaps in the 787 were not being properly measured,” and due to the mismeasurements, shims – pieces of material used to fill small gaps – were not always inserted.   

Salehpour also claimed that, in efforts to speed up 787 production, he witnessed “excessive stress on major airplane joints, and embedded drilling debris between key joints on more than 1,000 planes”.   

On April 16, 2024, Boeing defended the 787 Dreamliner and 777 following the whistleblower’s accusations.  

Steve Chisholm, Boeing’s Chief Engineer for mechanical and structural engineering, explained the stress tests for the 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which included testing the plane for 165,000 cycles – each cycle equivalent of a flight.   

‘There were zero findings of fatigue in the composites’

“We did 165,000 cycles. There were zero findings of fatigue in the composites,” Chrisholm said during the media briefing.   

The company also claimed to have inspected 689 of the more than 1,100 787s in service worldwide and found no evidence of fatigue. 

Salehpour will testify at the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing on April 17, 2024, along with other witnesses.  

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the committee, said: “Salehpour will talk about the fastening of parts of the 787 fuselage in a way that is potentially unsafe because those parts come apart with airline fatigue. That is the wear and tear of repeated use.”  

Blumenthal added: “He will also talk about retaliation against him when he complained to Boeing. As deeply troubling as the allegations are about the failure to put safety and quality above profits, the threat and acts of retaliation are equally troubling,” 

Boeing has previously declared that “retaliation is strictly prohibited” at the company. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Stay updated on aviation and aerospace - subscribe to our newsletter!