FAA review of Boeing 737 production finds mechanics using hotel card and dish soap as makeshift tools: report

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The Federal Aviation Administration found dozens of problems during the production process of Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft, including mechanics at one of its major suppliers using a hotel key card and dish soap as makeshift tools to test compliance, according to a report.

The FAA found “unacceptable” quality control issues during an audit of Boeing and supplier Spirit AeroSystems that was launched after a door seal from a 737 Max 9 jet flew off into the air at 16,000 feet on Jan. 5.

The agency did not publish its findings to the public, but rather presented details of the results Reviewed by The New York Times It reveals a disturbing and inconsistent manufacturing process.

There were dozens of problems found during the production process of the Boeing 737 MAX. AP

Auditors found that Boeing failed 33 out of 89 product audits — a review of specific aspects of a production line — with a total of 97 charges of alleged noncompliance.

Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the 737 MAX airframe, failed seven out of 13 product audits conducted by the FAA, the newspaper reported. One of its failures involved installing the aircraft door plug.

Some of the most shocking details from the presentation occurred at Spirit AeroSytems' fuselage manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kansas.

The fuselage connection area of ​​Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 Boeing 737-9 MAX, which was forced to make an emergency landing with a gap in the fuselage, is seen during an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in Portland, Oregon. Via Reuters

FAA auditors observed company mechanics using a hotel key card to check the seal on a door in one case, and witnessed other Spirit mechanics applying Dawn liquid soap to the door seal “as a lubricant in the preparation process,” the Times reported. .

In the latest incident, mechanics used a wet cloth to wipe away dish soap and clean the door lock. The document detailing the audit findings obtained by the outlet said the instructions provided to mechanics were “vague and unclear on the specifications/procedures to be followed or recorded by the mechanic.”

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A spokesman for Spirit AeroSystems — which Boeing is in talks to reacquire — told the Times that the company is “reviewing all identified nonconformities to take corrective action.”

The FAA discovered “unacceptable” quality control issues during an audit at Boeing. AP

Boeing did not immediately comment on the results of the audit — which the FAA declined to release because of its ongoing investigation into the door seal incident on an Alaska Airlines flight and Boeing's response to it.

The company must develop a comprehensive action plan to address “systemic quality control issues” raised by the audit within 90 days.

The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the horrific door panel explosion, and the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into Boeing.

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