Former Boeing Quality Control Engineer John Barnett told BBC that some of the oxygen systems on Boeing 787s are not working properly. According to him, 25% of the systems tested by him in 2016 did not work, but the company installed them anyway.
Barnett said that he was writing off oxygen systems with cosmetic damage when he noticed the malfunctioning of some of the masks. According to him, some cylinders did not release oxygen.
Then the engineer turned to the Boeing research and development department with a request to test 300 new oxygen systems taken directly from the warehouse. After testing, it turned out that 75 of them did not work properly.
According to Barnett, Boeing’s managers thwarted his attempts to launch a large-scale investigation of the problem. When he tried to contact the company’s management and report the problems to the US Federal Aviation Administration, he received a response that “Boeing is already working to solve the problem.”
Boeing told the BBC a different version: according to company representatives, the problem with the cylinders was discovered not in 2016, but in 2017. Oxygen cylinders were allegedly immediately removed from production, so there are no defective masks on airplanes.
Barnett worked for Boeing for 32 years, seven of which he spent as a quality control manager at the company’s factory in Charleston. The engineer explained that he left the company in 2017 because Boeing’s attempts to “tarnish its reputation and hinder its career left no choice”.
The company replied that this was planned and happened at the request of the employee. Barnett decided to sue the company.
Oxygen masks in airplanes are installed in case of depressurization of a ship in the air. For example, if air starts to escape from a broken porthole, masks can save passengers from brain damage or death.