Seattle Times: DOJ’s Boeing investigation expands to 787 Dreamliner

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 22:19:08-04

Federal prosecutors have expanded their probe beyond the Boeing 737 Max aircraft to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, The Seattle Times reported Friday, citing two sources familiar with the investigation.

The Department of Justice subpoenaed Boeing for records pertaining to the Dreamliner’s production in South Carolina amid claims of subpar work, the sources told the Times.

A third source told the Times that several individual employees at the Dreamliner production plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, had received subpoenas in early June from the “same group” of prosecutors working on the 737 Max investigation.

A Boeing spokesperson told CNN, “We don’t comment on legal matters.” Department of Justice spokesperson Peter Carr declined to comment.

The update comes as the probes into the 737 Max continue, following crashes involving the aircraft in Ethiopia and Indonesia. This week saw the discovery of a new flaw in the 737 Max computer system that could push the plane downward, two sources told CNN. Boeing engineers are now trying to address the flaw, which has led to another delay in recertifying the aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration has identified similarities between the two Boeing crashes that killed 346 people, specifically involving the plane’s automatic safety feature known as MCAS. That system pushes the nose of the aircraft down if it senses an imminent stall.

At a House hearing earlier this month, two pilots criticized Boeing’s design and rollout of the aircraft and recommended additional training requirements for 737 Max pilots.

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the hero pilot credited with the 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson,” argued that simulator training should be mandatory before the aircraft returns to the skies.

Previously, pilots transitioning to the Boeing 737 Max from prior 737 models were given a short, self-administered online course that did not mention the MCAS system.

Boeing’s proposal to bring back the 737 Max has included a computer-based training program that, like the requirements before the two crashes, does not involve hands-on simulator training. The FAA has not announced any decisions on final training requirements, however.