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波音吹哨人遭波音公司打击报复

SASHA ROGELBERG
2024-04-24

波音的安全事故在航空业引发了一系列反应。

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萨姆·萨莱普尔是参加4月17日参议院听证会的少数吹哨人之一。图片来源:DREW ANGERER/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

波音质控工程师萨姆·萨莱普尔在4月17日的波音安全文化参议院听证会上表示,他在波音遭到了上司的排挤,同时,他反映的飞机零部件故障安全问题也被其上司撤销。

作为一名在波音效力了30多年的工程师,萨莱普尔在作证时表示,在三年多的时间中,他一直在努力警告员工安全问题,包括撰写了被送至787工程部高级总监马克·斯托克顿和波音副总裁丽萨·法尔的备忘录。他说,波音高层并没有去解决他提出的问题,而是让其闭嘴。波音公司当前存在的一个广泛现象是,公司会以生产力和利润为借口来忽视安全问题,而这只是其中一个缩影。

他说:“没有人理我。他们告诉我不要制造影响工期的事件,并直接让我闭嘴。”

1月5日,阿拉斯加航空公司(Alaska Airlines)一架波音737 Max 9客机在空中发生应急舱门脱落事故。鉴此,康涅狄格州民主党参议员理查德·布卢门撒尔主张召开了这场由国土安全和政府事务委员会举办的听证会。自那之后,多架波音飞机出现了安全事故。美国联邦航空管理局(FAA)于3月完成的调查发现,在波音的89架飞机中,有33架未能通过审查,并提到其工厂存在“数十个问题”。波音的安全事故在航空业引发了一系列反应:在737 Max机型停飞之后,美联航(United Airlines)在第一季度报出了1.42亿美元的净亏损,其首席执行官斯科特·科比认为波音事故是造成其羸弱季度业绩的罪魁祸首。

布卢门撒尔称,4月17日的听证会将成为首个纠正波音安全监管问题的听证会,而且只是其中之一。包括首席执行官戴夫·卡尔霍恩在内的波音员工均未参加听证会。不过,一位公司发言人对美联社(AP)说,他们将积极配合。波音并未回复《财富》杂志的置评请求。

那些在4月17日听证会上作证的证人明确表示,他们认为如果波音能够更多地倾听雇员对飞机质量的顾虑,那么很多安全事故原本是可以避免的。这些证人来自波音和FAA,包括萨莱普尔。

“我的上级说,‘如果有人在会上谈论你所提到的这些内容,我会杀了他’”,萨莱普尔在其证词中表示,“如果人们在提到安全问题之后会遭到威胁,这算什么安全文化。”

就像折叠曲别针一样

萨莱普尔称,自己在担任质控工程师时曾亲眼目睹可能会威胁波音乘客安全的不合格工程。他发现,飞机面板之间的缝隙未得到合理填充,杂物会落入其折痕之中。之所以出现这些缝隙,原因在于各面板的尺寸并不适配,而是以一种敷衍的方式,通过“大力”挤压在一起。这会给部件带来压力,可能导致其在一段时间后受损。

“我亲眼看到工人为了拼接部件而在机身上跳来跳去。我将其称之为泰山效应,” 他在证词中表示。

萨莱普尔用弯折曲别针来形容这种粗鲁拼接手段给部件带来的压力:如果只是弯折几次,曲别针不会受损,但弯折次数过多,脆弱的金属部位就会断裂。

萨莱普尔表示,自己在翻看检查档案时发现,其内容与自己看到的如出一辙:在受检的29架波音787飞机中,98.7%的飞机机身都存在不符合规格的缝隙。

他说:“实际上,他们生产的是有缺陷的飞机。”

由于萨莱普尔反复提出有关飞机质量的警告,波音将其从787部门调到了777部门。他说,在这一过程中,他的上级最初不邀请他参加团队会议,然后又在另一个部门给他安排了一份新工作。

他说:“整个过程都掩饰的非常好。”

凌晨3点的噩梦和被扎破的轮胎

公开反对航空巨头的后果最近浮出水面,此前一位吹哨人约翰·巴尼特在3月份自杀身亡。这位前波音质控经理于2019年揭露了南卡州北查尔斯顿工厂的不当操作,而就在波音被揭发不久之前,已经出现了两起惨痛的波音飞机空难事件。

萨莱普尔的直言不讳让其备受影响。如果不是律师申请了吹哨人保护计划,或许他已经被波音踢出了公司。

萨莱普尔称,在其提出安全质疑之后,他的上级开始给他私人手机打电话,每次都会批评长达40分钟的时间,同时还在其邮箱日历上取消了其看病预约。一天,萨莱普尔发现自己车的新轮胎扎了一根钉子。当他把车开到修理店后,修理工告诉他这根钉子并非是正常行驶时扎进去的,很有可能是有人故意为之。虽然萨莱普尔认为轮胎是在他上班时被扎的,但他没有证据。

萨莱普尔称,受此影响,他凌晨3点会从遭到刺杀的噩梦中惊醒。

“我像是掉进了地狱,” 他说,“为的是重返正常生活,我一直在接受心理治疗。”(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

波音质控工程师萨姆·萨莱普尔在4月17日的波音安全文化参议院听证会上表示,他在波音遭到了上司的排挤,同时,他反映的飞机零部件故障安全问题也被其上司撤销。

作为一名在波音效力了30多年的工程师,萨莱普尔在作证时表示,在三年多的时间中,他一直在努力警告员工安全问题,包括撰写了被送至787工程部高级总监马克·斯托克顿和波音副总裁丽萨·法尔的备忘录。他说,波音高层并没有去解决他提出的问题,而是让其闭嘴。波音公司当前存在的一个广泛现象是,公司会以生产力和利润为借口来忽视安全问题,而这只是其中一个缩影。

他说:“没有人理我。他们告诉我不要制造影响工期的事件,并直接让我闭嘴。”

1月5日,阿拉斯加航空公司(Alaska Airlines)一架波音737 Max 9客机在空中发生应急舱门脱落事故。鉴此,康涅狄格州民主党参议员理查德·布卢门撒尔主张召开了这场由国土安全和政府事务委员会举办的听证会。自那之后,多架波音飞机出现了安全事故。美国联邦航空管理局(FAA)于3月完成的调查发现,在波音的89架飞机中,有33架未能通过审查,并提到其工厂存在“数十个问题”。波音的安全事故在航空业引发了一系列反应:在737 Max机型停飞之后,美联航(United Airlines)在第一季度报出了1.42亿美元的净亏损,其首席执行官斯科特·科比认为波音事故是造成其羸弱季度业绩的罪魁祸首。

布卢门撒尔称,4月17日的听证会将成为首个纠正波音安全监管问题的听证会,而且只是其中之一。包括首席执行官戴夫·卡尔霍恩在内的波音员工均未参加听证会。不过,一位公司发言人对美联社(AP)说,他们将积极配合。波音并未回复《财富》杂志的置评请求。

那些在4月17日听证会上作证的证人明确表示,他们认为如果波音能够更多地倾听雇员对飞机质量的顾虑,那么很多安全事故原本是可以避免的。这些证人来自波音和FAA,包括萨莱普尔。

“我的上级说,‘如果有人在会上谈论你所提到的这些内容,我会杀了他’”,萨莱普尔在其证词中表示,“如果人们在提到安全问题之后会遭到威胁,这算什么安全文化。”

就像折叠曲别针一样

萨莱普尔称,自己在担任质控工程师时曾亲眼目睹可能会威胁波音乘客安全的不合格工程。他发现,飞机面板之间的缝隙未得到合理填充,杂物会落入其折痕之中。之所以出现这些缝隙,原因在于各面板的尺寸并不适配,而是以一种敷衍的方式,通过“大力”挤压在一起。这会给部件带来压力,可能导致其在一段时间后受损。

“我亲眼看到工人为了拼接部件而在机身上跳来跳去。我将其称之为泰山效应,” 他在证词中表示。

萨莱普尔用弯折曲别针来形容这种粗鲁拼接手段给部件带来的压力:如果只是弯折几次,曲别针不会受损,但弯折次数过多,脆弱的金属部位就会断裂。

萨莱普尔表示,自己在翻看检查档案时发现,其内容与自己看到的如出一辙:在受检的29架波音787飞机中,98.7%的飞机机身都存在不符合规格的缝隙。

他说:“实际上,他们生产的是有缺陷的飞机。”

由于萨莱普尔反复提出有关飞机质量的警告,波音将其从787部门调到了777部门。他说,在这一过程中,他的上级最初不邀请他参加团队会议,然后又在另一个部门给他安排了一份新工作。

他说:“整个过程都掩饰的非常好。”

凌晨3点的噩梦和被扎破的轮胎

公开反对航空巨头的后果最近浮出水面,此前一位吹哨人约翰·巴尼特在3月份自杀身亡。这位前波音质控经理于2019年揭露了南卡州北查尔斯顿工厂的不当操作,而就在波音被揭发不久之前,已经出现了两起惨痛的波音飞机空难事件。

萨莱普尔的直言不讳让其备受影响。如果不是律师申请了吹哨人保护计划,或许他已经被波音踢出了公司。

萨莱普尔称,在其提出安全质疑之后,他的上级开始给他私人手机打电话,每次都会批评长达40分钟的时间,同时还在其邮箱日历上取消了其看病预约。一天,萨莱普尔发现自己车的新轮胎扎了一根钉子。当他把车开到修理店后,修理工告诉他这根钉子并非是正常行驶时扎进去的,很有可能是有人故意为之。虽然萨莱普尔认为轮胎是在他上班时被扎的,但他没有证据。

萨莱普尔称,受此影响,他凌晨3点会从遭到刺杀的噩梦中惊醒。

“我像是掉进了地狱,” 他说,“为的是重返正常生活,我一直在接受心理治疗。”(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

Boeing quality engineer Sam Salehpour’s managers at Boeing retaliated against him and quashed safety concerns he raised over malfunctioning aircraft parts, he told a Senate hearing on Boeing’s safety culture Wednesday.

A Boeing engineer for over 30 years, Salehpour testified that he tried to warn personnel of safety issues over the course of three years, including writing memos that reached the desks of Mark Stockton, senior director for 787 engineering, and Lisa Fahl, a vice president of the company. Instead of addressing his concerns, he said, Boeing brass shut him down, part of a broader trend within the company of brushing off safety concerns in the name of productivity and the bottom line.

“I was ignored. I was told not to create delays,” he said. “I was told, frankly, to shut up.”

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called the hearing led by the Homeland and Governmental Affairs subcommittee after a Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft door plug flew off an Alaska Airlines plane midflight on Jan. 5. Since then, numerous Boeing planes have experienced safety mishaps. A Federal Aviation Administration probe completed in March found Boeing failed 33 of 89 product audits and noted “dozens of problems” at its facilities. Boeing’s safety incidents have rippled across the aviation industry: United Airlines reported a $142 million net loss in its first quarter after the 737 Max was grounded, with CEO Scott Kirby blaming the weak quarter on Boeing’s mishap.

Blumenthal said the April 17 hearing will be the first of many to rectify the safety oversights at Boeing. No Boeing personnel, including CEO Dave Calhoun, attended the hearing, though they are cooperating, a company spokesperson told AP. Boeing did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Those who testified in the Wednesday hearing—a series of Boeing and FAA personnel, including Salehpour—made clear their belief that many of Boeing’s safety misfires would have been avoided if greater care was put into listening to employee apprehensions over aircraft quality.

“My boss said, ‘I would have killed someone who said what you said in a meeting,’” Salehpour said in his testimony. “This is not a safety culture when you get threatened for bringing [up] issues of safety concerns.”

Like bending a paperclip

Salehpour said witnessed shoddy engineering that could endanger the safety of Boeing passengers during his time as quality engineer. He noticed gaps between aircraft panels were not properly shimmed, or filled, leaving creases for debris to fall into. The gaps were a result of pieces not naturally fitting together, but rather being jammed and finagled with “excessive force” that added stress to components that could cause long-term damage.

“I literally saw people jumping on the pieces of the airplane to get them to align—I called it the Tarzan effect,” he said in his testimony.

Salehpour likened the stress added to these roughly manipulated parts to bending a paper clip: The clip isn’t initially damaged when bent a couple times, but after enough manipulation, the thin metal eventually snaps.

When Salehpour consulted inspection documentation, it confirmed what he saw firsthand: Of Boeing’s 29 inspected 787 aircrafts, 98.7% had gaps in the fuselage that exceeded specifications, Salehpour said.

“Effectively, they are putting out defective airplanes,” he said.

Salehpour’s repeated warnings about aircraft quality got him moved from the 787 division to the 777 division of the company, he said: a process that entailed his boss first not inviting him to team meetings, then offering him a “new job” in a different department.

“They do it pretty stealthily,” he said.

3:00 a.m. nightmares and punctured tires

The consequences of speaking out against an aviation juggernaut bubbled to the surface recently after whistleblower John Barnett died by suicide in March. The former Boeing quality manager revealed the shoddy practices in North Charleston, S.C., in 2019, shortly after the two tragic Boeing crashes.

The backlash Salehpour experienced for speaking out took a personal toll on him. Though he is still a Boeing employee, it’s only because his lawyer went through the Whistleblower Protection Program.

Salehpour said that after he spoke out, his boss started calling his personal number to berate him for 40 minutes at a time, as well as canceling doctor’s appointments on his email calendar. One day Salehpour found a nail caught in one of his car’s new tires. When he took it to the shop, the mechanic told him he didn’t pick up the nail from normal driving—it was likely deliberately put there. Though Salehpour believes the incident happened while he was at work, he has no proof.

As a result of the fallout, Salehpour said, he has woken up at 3 a.m. to nightmares of being stabbed.

“This is the hell that I was subjected to,” he said. “I’m still receiving psychological help to just get back to normal.”

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