Boeing, Bolts, How ‘My Pilot Buddy’ Saved 337 People and Crew (Plus Boeing CEO Resigns)

Date:

It seems whenever there’s a catastrophe concerning a Boeing built airplane it usually has to do with the bolts. Most of the information out there is about faulty bolts, loose bolts or bolts that don’t fit right or were reused or old, or omitted etc. This is frightening as it adversely affects people’s lives and even kills people. Strange how something as small as a bolt carries such tremendous power and life and death are in its hands.

In recent events a whistleblower name John Barnett (who evidently has been blowing the whistle on Boeing for years) was or so it’s been speculated, that he was very possibly murdered by someone from Boeing.

“John Barnett was called “Mitch” among family and “Swampy” (short for “Swamp Dawg”) by friends, a reference to the warm heaviness of his Louisiana drawl. He had lots of tattoos, raced cars on dirt tracks, drove a bright orange Dodge Ram pickup, and was known as the “FUNcle” by his doting nieces and nephews, to whom he jumped at the chance to move closer when Boeing, his then-employer of 22 years, announced it was opening a massive final assembly plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, for its new 787 Dreamliner in 2010.

The job, overseeing a group of 10 to 12 quality assurance inspectors, quickly turned out to be the stuff of night terrors. Boeing had relocated south to avoid the machinists’ union, but they had no real plan for circumventing Charleston’s distinct dearth of machinists. Swampy was a good teacher, but Boeing executives did not shy away from voicing their opinion that quality assurance itself was fundamentally frivolous. At Boeing’s Everett, Washington, facility, each quality assurance inspector was assigned to examine the work of 15 mechanics; in Charleston, that number was 50, and the mechanics themselves more often than not were guys who had been “flipping burgers” a month ago, as Swampy put it in multiple interviews. So every day, the workers he supervised inspected planes that had been assembled by complete amateurs, while the bosses to whom he reported insisted the fry cooks were perfectly qualified to self-inspect their own workmanship. “Every day was a battle to get Boeing management to do the right thing,” Swampy’s brother Rodney Barnett recalled in an email.”

The article then revealed (further down) heavy suspicion, for as you read you will see that it’s been suspected that someone from Boeing could have bumped “Swampy” off.

“Swampy was inside the Ram, bleeding from his right temple with a silver pistol in his hand and something “resembling a note” in the passenger seat. A grounds man told police he’d heard a “pop” around 9:24 a.m., but rain had muffled the sound. Everyone was in shock. Barnett had been diagnosed with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, incurred in his daily struggles with Boeing management. “I represent a lot of disabled veterans, and I know that there’s a really high percentage of people with PTSD who kill themselves because it becomes unbearable,” Turkewitz said. But Swampy, he insists, was not in that kind of place. “It made no sense” for him to take his own life when he was so close to final vindication, Turkewitz added.”

You can read the rest of the Boeing article referred to above by clicking here. MAUREEN TKACIK (The American Prospect)

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There are additional reports about Boeing in the news and recently (as in just this past January see below), as well as previous to that event,

“On Sunday night, (just this past January) Bob Sauer, a high school science teacher in the Portland, Oregon, area, took a flashlight into his backyard and spotted a 65-pound piece of white aerospace equipment. It was nestled at the foot of several trees, which softened its 16,000-foot fall out of the sky.

The specific piece of equipment, a door plug that broke off a Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft during Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 from Portland on Friday night, in fact illustrates many of the broader trends in the airline industry today: the desire to cram more passengers into finite space, the standardization of production across outsourced subcontractors, and the lack of oversight from federal regulators into these increasingly dangerous schemes.”

The article then reads concerning other airplanes,

“Many of these same problems led to Boeing’s infamous 737 MAX plane crashes in 2018 and 2019, which killed 346 people. Those crashes involved a new semi-autopiloting software that malfunctioned, forcing the planes to nosedive against the pilot’s best attempts to correct course.”

And then even further down in the article is the mention of those notorious bolts. (Read through to the end)

THERE HAD BEEN WARNING SIGNS ABOUT THE 737 MAX 9s before the recent accident. In December, Alaska Airlines had a series of issues where warning lights flashed indicating a loss of cabin pressure on the MAX 9 planes. It decided voluntarily not to fly the planes over water, so they could have a safe landing if anything went wrong.

There were no orders or known inspections from the FAA after these reports, and it’s unclear whether the depressurization issue that appeared to cause the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 (January 5th, 2024) incident was linked to the door plugs. The NTSB has said that there are redundancies in the system of warning lights, and planes have backup systems to account for a failure of pressurization.

Videos taken from inside the Flight 1282 aircraft mid-flight show a gaping, rectangular-shaped hole on the left side of the plane’s fuselage, as high-velocity winds ripped through the aircraft before it made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport.

No passengers were severely injured or killed in Friday’s accident, primarily because of the fortunate circumstance that no one was sitting in the window or middle seat next to the door plug that ripped off.

In response to questions from the Prospect, the FAA said: “The National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of the investigation about Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. It would be premature for the FAA to answer questions or provide information while the investigation is underway. The NTSB will provide any updates.”

On Monday, (January 8) United Airlines found bolts loose on the door plugs on numerous of its own Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes. Alaska Airlines found the same issue. The 171 MAX 9 planes in operation have been grounded until further notice. (The Washington Post and The New York Times)

In a statement regarding the latest developments on the accident, Boeing said: “As operators conduct the required inspections, we are staying in close contact with them and will help address any and all findings. We are committed to ensuring every Boeing airplane meets design specifications and the highest safety and quality standards. We regret the impact this has had on our customers and their passengers.

Just a week before the incident, the FAA asked airlines to inspect for loose bolts in a different part of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, in the rudder control system, after a maintenance check by an unnamed international airline revealed a bolt with no nut fastening it in place. (The New York Times)

“In previous decades, a popular slogan that company leaders frequently parroted was “If it ain’t Boeing, then I ain’t going.” These days, that could only be uttered with the deepest irony.” To read the rest of this article click here. BY LUKE GOLDSTEIN (The American Prospect)

And by now you might be wondering how “My Pilot Buddy” fits into this whole picture.

The year was 1989 and my husband, myself and our two young children attended a Calvary Chapel with a man, (a new Christian) named David Cronin. ‘Dave’ was a pilot for United Airlines and we became good friends with him and enjoyed skiing together and visiting with him. At the time we lived in North Lake Tahoe, Ca.

As a new Christian, Dave was usually at church every week but after about 6 months we noticed he was absent for a few weeks so I gave him a call just to visit, catch up, and see what he was up to. “Hey Dave what have you been up to lately we’ve missed you,” I asked and then he proceeded to tell me all that had transpired and when he did I could barely believe what I was hearing. He explained the situation of how he had left Honolulu on a flight headed to New Zealand but after a short while he was forced to turn the plane around due to disaster and engines not working and head back to the mainland and all that that entailed.

Dave shared how (paraphrasing here as it was 35 years ago) “parts of the plane’s metal siding had flown off due to faulty bolts/rivets.” etc. (This was early on after the accident occurred). He shared with great sorrow and grief how 9 people on the airplane (747 United Airlines flight 811) had been ‘ejected’ (seat and all) into the ocean (2 of whom were children). What he was telling me over the phone didn’t even seem real but I knew of course that it was. There was much that transpired after that time (some of which I will save for a subsequent article) but here is the gist of it,

Cronin then stated, “Boeing is under investigation concerning what happened to the airplane I was flying”.

In essence, even as far back as 1989 when my buddy was flying a United Airline airplane, built by Boeing, here we see (as you’ve read above) the same thread which weaves throughout Boeing’s history and that is the subject of faulty bolts, stripped bolts, bolts not properly installed, old, used bolts and a myriad of other bolt and other failures. And because we know that bolts are ‘inanimate objects’ we know that the fault lies with those in charge of such ‘said bolts’.

Our friend became a worldwide, famous hero because of that event and his story (despite the horrifying loss of lives) was a story of victory as (with God’s help) he was able to turn the plane around and get back to Honolulu where he saved the rest of the people onboard from ‘utter destruction’.

You can read here (via Wikipedia) the entire story concerning the destruction of the Boeing built airplane and Dave’s interview here as well.

In conclusion, (ironically) the CEO of Boeing just resigned and guess why? “The fallout from a Jan. 5 midair blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 prompted his departure, plans for which were announced Monday. Calhoun will step down at the end of 2024.”

You can read here and here; (Seattle Times)-

Boeing has hit a wall.

Continue to check back in with Montana 1st News as we expand Captain David Cronin’s account of that day.

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