Aljazeera claims 737NG structurally unsafe

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Old Apr 2, 11, 3:17 pm
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Aljazeera claims 737NG structurally unsafe

I haven't found a reference to this on the forum - and moderators should feel free to merge or move if this should better be located elsewhere.

Aljazeera claims in an one-hour broadcast (probably first aired late 2010) that 737NG use structural parts that have been produced outside design specifications, leading to a weakened fuselage structure and increased corrosion problems.

Here is a link to the full broadcast on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaWdEtANi-0

I take this with a huge grain of salt, given the origin, but the documentation appears to be very well researched, a lot of facts are presented and they also give Boeing's opposing view. I must admit, it DOES worry me.

So I would ask those with more knowledge about aircraft than I have to comment. However, please refrain from comments if you did not watch the Aljazeera documentation. Thank you.
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Old Apr 2, 11, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by colonius View Post
Aljazeera claims

...



I take this with a huge grain of salt, given the origin
May I ask why?
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Old Apr 2, 11, 4:44 pm
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Al Jazeera is probably the only network in the world not influenced by corporate America? Maybe thats why? :P

No American network would even have the balls to even investigate this, regardless of which point of view one takes on this.
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Old Apr 2, 11, 4:47 pm
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And that is why I asked... Al Jazeera is often to seen by many to have more credibility and investigative ability than American media.
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Old Apr 2, 11, 6:16 pm
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Well researched and pretty fair.

One thing that stood out to me, while the 3 crashes they highlighted did in fact all involve 737's, there was one factor that all three of them also had in common that I didn't see mentioned, and that is that each of those incidents happened in bad weather. How much of a factor that will be will be determined when the final reports are published, but that jumped out at me personally. FWIW, I will still fly on a Boeing any day before I get on a "ScareBus".

Also, since the 737 is in such wide use around the world, the number of incidents involving 737's will be higher than others if for no other reason other than that there are simply more of them flying. But the overall rate of accidents involving the 737 is one of the lowest in the industry.
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Old Apr 2, 11, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by TSO1973 View Post
I will still fly on a Boeing any day before I get on a "ScareBus".
Why?
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Old Apr 2, 11, 7:14 pm
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Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
Al Jazeera is probably the only network in the world not influenced by corporate America? Maybe thats why? :P

No American network would even have the balls to even investigate this, regardless of which point of view one takes on this.
+1
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Old Apr 2, 11, 9:13 pm
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There are so many reasons why the cases cited by Al-Ja has gone wrong. They haven't proved anything but just amassing data and draws conclusion. It's like saying: see, 747s crashed a few times, so conclusion, 747s are not safe.

The 737s are flying everywhere in the world at very high frequency. If the assumption by Al-Ja is true, then shouldn't we see more 737s dropping off the sky rather than just a few cases?

I would rather think that these cases it's mostly due to poor maintenance. A plane is only as good as the airline's willingness to keep it in shape. If airlines ignore warning signs like fatigue metal, cracks, skip maintenance cycles to save some money, then it's no wonder they will have structural problems. Since most airlines that buy 737s are discount airlines, I am not surprise things happened. Like the recent Southwest 737 incident. Southwest has been fined before on sloppy maintenance on its planes, and looks like they are at it again.
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Old Apr 2, 11, 10:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Cathay Boy View Post
Since most airlines that buy 737s are discount airlines,
yeah, and Al-Jazeera is the one that makes their own conclusions

Here are just some of the "discount" operators of 737 NG

Qantas
Austrian
SAS
Jet Airways
El Al
Malaysia
Royal Air Maroc
KLM
Turkish
Alaska
Continental
American
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Old Apr 2, 11, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Cathay Boy View Post
There are so many reasons why the cases cited by Al-Ja has gone wrong. They haven't proved anything but just amassing data and draws conclusion. It's like saying: see, 747s crashed a few times, so conclusion, 747s are not safe.
They began by talking to Boeing technical auditors that were sent to conduct an investigation at Ducommun. Boeing did an on-site inspection of this supplier because they the components they were receiving were "non-conforming" - wrong angles, shape, size, holes, whatever -- basically out of tolerance to the point they often wouldn't fit where they were supposed to be placed in the aircraft. These parts were expected to have been created with a precision CNC router - a device which typically does not have problems with tolerance unless it's broken or the operator isn't competent. Thus, auditors had reason to believe something was very wrong at Ducommun. The 737NG is only certified as airworthy if it's using those components created with the CNC process per the FAA approved design plan. These facts don't seem to be debated by anyone.

The plot thickens:
The auditors said they discovered that the supplier did not use a CNC machine to create the parts; rather they were being hand-made by crudely applying a template sketch on stock metal with a sharpie pen and then cutting and drilling to create the final product. Since all components Boeing had previously installed in their aircraft had certification that they were created from a CNC router the auditors realized that the supplier had been falsifying those reports. They said the supplier provided access to the true records confirming the deception. There doesn't seem to be much doubt that this was indeed the case; there are photographs and documents showing the parts were not created in the manner the supplier said they were. That evidence, combined with testimony, internal Boeing memos and the problems during assembly that prompted the investigation in the first place seem fairly convincing: Ducommun was using a "Rosie the Riveter" type of production method that created components with the same tolerances you'd find on WWII era vintage aircraft.

And now to your point that the program was speculative and had no proof of safety issues: I believe they did point to enough evidence that it seems reasonable to believe that many 737NGs are flying with Ducommun made components, and that those parts of the airframe are not airworthy (basically not certified for the weights and altitudes that the FAA has approved them for). It doesn't mean that they'll fall out the sky they moment they hit their flight ceiling or the first time the plane hits a bump, it only means that the actual strength and reliability of each airframe is completely unknown. Safe? Unsafe? Nobody can say.

Now the conspiracies theories:
If you're Boeing, you realize you have a multi-billion dollar liability on your hands that will bankrupt your company 10 times over if you actually had to tear apart and inspect or rebuild all the suspect aircraft. So, you bury the reports, fire anyone involved, call in all your favors and unleash your lawyers with all the political power you have as a major defense contractor to make it all go away. (The program suggested that's exactly what they were doing).

If you're the government, you realize that one of your biggest defense suppliers has a problem that could bankrupt them and jeopardize the delivery of multi-billion dollar aircraft and weapons programs -- as well as put hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work. You shake your head, call them idiots in a scathing private email to their CEO and then help them clear their name by closing all investigations and declining all further comment.

If you're an airline and you find out that all of your aircraft were built with suspect components, what can you do? Boeing won't give you all new planes, and you can't raise a stink about it to anyone without causing a mass panic and decimating public confidence in your airline. You accept the apology discount Boeing gives you on your next order, go home, have a huge glass of wine and hope nothing happens.

Boeing, like AIG, is "Too Big to Fail(tm)"
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Old Apr 3, 11, 1:07 am
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Aljazeera is somewhat late to the party. These allegations came out years ago, and was discussed by the pilots over at pprune.org on this archived thread (note 2005 date). Didn't seem to get much traction with the pilots or anybody else back then. Seemed to be a lot of pooh-poohing because the source was a noted left-wing magazine, Mother Jones. More from the pilots' forum archives from 2006 here.

I'm inclined to believe it's all true, too many former witnesses (workers) who saw the output and what was done. It is very worrisome, as sins like this catch up with companies sooner or later, in very terrible fashion. For me, the mystery is what are the affected airlines doing about these allegations, if anything.
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Old Apr 3, 11, 1:16 am
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Originally Posted by colonius View Post
I haven't found a reference to this on the forum - and moderators should feel free to merge or move if this should better be located elsewhere.

Aljazeera claims in an one-hour broadcast (probably first aired late 2010) that 737NG use structural parts that have been produced outside design specifications, leading to a weakened fuselage structure and increased corrosion problems.

Here is a link to the full broadcast on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaWdEtANi-0

I take this with a huge grain of salt, given the origin, but the documentation appears to be very well researched, a lot of facts are presented and they also give Boeing's opposing view. I must admit, it DOES worry me.

So I would ask those with more knowledge about aircraft than I have to comment. However, please refrain from comments if you did not watch the Aljazeera documentation. Thank you.
I missed the Aljazeera story and I don't have the time to view it, but I reject your call to withhold comments based on viewing status. My concern surrounds your statement that you take the conclusions of the Aljazeera documentary, presumably the People and Power programme, with a huge grain of salt. Should we presume that you do so because of personal feelings of bias toward the non-white controlled media, or is it due to personal feelings of bias specifically toward a media outlet that is Arab owned?
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Old Apr 3, 11, 1:26 am
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The last time I watched Al Jazeera was right after the flotilla incident with Israel. During their description of what happened, they claimed that Israeli soldiers purposefully shot an unarmed man on the ship with the intent to kill him. The soldier did this while repelling from a helicopter. With sniper precision (that's a quote). Apparently, this was a perfectly acceptable description - never mind that this is obviously impossible to have such precision while moving on an unstable rope from a helicopter.

If you think that Al Jazeera is any more independent and balanced than CNN or Fox, you're kidding yourself.

As much as you may not trust corporate America, it is clearly not in their financial best interest to produce an unsafe product.
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Old Apr 3, 11, 5:10 am
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Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
yeah, and Al-Jazeera is the one that makes their own conclusions

Here are just some of the "discount" operators of 737 NG

Qantas
Austrian
SAS
Jet Airways
El Al
Malaysia
Royal Air Maroc
KLM
Turkish
Alaska
Continental
American
I'm not saying ONLY discount airlines buy them, but it's a fact 737s are a favor of discount airlines (Southwest only buys 737s.)

Also, Alaska Airlines? You kidding me? They have been cited so many times in the past for worst plane maintenance that they are on my Do-Not-Fly-List.
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Old Apr 3, 11, 6:52 am
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Originally Posted by colonius View Post
I take this with a huge grain of salt, given the origin, but the documentation appears to be very well researched, a lot of facts are presented and they also give Boeing's opposing view. I must admit, it DOES worry me.[/B]
The Al Jazeera news channel is actually a very high quality channel. The website, not as much. This was a very interesting, and sadly kind of believable.
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