[Cory Barnes from Vancouver, WA, United States, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

A Second Boeing Whistleblower Has Suddenly Died

Another whistleblower about Boeing has suddenly died. He is the second whistleblower connected to the troubled airline manufacturing company to die in recent months

The Seattle Times reports that “Joshua Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems and one of the first whistleblowers to allege Spirit leadership had ignored manufacturing defects on the 737 MAX, died Tuesday morning after a struggle with a sudden, fast-spreading infection. 

Known as Josh, Dean lived in Wichita, Kan., where Spirit is based. He was 45, had been in good health and was noted for having a healthy lifestyle.

He died after two weeks in critical condition, his aunt Carol Parsons said.

Dean had given a deposition in a Spirit shareholder lawsuit and also filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration alleging ‘serious and gross misconduct by senior quality management of the 737 production line’ at Spirit.”

Dean was terminated by Spirit in April 2023, prompting him to lodge a complaint with the Department of Labor, asserting that his dismissal was retaliatory due to his voiced concerns regarding the company’s safety standards.

In March, John Barnett, a former employee of Boeing, who had launched his own whistleblower lawsuit against the company, was found dead in a hotel room in South Carolina. In the days before his death, he had been providing evidence against the company, raising concerns for its production standards. 

Speaking to ABC News 4, wrote Newsweek, “Jennifer, who didn’t give a surname and was described by the network as a ‘close family friend’ of Barnett, claimed he told her not to believe any reports of his suicide some time before his death.

She claimed he insisted ‘I ain’t scared’ before adding ‘but if anything happens to me it’s not suicide.’

Jennifer said: ‘I know he did not commit suicide there’s no way. He loved life too much, he loved his family too much, he loved his brothers too much to put them through what they’re going through right nowI think somebody didn’t like what he had to say and wanted to shut him up and didn’t want it to come back on anyone so that’s why they made it look like a suicide.’

Barnett was in the midst of a legal dispute related to his whistleblowing when he died. In a statement his lawyers, Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles, said there was ‘no indication’ he would take his own life.”

Police claimed that Barnett died from a “self-inflicted gun shot wound” on March 9.

Boeing has had a rough year so far. 

In the first week of 2024,” NPR reported, a Boeing 737 Max 9 passenger jet lost a rear door plug in midflight, terrifying people on board. The large door plug plummeted into the backyard of a high school science teacher in Portland, [Oregon]. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered the grounding of similarly configured Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft for weeks.

“This incident should have never happened and it cannot happen again,” the FAA said at the time.

The news hasn’t gotten much better for Boeing, whose reputation was already tarnished by deadly crashes of its 737 Max 8 jets in 2018 and 2019, and a host of problems with its 787 Dreamliner a decade ago.

Though commercial air travel is still very safe overall, Boeing now faces renewed questions over its ability to meet quality and safety standards. Many of the same questions also center on the FAA’s oversight of Boeing and the corporation’s cozy relationship with the U.S. government, from the U.S. role in helping Boeing sell planes on the international market to its status as a major employer and military contractor.

With doors flying off during a flight, bolts being loose, and wheels coming undone, Boeing has been faced with huge questions by federal leaders. The New York Times noted that “a six-week audit by the Federal Aviation Administration of Boeing’s production of the 737 Max jet found dozens of problems throughout the manufacturing process at the plane maker and one of its key suppliers, according to a slide presentation reviewed by The New York Times.

The air-safety regulator initiated the examination after a door panel blew off a 737 Max 9 during an Alaska Airlines flight in early January. Last week, the agency announced that the audit had found “multiple instances” in which Boeing and the supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, failed to comply with quality-control requirements, though it did not provide specifics about the findings.

For the portion of the examination focused on Boeing, the FAA conducted 89 product audits, a type of review that looks at aspects of the production process. The plane maker passed 56 of the audits and failed 33 of them, with a total of 97 instances of alleged noncompliance, according to the presentation.

The FAA also conducted 13 product audits for the part of the inquiry that focused on Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the fuselage, or body, of the 737 Max. Six of those audits resulted in passing grades, and seven resulted in failing ones, the presentation said.”

Last February, the FAA gave the company 90 days to create a plan for quality-control improvements.

This article originally appeared on New Conservative Post. Used with Permission.

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