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F35 is a 'turkey', says co-designer of F16, from Peter Myers

(1) F35 is a 'turkey', says co-designer of F16(2) Claims of Shoddy Production at Boeing 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina(1) F35 is a 'turkey', says co-designer of F16Another sign of imperial decline?Pierre Spray, co-designer of the F16, says that the F35 is a turkey, in this video (c. 20 minutes).Turkeys are not renowned for their flying abilities. Sprey says that the main problem is that the F35 has been designed to suit three different agencies: the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marines.But theses agencies have different needs. Eg the Marines want vertical-lift-off ability. But this makes the plane fatter, to allow for the lifting engine. Also, the wings are small, otherwise it can't lift. But small wings make it un-manoevrable.As a result of its multi-tasking, it does none of these roles properly, despite costing huge amounts of money.Sprey says that 'stealth' is a scam, just marketing hype. With the right type oif radar, stealth planes can be seen.Another issue is that the F35 is a single-engine plane. If one engine fails, down she goes. This may have caused the recent crash of one of Japan's F35s. Comparable Russian and European planes have two engines.Watch Pierre Sprey at Claims of Shoddy Production at Boeing 787 Dreamliner plant in South CarolinaBoeing cuts corners at 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina: Defective parts used, debris left on planes, pressure to not report violations of Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing JetWorkers at a 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina have complained of defective manufacturing, debris left on planes and pressure to not report violations.By Natalie Kitroeff and David GellesApril 20, 2019NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — When Boeing broke ground on its new factory near Charleston in 2009, the plant was trumpeted as a state-of-the-art manufacturing hub, building one of the most advanced aircraft in the world. But in the decade since, the factory, which makes the 787 Dreamliner, has been plagued by shoddy production and weak oversight that have threatened to compromise safety.A New York Times review of hundreds of pages of internal emails, corporate documents and federal records, as well as interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees, reveals a culture that often valued production speed over quality. Facing long manufacturing delays, Boeing pushed its work force to quickly turn out Dreamliners, at times ignoring issues raised by employees.Complaints about the frenzied pace echo broader concerns about the company in the wake of two deadly crashes involving another jet, the 737 Max. Boeing is now facing questions about whether the race to get the Max done, and catch up to its rival Airbus, led it to miss safety risks in the design, like an anti-stall system that played a role in both crashes.Safety lapses at the North Charleston plant have drawn the scrutiny of airlines and regulators. Qatar Airways stopped accepting planes from the factory after manufacturing mishaps damaged jets and delayed deliveries. Workers have filed nearly a dozen whistle-blower claims and safety complaints with federal regulators, describing issues like defective manufacturing, debris left on planes and pressure to not report violations. Others have sued Boeing, saying they were retaliated against for flagging manufacturing mistakes.Joseph Clayton, a technician at the North Charleston plant, one of two facilities where the Dreamliner is built, said he routinely found debris dangerously close to wiring beneath cockpits."I’ve told my wife that I never plan to fly on it," he said. "It’s just a safety issue."In an industry where safety is paramount, the collective concerns involving two crucial Boeing planes — the company’s workhorse, the 737 Max, and another crown jewel, the 787 Dreamliner — point to potentially systemic problems. Regulators and lawmakers are taking a deeper look at Boeing’s priorities, and whether profits sometimes trumped safety. The leadership of Boeing, one of the country’s largest exporters, now finds itself in the unfamiliar position of having to defend its practices and motivations. You have 3 free articles remaining. Subscribe to The Times"Boeing South Carolina teammates are producing the highest levels of quality in our history," Kevin McAllister, Boeing’s head of commercial airplanes, said in a statement. "I am proud of our teams’ exceptional commitment to quality and stand behind the work they do each and every day."All factories deal with manufacturing errors, and there is no evidence that the problems in South Carolina have led to any major safety incidents. The Dreamliner has never crashed, although the fleet was briefly grounded after a battery fire. Airlines, too, have confidence in the Dreamliner.But workers sometimes made dangerous mistakes, according to the current and former Boeing employees, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation.Faulty parts have been installed in planes. Tools and metal shavings have routinely been left inside jets, often near electrical systems. Aircraft have taken test flights with debris in an engine and a tail, risking failure.On several planes, John Barnett, a former quality manager who worked at Boeing for nearly three decades and retired in 2017, discovered clusters of metal slivers hanging over the wiring that commands the flight controls. If the sharp metal pieces — produced when fasteners were fitted into nuts — penetrate the wires, he said, it could be "catastrophic." John Barnett, a former Boeing quality manager, said bosses had refused his repeated efforts to deal with production issues. He has filed a whistle-blower complaint.CreditSwikar Patel for The New York Times Image John Barnett, a former Boeing quality manager, said bosses had refused his repeated efforts to deal with production issues. He has filed a whistle-blower complaint.CreditSwikar Patel for The New York TimesMr. Barnett, who filed a whistle-blower complaint with regulators, said he had repeatedly urged his bosses to remove the shavings. But they refused and moved him to another part of the plant.A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, Lynn Lunsford, said the agency had inspected several planes certified by Boeing as free of such debris and found those same metal slivers. In certain circumstances, he said, the problem can lead to electrical shorts and cause fires.Officials believe the shavings may have damaged an in-service airplane on one occasion in 2012, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.The F.A.A. issued a directive in 2017 requiring that Dreamliners be cleared of shavings before they are delivered. Boeing said it was complying and was working with the supplier to improve the design of the nut. But it has determined that the issue does not present a flight safety issue."As a quality manager at Boeing, you’re the last line of defense before a defect makes it out to the flying public," Mr. Barnett said. "And I haven’t seen a plane out of Charleston yet that I’d put my name on saying it’s safe and airworthy." ImageThe Daily Poster Listen to ‘The Daily’: The Whistle-Blowers at Boeing Problems at a plane factory in South Carolina led some workers to question whether safety was always the company’s first priority. 0:00/28:54Problems at a plane factory in South Carolina led some workers to question whether safety was always the company’s first priority.john barnett, known as swampyBoeing was the place. I mean, they were the place to work, you know? And oh my God, it was amazing — when I put that Boeing shirt on, how my chest puffed out. I’d walk into a store around here, and they’re like, oh, you work for Boeing? That is awesome. And thank you all so much. And you just mean so much to this area. And it was just awesome. And it’s just — [SIGHS] we don’t have that anymore here. Nobody does. I mean, everybody I talk to in Boeing, they’re embarrassed to work there, most times. It’s just — it’s gone.natalie kitroeffDid you ever expect to feel the way that you feel about the company now?swampyOh, absolutely not. Natalie, I still lose sleep every night. I just — I guess, I don’t know, I got a conscience or something, I don’t know. But I just — I have to get it addressed. That’s why I keep telling my story. Somebody’s got to step in and get it addressed.[music]michael barbaroAfter the two crashes of Boeing’s 737 Max jets, regulators and lawmakers began asking questions about whether the race to get that jet built and the competitive pressure may have led Boeing to miss safety risks in the plane’s design.archived recordingThe F.A.A. and Boeing say faulty sensors on new 737 Max jets can cause the plane to go into a steep dive.michael barbaroIn reporting that story, my colleague Natalie Kitroeff began to look into whether that pressure extends beyond the 737 Max. It’s Tuesday, April 23. Natalie, where does this story start?natalie kitroeffIn the wake of the two crashes of the 737 Max jet, we began looking into whether that frenzied pace, whether those pressures might have had an impact not just on the engineering decisions around the design of the aircraft at the highest levels, but whether it also plays out on the factory floor and affects the people who are actually building Boeing planes.michael barbaroBasically, is there a larger cultural issue here?natalie kitroeffThat’s the question we were asking. Then we hear from attorneys who are representing multiple whistle-blowers who work on the factory floor at Boeing. And it turns out that these whistle-blowers have been trying to get attention to these issues, to their concerns for a very long time. And any time you hear about there being several whistle-blowers with the same concerns at a company like Boeing, you pay attention.[music][phone rings]natalie kitroeffSo one of these whistleblowers was named John.swampyHello.natalie kitroeffHey, Swampy?swampyHey, how you doing, Natalie?natalie kitroeffOr Swampy.michael barbaroSwampy.natalie kitroeffHe goes by Swampy. It’s short for Swamp Dog.swampyYeah, one day I was at work just cutting up with some guys and one of them popped off, well, hell, you’re just a damn double swamp dog from the swamps of Louisiana. And it just stuck. [LAUGHS]natalie kitroeffSo I start talking to Swampy.natalie kitroeffCan I ask why you decided to become a whistle-blower?swampyWow. So that’s a lot — a lot.natalie kitroeffAnd that leads me to many other whistle-blowers.speakerWe’re not talking about cars. If your car breaks down, you can pull over to the side of the road. There is no pulling over.natalie kitroeffAnd ultimately —speakerThen, there’s other things about the plane, the actual material —natalie kitroeffMy colleague and I talk to more than a dozen current and former employees. And we review hundreds of pages of internal emails, company documents, federal records. We speak with the F.A.A. and with Boeing. And we begin to piece together an entirely new narrative about the way that manufacturing is done at Boeing that we never expected to find.archived recordingLadies and gentlemen, your 787 Dreamliner!natalie kitroeffSo it starts with the 787 Dreamliner, another of Boeing’s crown jewels.archived recording (barack obama)This is the first commercial airplane to be made with 50 percent composite materials.natalie kitroeffIt was unveiled in 2007. And it was Boeing’s most important offering in a generation.archived recording (barack obama)And it looks cool. [LAUGHTER]michael barbaroI remember reading about this plane. This had giant windows, the kind of unusually big nose. It was going to be the next big thing in airlines.natalie kitroeffOh, yeah.swampyOh, that was the news of the month. New airplane, new technology, state-of-the-art.natalie kitroeffAnd for a while, it was.swampyThat was our future, absolutely. That’s why it’s the Dreamliner, because it’s our future. Fully composite, carbon fiber-reinforced —natalie kitroeffIt was a big deal.archived recordingThe fortunes of the Boeing company are flying on the wings of the Dreamliner. So any word of a delay is not going to be well-received on Wall Street.natalie kitroeffBut pretty quickly, the 787 program begins to run into problems.archived recording 1So it is delaying this. And Boeing’s saying, in fact, it’s not going to know, even for the next few weeks, when it is going to reschedule —archived recording 2Well, now, the company is dealing with two new 787 incidents in the past two days.archived recording 3Yet another delay for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. The U.S. plane maker pushed back the schedule for the fourth time.natalie kitroeffTo the point where Boeing begins to get a bit concerned about whether it’s going to meet the deadlines that it set for the program.archived recordingElsewhere, a confident Boeing is going to build a second plant to make its 787 Dreamliner.natalie kitroeffSo Boeing decides it’s going to open a brand new factory.michael barbaroAnd how big a deal is that for Boeing?natalie kitroeffThis is a huge deal for Boeing. Boeing has been making its commercial aircraft in two factories in Washington. This would be a foray into a new state, a new assembly line. You’re talking a manufacturing hub that needs to be state-of-the-art, that can manufacture one of the most advanced aircraft in the world, a major investment both in real estate and in jobs.[music]michael barbaroAnd where they end up building the facility?archived recordingDo I even need to say it is a great day in South Carolina?natalie kitroeffThey pick Charleston, South Carolina.archived recordingWe are telling the entire world that we build things in South Carolina. We build cars. We build tires. And now we build dreams. Big, mack daddy, 787 dreams.natalie kitroeffThe issue is that Boeing has promised to create 3,800 local jobs. But Charleston doesn’t have the thriving aerospace workforce that you would see in Washington, where Boeing has nurtured generations of aircraft builders. And they bring people like Swampy, managers from the Washington area, over to Charleston to get things started.swampyI’m originally from Louisiana. I’m a Louisiana boy, so when they opened up the Boeing South Carolina plant, looked at it as a great opportunity, not only get closer to my family, but to help build it from the ground up. So I wanted to be a part of that.natalie kitroeffWas the culture of the factory in Charleston the same as the culture of the factory in Washington?swampyOh, absolutely not. It’s like night and day. They hired a lot of people from the South Carolina state that really had no experience with building airplanes, and building commercial airplanes, and understanding what procedures were, and the criticality of them. So that was the big difference I saw was they just didn’t have the experience down here.natalie kitroeffSo they are furiously trying to train all of these new workers. But they’re really far behind on the 787 program, years behind. Eventually, the plane comes out. But a couple years later, they run into a problem.archived recordingThe F.A.A. suddenly announced they are grounding the Dreamliner.natalie kitroeffThe F.A.A. grounds the fleet after a problem with batteries overheating that could cause a fire.archived recordingIt’s grounded until it can prove to the federal government that the airline has fixed the problem with a battery that continues to overheat.natalie kitroeffThey come up with a fix, but what I am learning from people like Swampy, from the more than a dozen current and former employees that we talk to, is that the batteries weren’t the only problem — that there was pressure on the factory floor that was creating a litany of other issues.[music]natalie kitroeffWhat was your title when you moved to Charleston?swampyQuality manager, multifamily quality manager.natalie kitroeffSo as a quality control manager, part of Swampy’s job was to check the insides of planes to make sure that, as workers are building the planes, nothing is left behind, no debris is left inside the aircraft.swampySo I was called out to the airplane to look at an issue. And that’s where we discovered all this debris, these three-inch-long titanium slivers laying around. It’s just debris everywhere.natalie kitroeffAnd while he’s doing these inspections, he begins to notice that there are clusters of metal slivers that are hanging over the wires that control the plane.swampyThe risk here is these metal slivers will migrate into a power panel, any kind of power, any kind of electronic equipment, and short it out and cause a fire. And if it’s at 40,000 feet, that’s a problem.natalie kitroeffIs this normal?swampyNo. No. Absolutely not. This is a first.natalie kitroeffAnd so he brings the issue to his managers. And he says, we need to clean this.swampyI physically showed him the airplane. I took pictures, sent him pictures. And a peer of mine walked in on the conversation. And he was telling my peer, you need to go inspect line 230. I said, that’s what we just looked at. These are the pictures I sent you. I said, I won’t sign off on it. I won’t accept it. So I was removed from it.natalie kitroeffSo you’re saying, you alerted your manager to the debris that you found on this plane. And in response, he took you off the plane and gave it to someone else to inspect.swampyYes, that’s correct.natalie kitroeffDid that ever get cleaned?swampyIt was delivered without being cleaned.natalie kitroeffAnd it’s not just the metal slivers on these planes. Swampy and several other employees at Boeing have said that there is a ton of stuff that is being left inside of the aircrafts — nuts, bolts, fasteners, rags, bubble wrap, trash, tools. And it’s not just in the build process. They’re finding this stuff on the flight line as the planes are being prepared for delivery.michael barbaroAnd when you say inside the plane, you mean inside the guts, the machinery of the plane, not the passenger parts of the plane.natalie kitroeffRight, it’s inside the bowels of the aircraft. So we heard this story of a representative for American Airlines who found a bolt, a stray bolt, inside of an engine. And this was on a plane that had already gone up for a test flight with Boeing pilots. We heard about a ladder inside of a tail of a plane that had also already gone up for a test flight. The workers pointed to these as examples of shoddy, sometimes sloppy workmanship. We heard, for example, of a technician who found chewing gum holding together the lining of a door. Just a cosmetic issue, but again, sloppiness. With some of the objects, though, there were safety risks, employees said. And I asked Swampy about all this.natalie kitroeffSwampy, I think some people might hear a lot of the stuff that you saw and say, look, it sounds like a lot of that is sloppy. But maybe it doesn’t affect safety. What would you say to that?swampyI’d say, probably about 60 percent of the stuff, I would agree. It’s sloppy. But just shooting from the hip, I mean, 40 percent of this is critical stuff. I mean, look, you got metal shavings floating around the electronics equipment.natalie kitroeffIf you’ve ever put your head against the window of an airplane, you know how much a plane vibrates while it’s flying. Imagine then, a bolt, or a ladder, or these metal shavings vibrating near wiring or near critical parts of the plane. That bolt, had it migrated inside of the engine, it could have caused the engine to malfunction.[music]natalie kitroeffSo Swampy sees this pressure for speed resulting in all of this sloppiness. But he’s even more troubled by something else he’s seeing as a reflection of this culture.swampySo let me tell you this. Let me tell you kind of what’s going on. So I was assigned to M.R.S.A., quality manager of M.R.S.A.natalie kitroeffSwampy, at a certain point, is in charge of the area of the factory that houses defective parts. And he says that hundreds of defective parts are going missing, with no record of where they’ve gone.swampySo basically, they’re just gone. And we tried to figure out who took them, where they went. We had no idea where they went. We just don’t know.natalie kitroeffAnd he suspects and fears that they are ending up on airplanes.swampyI think it’s highly likely they’re on airplanes, absolutely.natalie kitroeffThose fears are confirmed in a particularly troubling episode.swampySo I was actually out of office that day. And I come in, I don’t know, it was the next day or the day after. And my team started telling me about it. One of my inspectors was telling me, hey, this is what happened. And there was three of us here. And we tried to tell him he couldn’t do it.natalie kitroeffWhere he hears from the inspectors who report to him that a manager has come in to that area for defective parts, taken a defective, a dented hydraulic tube out of that area, given it to another manager who installed it on an airplane.michael barbaroA Dreamliner.natalie kitroeffA Dreamliner.swampyAnd like three of my inspectors jumped up and said, no, you cannot do that. That’s a serious process violation. And he basically told them the same thing. Don’t worry about it.natalie kitroeffIs the hydraulic tube, is it essential to the plane?swampyOh, yeah, because, yeah, the hydraulics is what operates your flaps, and your slats, and anything that requires hydraulic movement, which is typically all your flight control systems. Yeah, that’s where your hydraulic flumes go.natalie kitroeffThe reason that his inspectors know that this happened is that it looks as though someone has unsuccessfully tried to rub off the red paint that is on this part. There’s red paint on the part because it’s defective. That is meant to signal, do not install this part on a plane.michael barbaroSo someone went into that pile of red-painted, defective stuff, grabbed something out, tried to disguise it as non-defective, non-red, and had it installed in the plane.natalie kitroeffBoeing said that it investigated this issue and did not substantiate Swampy’s claims. But Swampy says it wasn’t just anybody that did this. It was a senior manager. Someone above Swampy has done this. And so he calls that person, he says, and he says —swampyHey, I’m hearing that you did this. Is it true?natalie kitroeffDid that happen?swampyAnd he said, yup, I did. And don’t you worry about it. I got it taken care of.natalie kitroeffThat manager said it did, and let it go. We have it handled.[music]natalie kitroeffAnd again, Swampy submitted a complaint about this issue to the F.A.A. The F.A.A. investigated and found that defective parts had gone missing.swampySo now you’re getting into the culture at Charleston, right? And the culture here is push the planes out. Just find a way. Get ‘em out. Get ‘em out.natalie kitroeffRemember that in this factory, there is a huge amount of pressure to produce these planes as fast as possible. And if you don’t have the part that you need to finish the job, just one job on the airplane, that holds you back. That holds the whole production line back. And so, if it’s easier and faster to just go grab a defective part and put it on the plane, that might be what you do in that scenario.swampyIn fact, I had one senior manager one day tell me that — actually, there was a few of us standing around talking about inspection, and he said, we don’t need inspectors. These planes are too smart to fall out the sky. It’s like, oh my God, with that mentality running the show down here? That’s scary.natalie kitroeffAnd Swampy, were managers rewarded for production?swampyYes, actually, it’s almost measured hourly at times. I mean, yeah, there’s a lot of pressure to meet schedule.natalie kitroeffAnd folks are getting — managers are getting judged by their superiors based on an hourly —swampyThe number of jobs they get sold, yes.natalie kitroeffBased on an hourly count of the work that they’re doing, of the jobs that they complete and get approved by quality inspectors.swampyExactly, exactly. And it’s held against them if they create defects. So there is an incentive not to report your defect that you created, because it’s going to be held against you.[music]michael barbaroWhat does Boeing say about this idea that there is a conflict between the safety that they proclaim and the on-the-ground pressures that you’re describing from employees to get these planes out the door?natalie kitroeffBoeing pushes back on the idea that there is a cultural problem. They reject that notion altogether. In response to our reporting, Boeing insisted that safety is its number one priority and said, we prioritize safety and quality over speed. But all three can be accomplished while still producing one of the safest airplanes flying today. And to be clear, the 787 Dreamliner has never crashed. It has a pristine safety record. And there’s no evidence that any of the problems that we document has led to major safety incidents. But since the crashes of those two 737 Max jets, the question that is being raised by lawmakers, by regulators, and by employees within Boeing is whether those three factors, safety, quality and speed, are always in balance — or whether sometimes, the competitive pressures that exist at the highest levels of this company are bearing down not just on the engineers as they design how this aircraft is going to work, but also on the factory floor, on the people who are responsible for assembling and manufacturing these aircraft. Does the push to produce sometimes lead senior-level managers to overlook or ignore or sometimes dismiss the concerns raised by the people who are making these planes.swampyI just think it’s critically important that the activities going on within Boeing are made aware to the people whose lives could be affected. I mean, look at the 737 Max. I mean, those lives and those families. And as a quality manager at Boeing, you’re the last line of defense before a defect makes it out to the flying public. So as a quality manager, being the last line of defense, that’s a huge responsibility. Everything I put my name on, I’m certifying that it meets the requirements, the regulatory requirements, is in safe, airworthy condition. And I haven’t seen a plane out of Charleston yet that I’d put my name on that’s saying it’s safe and airworthy.[music]natalie kitroeffSwampy is just one employee. But he retired a couple of years ago because of the pressure that he felt to not report violations.natalie kitroeffI think a lot of people listening to this may have flights booked on 787s. And I wonder what you would tell them.swampyWell, I would say just — I mean, what could I say? I mean, just understand what you’re getting into. I mean, understand that just because it’s a brand new airplane from Boeing don’t mean that it was built right.natalie kitroeffWould you fly on a 787 Dreamliner out of Charleston?swampyNo, ma’am. You couldn’t pay me. Uh-uh.natalie kitroeffSwampy, thank you.swampyYou’re welcome.[music]michael barbaroWe’ll be right back.[music]michael barbaroHere’s what else you need to know today.archived recordingThis is a very sad moment. This is a very cowardly attack. And it is not just an attack. It’s a very gross, gruesome attack on humanity.michael barbaroLess than a month after the crash of the second 737 Max jet, Boeing called North Charleston employees to an urgent meeting. The company had a problem: Customers were finding random objects in new planes.A senior manager implored workers to check more carefully, invoking the crashes. "The company is going through a very difficult time right now," he said, according to two employees who were present and spoke on the condition of anonymity.So-called foreign object debris is a common issue in aviation. Employees are supposed to clean the bowels of the aircraft as they work, often with a vacuum, so they don’t accidentally contaminate the planes with shavings, tools, parts or other items.But debris has remained a persistent problem in South Carolina. In an email this month, Brad Zaback, the head of the 787 program, reminded the North Charleston staff that stray objects left inside planes "can potentially have serious safety consequences when left unchecked."The issue has cost Boeing at other plants. In March, the Air Force halted deliveries of the KC-46 tanker, built in Everett, Wash., after finding a wrench, bolts and trash inside new planes."To say it bluntly, this is unacceptable," Will Roper, an assistant secretary of the Air Force, told a congressional subcommittee in March. "Our flight lines are spotless. Our depots are spotless, because debris translates into a safety issue."Boeing said it was working to address the issue with the Air Force, which resumed deliveries this month.At the North Charleston plant, the current and former workers describe a losing battle with debris."I’ve found tubes of sealant, nuts, stuff from the build process," said Rich Mester, a former technician who reviewed planes before delivery. Mr. Mester was fired, and a claim was filed on his behalf with the National Labor Relations Board over his termination. "They’re supposed to have been inspected for this stuff, and it still makes it out to us."Employees have found a ladder and a string of lights left inside the tails of planes, near the gears of the horizontal stabilizer. "It could have locked up the gears," Mr. Mester said.Dan Ormson, who worked for American Airlines until retiring this year, regularly found debris while inspecting Dreamliners in North Charleston, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.Mr. Ormson discovered loose objects touching electrical wiring and rags near the landing gear. He often collected bits and pieces in zip-lock bags to show one of the plant’s top executives, Dave Carbon.The debris can create hazardous situations. One of the people said Mr. Ormson had once found a piece of Bubble Wrap near the pedal the co-pilot uses to control the plane’s direction, which could have jammed midflight.On a Dreamliner that Boeing had already given a test flight, Mr. Ormson saw that a bolt was loose inside one of the engines. The small piece of metal could have caused the engine to malfunction.American Airlines said it conducted rigorous inspections of new planes before putting them into service. "We have confidence in the 787s we have in our fleet," said Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the airline.When it was unveiled in 2007, the 787 Dreamliner was Boeing’s most important new plane in a generation. The wide-body jet, with a lightweight carbon fiber fuselage and advanced technology, was a hit with carriers craving fuel savings.Airlines ordered hundreds of the planes, which cost upward of $200 million each. Spurred by high demand, Boeing set up a new factory.North Charleston was ideal in many ways. South Carolina has the lowest percentage of union representation in the nation, giving Boeing a potentially less expensive work force.South Carolina doled out nearly $1 billion in tax incentives, including $33 million to train local workers. Boeing pledged to create 3,800 jobs.While Boeing has nurtured generations of aerospace professionals in the Seattle area, there was no comparable work force in South Carolina. Instead, managers had to recruit from technical colleges in Tulsa, Okla., and Atlanta.Managers were also urged to not hire unionized employees from the Boeing factory in Everett, where the Dreamliner is also made, according to two former employees."They didn’t want us bringing union employees out to a nonunion area," said David Kitson, a former quality manager, who oversaw a team responsible for ensuring that planes are safe to fly."We struggled with that," said Mr. Kitson, who retired in 2015. "There wasn’t the qualified labor pool locally." Another former manager, Michael Storey, confirmed his account.The 787 was already running years behind schedule because of manufacturing hiccups and supplier delays. The labor shortages in North Charleston only made it worse.The initial excitement when the first Dreamliners entered service in late 2011 was short lived. A little more than a year later, the entire fleet was grounded after a battery fire on a Japan Airlines plane.Boeing was forced to compensate carriers, hurting profit. All the while, the production delays mounted, and Airbus was close behind with a rival plane, the A350.In North Charleston, the time crunch had consequences. Hundreds of tools began disappearing, according to complaints filed in 2014 with the F.A.A. by two former managers, Jennifer Jacobsen and David McClaughlin. Some were "found lying around the aircraft," Ms. Jacobsen said in her complaint.The two managers also said they had been pushed to cover up delays. Managers told employees to install equipment out of order to make it "appear to Boeing executives in Chicago, the aircraft purchasers and Boeing’s shareholders that the work is being performed on schedule, where in fact the aircraft is far behind schedule," according to their complaints.The F.A.A. investigated the complaints and didn’t find violations on its visit to the plant in early 2014. But the agency said it had previously found "improper tool control" and the "presence of foreign object debris."Both managers left after they were accused of inaccurately approving the time sheets of employees who did not report to them. They both claim they were retaliated against for flagging violations. Through their lawyer, Rob Turkewitz, they declined to comment.Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for Boeing, said, "We prioritize safety and quality over speed, but all three can be accomplished while still producing one of the safest airplanes flying today."Planes were also damaged during manufacturing. A Dreamliner built for American Airlines suffered a flood in the cabin so severe that seats, ceiling panels, carpeting and electronics had to be replaced in a weekslong process.While inspecting a plane being prepared for delivery, Mr. Clayton, the technician currently at the plant, recently found chewing gum holding together part of a door’s trim. "It was not a safety issue, but it’s not what you want to present to a customer," he said.An employee filed a complaint about the gum with the F.A.A. The agency is investigating, an F.A.A. official said.[If you’ve worked at Boeing and want to discuss your experience, reach us confidentially here.]The disarray frustrated one major carrier. In 2014, factory employees were told to watch a video from the chief executive of Qatar Airways.He chastised the North Charleston workers, saying he was upset that Boeing wasn’t being transparent about the length or cause of delays. In several instances, workers had damaged the exterior of planes made for the airline, requiring Boeing to push back delivery to fix the jets.Ever since, Qatar has bought only Dreamliners built in Everett.In a statement, Qatar Airways said it "continues to be a long-term supporter of Boeing and has full confidence in all its aircraft and manufacturing facilities."In the interest of meeting deadlines, managers sometimes played down or ignored problems, according to current and former workers.Mr. Barnett, the former quality manager, who goes by Swampy in a nod to his Louisiana roots, learned in 2016 that a senior manager had pulled a dented hydraulic tube from a scrap bin, he said. He said the tube, part of the central system controlling the plane’s movement, was installed on a Dreamliner.Mr. Barnett said the senior manager had told him, "Don’t worry about it." He filed a complaint with human resources, company documents show.He also reported to management that defective parts had gone missing, raising the prospect that they had been installed in planes. His bosses, he said, told him to finish the paperwork on the missing parts without figuring out where they had gone.The F.A.A. investigated and found that Boeing had lost some damaged parts. Boeing said that as a precautionary matter, it had sent notices to airlines about the issue. The company said it had also investigated the flawed hydraulic tube and hadn’t substantiated Mr. Barnett’s claims. Cynthia Kitchens, a former quality manager at the plant, said her superiors penalized her in performance reviews after she flagged wire bundles rife with metal shavings and defective metal parts that had been installed on planes.CreditSwikar Patel for The New York Times Image Cynthia Kitchens, a former quality manager at the plant, said her superiors penalized her in performance reviews after she flagged wire bundles rife with metal shavings and defective metal parts that had been installed on planes.CreditSwikar Patel for The New York Times"Safety issues are immediately investigated, and changes are made wherever necessary," said the Boeing spokesman, Mr. Johndroe.But several former employees said high-level managers pushed internal quality inspectors to stop recording defects.Cynthia Kitchens, a former quality manager, said her superiors penalized her in performance reviews and berated her on the factory floor after she flagged wire bundles rife with metal shavings and defective metal parts that had been installed on planes."It was intimidation," she said. "Every time I started finding stuff, I was harassed."Ms. Kitchens left in 2016 and sued Boeing for age and sex discrimination. The case was dismissed.Some employees said they had been punished or fired when they voiced concerns.Mr. Barnett was reprimanded in 2014 for documenting errors. In a performance review seen by The Times, a senior manager downgraded him for "using email to express process violations," instead of engaging "F2F," or face to face.He took that to mean he shouldn’t put problems in writing. The manager said Mr. Barnett needed to get better at "working in the gray areas and help find a way while maintaining compliance."Liam Wallis, a former quality manager, said in a wrongful-termination lawsuit that Boeing had fired him after he discovered that planes were being manufactured using obsolete engineering specifications. Mr. Wallis also said in the suit, filed in March, that an employee who didn’t exist had signed off on the repairs of an aircraft.His boss had criticized him in the past for writing up violations, according to the lawsuit and emails reviewed by The Times. Boeing said it had fired Mr. Wallis for falsifying documents.Through his lawyers, Mr. Wallis declined to comment for this article. Boeing has denied his claims and moved to dismiss the case.In North Charleston, the pace of production has quickened. Starting this year, Boeing is producing 14 Dreamliners a month, split between North Charleston and Everett, up from the previous 12. At the same time, Boeing said it was eliminating about a hundred quality control positions in North Charleston."They’re trying to shorten the time of manufacturing," said Mr. Mester, the former mechanic. "But are you willing to sacrifice the safety of our product to maximize profit?"[The reporters on this article can be reached at and]Sheelagh McNeill contributed research. A version of this article appears in print on April 21, 2019, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Safety Concerns Plague Boeing Dreamliner Plant.