Boeing has recently come under fire again as engineer, Sam Salehpour came forward with claims that excessive force was applied to fit panels together on the 787 assembly line, raising the risk of fatigue or microscopic cracking in the material that could cause it to break apart.

On Monday, April 16th, a two-hour presentation was held with reporters and two Boeing engineering managers who detailed the company’s stress and safety tests for the 787, which include testing the plane for 165,000 cycles, each meant to provide an equivalent of a flight, with varying conditions. In addition, the fuselage skin was struck by a 300-pound pendulum, the engineers said.

Steve Chisholm, chief engineer for Boeing’s mechanical and structural engineering, said Boeing created damage to fuselage panels in intense tests that were repeated more times than what aircraft would experience in service, “and the damage didn’t grow.”

Salehpour’s allegations relate to tiny spaces where pieces of the 787′s carbon composite fuselage meet. He said Boeing used force to join the pieces together and didn’t properly measure the gaps. He and his lawyers sent a letter to the FAA in January detailing his allegations. The FAA is investigating. 

The whistleblower said on a call with reporters last week that he “literally saw people jumping on the pieces” of the 777 “to get them to align.” Boeing later that day said those claims are inaccurate and that it is “fully confident in the safety and durability of the 777 family.”

According to Boeing, “These claims about the structural integrity of the 787 are inaccurate and do not represent the comprehensive work Boeing has done to ensure the quality and long-term safety of the aircraft,” the plane-maker said in a statement in response to the claims. “The issues raised have been subject to rigorous engineering examination under FAA oversight. This analysis has validated that these issues do not present any safety concerns and the aircraft will maintain its service life over several decades.”

Boeing representatives and engineer, Sam Salehpour are scheduled to appear at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, April 17th. The company is scheduled to report quarterly results on April 24, when it will face investor questions about aircraft safety, production rates, and FAA oversight.

As reported by David Koenig: Boeing pushes back on whistleblower's allegations, details how airframes are put together

Additional source: Boeing defends 787 Dreamliner safety after whistleblower alleged structural flaws