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Posted: 11/22/2008 7:11:22 AM EDT
Boeing halts 2 aircraft lines
Posted on Sat, Nov. 22, 2008

Work was indefinitely suspended on the V-22 Osprey and CH-47 Chinook at its Delco plant.

By Diane Mastrull
Inquirer Staff Writer

The Boeing Co. yesterday was forced to indefinitely suspend manufacturing on two lines of military aircraft at its Delaware County plant after the discovery earlier in the week of a plastic cap in the fuel line of a V-22 Osprey in production.

"It is a very serious matter when you can't deliver on the commitments you have made to your customers," said Boeing spokesman John G. Williamson. "We take this very seriously."

The shutdown of work on the Osprey, a tilt-rotor craft, and on the CH-47 Chinook, a medium-lift cargo helicopter, at the Ridley Park facility was ordered in conjunction with a Corrective Action Request (CAR) by the Defense Contractor Management Agency. As an arm of the Defense Department, the agency has day-to-day oversight of defense contractors.

Its CAR automatically halts the acceptance of any aircraft from the Boeing plant while an investigation is under way, Williamson said.

He would not disclose what object was found and precisely when, nor was he prepared to classify it as an act of vandalism. That was finding on the damage in May to two Chinook helicopters on the assembly line at the plant just south of Philadelphia International Airport.

U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), whose district includes the plant, said last night that Boeing officials told him the incident involved a "squeezed plastic cap" about the size of a dime that was found in the fuel line of the Osprey.

"Because of that, Boeing says they cannot rule out" vandalism "and therefore they're proceeding as if it were," Sestak said.

He said the improperly placed cap was discovered at the end of a shift, when workers were searching aircraft for two other caps that were unaccounted for. Sestak had no information on the whereabouts of those caps.

While calling the episode and the disruption to production "disappointing," Sestak said "I'm encouraged that the proper oversight to find these incidents was there."

Williamson said the company would spend the next few days "inspecting everything in the manufacturing plant and looking at our own processes and procedures to see what we can do to make sure this doesn't happen again."

Meanwhile, all employees are expected to report to work for their regular shifts. About 1,600 of the 6,000 employees at the sprawling plant along the Delaware River work in manufacturing, he said.

In the May incident, production was shut down for several days after hacked wires and other meddling were discovered on two Chinooks. Federal authorities arrested a unionized assembly line worker and had offered a $10,000 reward for help in finding what they believed was a second culprit.
Link Posted: 11/22/2008 7:19:18 AM EDT
this has happened before, I think on a certain manufacture's engines for the 777.  some quality labor huh?
Link Posted: 11/22/2008 7:33:20 AM EDT
When the union wanted to do the plumbing work for my old company - and we went with non-union labor - someone dropped a PVC pipe into one of the sewer pipes.  Well, a week after the new building opened, that PVC pipe worked it's way into the 90^ bend where the sewer line joined the municipal line.  The 45^ cut on the PVC loged in there and everything backed up.


I'm shocked .... shocked I tell you ... that anyone could acuse the good Americans who make up the Boeing worker's union.
Link Posted: 11/22/2008 7:45:45 AM EDT
I'm impressed that they were checking to account for 2 plastic caps that were the size of a dime.

That said, i've been in a union, and I can speak from experience in saying that I hate them and they have no purpose in todays economy in this country.
Link Posted: 11/22/2008 7:46:46 AM EDT
Union sucks
Link Posted: 11/22/2008 7:50:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By LOW2000:
I'm impressed that they were checking to account for 2 plastic caps that were the size of a dime.


Last thing anyone needs is more Ospreys falling out of the sky.

Link Posted: 11/22/2008 7:59:44 AM EDT
Originally Posted By armoredsaint:
Union sucks

Unions suck as a general rule only in a non-right to work state. VOLUNTARY Union membership can be a good thing.

However, I doubt the Union itself had anything to do with this.

But, let's never miss a chance to bash Unions.

Link Posted: 11/22/2008 8:05:06 AM EDT
Originally Posted By The_Macallan:
Originally Posted By armoredsaint:
Union sucks

Unions suck as a general rule only in a non-right to work state. VOLUNTARY Union membership can be a good thing.

However, I doubt the Union itself had anything to do with this.

But, let's never miss a chance to bash Unions.



I agree, it may well have been a mistake, and as they say, the proper oversight found the problem quickly.
I don't know what they're working with or their procedures. But some of the piping I was using over the summer came with protective caps on both ends. It was very easy to accidently make a connection and leave a cap in. I had to have two removed during debug.
Link Posted: 11/22/2008 8:12:01 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/22/2008 8:20:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2008 8:21:53 AM EDT by GMG]
I work in a very similar situation this sort of stuff is not as uncommon as you would hope, and not as sabotage but as pure mistake


and yes F@#k the unions
Link Posted: 11/22/2008 8:53:26 AM EDT
Wow, I have been a aircraft mechanic for many years and beacme a union member a year ago for the first time. If I caught someone planting objects in the aircraft with intent to do harm, my first reaction would be to recalibrate that persons brain with a very large wrench. This is not a union problem, someone doing things like this needs to be stopped and put away for a very long time.
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