U.S. FAA to pay $90k to aviation safety inspector who disclosed unqualified flight safety inspectors at Boeing

In a statement, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated, it has agreed to pay $90,000 to an aviation safety inspector who raised concerns about unqualified flight safety inspectors.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) which reviews whistleblower allegations stated, the FAA’s Office of Audit & Evaluation “substantiated the whistleblower’s allegations, calling into question the operational review of several aircraft, including the Boeing 737 MAX and the Gulfstream VII.”

The FAA said it “takes all whistleblower allegations seriously and does not tolerate retaliation against those who raise safety concerns.”

Boeing Co declined to comment.

In a statement, Gulfstream, a unit of General Dynamics Corp, said the G500 and G600 were certified by the FAA in 2018 and 2019 and have flown more than 5,000 hours since then.

“We are confident we surpassed the requirements necessary to successfully certify the pilot training program for the G500 and G600,” said Gulfstream’s spokeswoman in a statement.

In September 2019, the OSC had said the FAA appeared to have been “misleading in their portrayal of FAA employee training and competency” in providing Congress information about some safety inspectors who were involved in assessing training requirements for the Boeing 737 MAX.

Since March 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded following fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia which resulted in the death of 346 people.

The certification process for the MAX has come under scrutiny.

In September, the FAA had said all of “the Aviation Safety Inspectors who participated in the evaluation of the Boeing 737 MAX were fully qualified for those activities.”

The FAA has denied misleading the U.S. Congress.

Having disclosed the problem, the “the whistleblower faced retaliation. The whistleblower decided to take a new position in another city in order to escape what he believed was pervasive harassment,” said the OSC. “After he made the disclosures, his managers also allegedly removed his duties and denied training requests, flight certifications, and job training opportunities.”

In September, Henry Kerner, the head of the OSC had said, “FAA’s failure to ensure safety inspector competency for these aircraft puts the flying public at risk.”

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