Terrible news for anyone afraid of flying: the FAA is reporting that the newest passenger planes are held together with “substandard” parts. The oversight at several supplier factories was so shoddy that workers were caught using rulers made of scotch-tape and paper.
The report cited four engine failures in 2003 — three on the ground, one in flight — that were traced to “unapproved design changes made by a . . . supplier” of speed sensors on engine fuel pumps. It did not cite any more recent incidents, nor did it specify the degree to which continuing problems with parts threaten to cause similar failures.
During a visit to one parts supplier, the inspector general’s office observed an employee who “used a piece of paper, scotch-taped to the work surface, as a measuring device for a length of wire on an oil and fuel pressure transmitter.”
Among its recommendations, the report said that the FAA needs to require manufacturers to make more on-site visits. The FAA also needs to improve its own inspections, the report said.
The FAA concluded that the report raised no “imminent safety issues.” Great, we feel safer already.