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Project on Government Oversight

POGO Letter to the Boeing Company regarding Airtech International Inc.'s product substitution

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July 22, 2008 | By: Nick Schwellenbach

Boeing Corporate Offices
100 North Riverside
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Boeing Commercial Airplanes
P. O. Box 3707
Seattle, Washington 98124

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
P. O. Box 516
St. Louis, Missouri 63166


Re: Airtech International, Inc.

To Whom It May Concern:

My organization, the Project On Government Oversight, revealed in May that The Boeing Company, along with other aerospace manufacturers, was being supplied with bogus materials by a composite materials supplier called Airtech International, Inc.  Click here for more information.

As you know, your company requires strict compliance with its materials specifications.  Many of Boeing’s specifications state that suppliers cannot change material after qualification unless material is re-qualified. For example, attached are numerous Boeing specifications which state that a supplier cannot change material, its source, or the methods of manufacture after the material is qualified without a re-qualification of the material. [Attachment A]

Airtech, on a vast scale, has supplied bogus materials or changed the manufacturer or manufacturing process without proper notification to its customers, according to a 2006 Army Criminal Investigation Command letter to the Air Force, which states, “At one time or another, Airtech has supplied some fours of nonconforming product to every aircraft manufacturer in the world.”  Boeing is explicitly stated as a company which Airtech defrauds. Also, as stated by the Army letter, “Airtech at its own discretion, routinely changes the composition, the manufacturer or the manufacturing process of products without disclosure to its customer, which in most case would require requalification of the product.”  [Attachment B]

One of the greatest risks is that “These products are originally qualified for safety concerns. Changes to the products or processes could result in contaminations to the end product, which could result in the loss of parts or safety issues if the part is put into use,” according to the Army.  Specifically, instances of product substitution were confirmed at Vought Aircraft on its subcontract work on manufacturing of the longeron accessory compartment in the Boeing C-17 program for the U.S. Air Force.   [Attachment B]

Does the Army Criminal Investigation Command letter concern Boeing since it was concluded that Airtech, on a vast scale, is falsifying certifications on shipment to you and your subcontractors?

Why is Airtech still an approved Boeing supplier if they are changing material after qualification?

On your specifications [Attachment C], release film, flash tapes and peel plys are considered contact material and, in some cases, peel ply is a secondary bonding material on both composite parts and metal bond parts. Does Boeing consider this a safety concern since, as stated by the Army, if contaminants are left on the finished part due to substitution, this can ultimately contribute to composite delamination or other safety or maintenance issues?

If you have any questions or request assistance or further information, do not hesitate to contact me at 202-347-1122.

Sincerely,


Nick Schwellenbach
Investigator
Project On Government Oversight

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