Three private contractors working for Boeing in Texas were given the job to work on one of the aircraft in the Air Force One fleet which President Donald Trump uses. With the intricate access they had to the airplane, they not only caused about $4 million in damages but compromised the aircraft in a way that could have killed out Commander-in-Chief while in mid-air and without much warning, if any.
As the terrifying details about what was done to this particular plane come out, our president is lucky that a separate Boeing mechanic happened to notice something that “looked awry” and alerted his employer. When the aerospace contractor took a look inside, they couldn’t believe what they uncovered. Boeing not only fixed the issues immediately but paid the astronomical price to repair it. Now the three contractors responsible are in some hot water over their supposed “mistake” which was so negligent that it’s hard to call this an accident.
Working on a presidential aircraft comes with a level of responsibility at least triple that of a private or commercial jet. “Boeing fully understands the level of responsibility that comes from working on the President’s aircraft,” the aerospace company told CNN in a written statement after the major compromise to the mechanics of the plane were discovered. “We took swift action to self-report the incident to the US Air Force,” the company added in their statement. “The oxygen system was remediated by Boeing at no cost to the government.”
While this is certainly a responsible approach, what the mechanics did to the air supply was not. According to Q13 Fox, a federal investigation into the incident found that “three Boeing mechanics caused $4 million of damage and could have sparked a mid-flight fire while repairing one of the planes in the Air Force One fleet.” This incident had also been previously reported by the Air Force Times.
The report of monumental error added that the mechanics in question “caused the mishap by supplying and using non-oxygen clean tools, parts, components, a regulator, and an unauthorized cleaning procedure while performing oxygen system leak checks.” This occurred while the plane was undergoing routine maintenance at Boeing’s San Antonio, TX facility, from April 1 to April 10, 2016 while Barack Obama was in office, however, the jet was passed on to Trump when he took office and is part of his current Air Force One fleet.
Q13 Fox explains more of the technical issue and just how volatile it was and tragic it could have been if gone unchecked.
“Tools and components used to repair a plane’s oxygen system must be cleaned in a particular way to remove any residue that could react when it comes into contact with oxygen, the report noted.”
“If left unchecked, a contaminated oxygen system could increase the risk of fire or even cause an explosion.”
Investigators claim that it wasn’t just the mechanics who were responsible for this dangerous oversight, but Boeing’s as well who has a contract with the US Air Force to build and maintain two aircrafts in the presidential fleet.”
“The potentially dangerous outcome of failing to use proper cleaning procedures on the President’s aircraft has raised questions about Boeing’s training and oversight methods,” Q13’s report explained. “Investigators found that the mechanics ‘failed to observe explicit warnings concerning cleanliness’ while working on the oxygen system — one of three major factors identified as leading to the contamination.”
One outcome in this alarming case remains unclear and that’s if the mechanics responsible are still employed at Boeing. The company did not comment on their status other than to vaguely say that Boeing has “completed multiple investigations and corrective action plans so that we ensure stellar performance in the future,” according to a statement Boeing spokesperson Ben Davis made to CNN.
Luckily other aircraft staff discovered this mechanical issue before it was too late. Had Trump been on board and en route to anywhere in the country as he is almost any given week, it could have ended in a devastating outcome. Bravo to Boeing for being diligent in their discovery of this issue and wasting no time to remedy it to keep our leader safe and doing so at no cost to taxpayers.