Defective Boeing part caused F-15 breakup, Pentagon finds

WASHINGTON — Boeing agreed to provide $1 million in replacement parts for its F-15 fighters in a confidential settlement over a jet that broke apart in midair in 2007, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general.

A joint investigation by the inspector general and the Air Force found that Boeing provided provided “defective” or “nonconforming” parts.

The agreement reached almost five years after the accident was disclosed in a passage in the inspector general’s semi-annual report to Congress last month. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations and Pentagon Defense Criminal Investigative Service conducted the probe.

“Nonconforming products not only disrupt readiness and waste economic resources but also threaten the safety of military and government personnel,” the inspector general report said in a section on “Product Substitution” that summarized the Boeing case.

The pilot in the Nov. 2, 2007, accident, a member of the Missouri Air National Guard, dislocated a shoulder and injured an arm while ejecting after the front section of the jet snapped from the rest of the fuselage.

The joint investigation “disclosed that the Boeing Co. provided defective or nonconforming parts to the Air Force for the F-15,” according to the report to Congress.

A longeron — a thin strip of material to which the aircraft’s skin is fastened — failed, causing the “in-flight break-up” during a basic flight-training mission, according to the report.

“The agreement that Boeing and the Air Force reached on this longeron issue is covered by confidentiality provisions that prevent us from commenting, beyond saying that it doesn’t include an admission of liability by Boeing,” said Patricia Frost, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Boeing.

Citing the confidentiality agreement, Frost declined to say whether the replacement parts have been delivered. Each F-15 has two upper and two lower longerons, support structures that run along the length and side of the aircraft.

All 441 of the F-15 fighter interceptors were grounded after the jet breakup, and 182 were found to have major structural components that didn’t meet original manufacturing specifications, service officials said in a January 2008.

Most of the F-15s grounded were cleared to return to flight by February 2008 after undergoing additional inspections as the investigation was begun.

“The cause of the accident was determined to be failure of the upper-right longeron,” according to the inspector general’s summary of the investigation.

The contract specification required the longeron to be 0.10 inches (0.25 centimeters) thick, according to the report.

“The investigation revealed that the Boeing-supplied longerons varied in thickness from 0.039 to 0.073,” the inspector general said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mt. Baker visible from the summit of Mt. Dickerman on a late summer day in 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Hornets pester hikers on popular Mountain Loop trails

“You cannot out run the stings,” one hiker wrote in a trip report. The Forest Service has posted alerts at two trailheads.

A view of a 6 parcel, 4.4 acre piece of land in Edmonds, south of Edmonds-Woodway High School on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Housing authority seeks more property in Edmonds

The Housing Authority of Snohomish County doesn’t have specific plans for land near 80th Avenue West, if its offer is accepted.

Nursing Administration Supervisor Susan Williams points at a list of current COVID patients at Providence Regional Medical Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of Providence patients in medical limbo for months, even years

About 100 people are stuck in Everett hospital beds without an urgent medical reason. New laws aim for a solution.

Emergency responders surround an ultralight airplane that crashed Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at the Arlington Municipal Airport in Arlington, Washington, resulting in the pilot's death. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Pilot dead in ultralight plane crash at Arlington Municipal Airport

There were no other injuries or fatalities reported, a city spokesperson said.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
County Council delays vote on requiring businesses to take cash

Concerns over information and enforcement postponed the council’s scheduled vote on the ordinance Wednesday in Snohomish County.

A girl walks her dog along a path lined with dandelions at Willis D. Tucker Community Park on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Spraying in Willis Tucker Park resurfaces debate over herbicides

Park staff treated about 11,000 square feet with glyphosate and 2,4-D. When applied correctly, staff said they aren’t harmful.

One of Snohomish County PUD’s new smart readers is installed at a single family home Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Mill Creek, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
PUD program seeks to make energy grid smarter for 380K customers

The public utility’s ConnectUp program will update 380,000 electric meters and 23,000 water meters in the next few years.

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

Most Read