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FAA probe launched into titanium used in some Boeing and Airbus jets

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opened a probe into Boeing and Airbus, two of the largest commercial plane manufacturers, to determine how counterfeit titanium got into their supply chains. On Friday, June 14, The New York Times reported that Spirit Aerosystems, which provides fuselages to Boeing and wings to Airbus, used titanium with falsified documentation. The probe came after inspectors reportedly found small corrosion holes in the materials.

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A Spirit Aerosystems spokesperson said that it has removed all questionable titanium from the supply chain. The company performed more than “1,000 tests” to check “airworthiness.”

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Meanwhile, Boeing said that it removed the parts in question from aircraft before delivery. The manufacturer also said there is no impact to the safety of its fleet.

Airbus said that it does not know how many aircraft are affected. However, tests show its planes “airworthiness remains intact,” according to the company.

Boeing issued an alert to suppliers, warning them to be vigilant when looking out for falsified documentation on parts. Federal investigators said that the aero giant alerted the agency of the problem voluntarily.

However, the FAA is still looking into who sold the fraudulently documented titanium to Spirit Aerosystems.

The FAA probe comes as concerns rise over airplane parts with false documentation entering the supply chain. Last year, CFM, a jet engine manufacturer, revealed that thousands of its engine components may have been sold with fake records from a British distributor. The revelation forced airlines to change parts on a handful of planes.

The latest investigation came after the FAA said earlier on Friday that it was looking into what caused a Boeing 737 Max jet to maneuver out of control in a “Dutch Roll.” The incident happened on a flight from Phoenix to Oakland in May 2024. The plane tilted left-to-right at the same time the nose moved up and down.

Boeing’s rough year started when a door panel blew off a 737 Max-9 midflight in January. The FAA is also investigating Boeing over whistleblower allegations that the company did not complete required inspections on its 787 Dreamliner jets.

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[JACK AYLMER]

BOEING AIRCRAFT SAFETY HAS BEEN SURROUNDED BY SEEMINGLY UNENDING CONTROVERSY OF LATE. A NEWLY REVEALED FEDERAL INVESTIGATION WILL KEEP THAT CONTROVERSY GOING.

THE F-A-A IS PROBING HOW COUNTERFEIT TITANIUM GOT INTO THE BOEING SUPPLY CHAIN, AS WELL AS THAT OF ITS CHIEF RIVAL, AIRBUS.

TITANIUM WITH FALSIFIED DOCUMENTATION WAS REPORTEDLY BY SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS, WHICH PROVIDES FUSELAGES TO BOEING AND WINGS TO AIRBUS. THE PROBE CAME AFTER SMALL CORROSION HOLES WERE FOUND IN THE MATERIALS. 

SPIRIT SAYS IT HAS REMOVED ALL OF THE QUESTIONABLE TITANIUM FROM THE SUPPLY CHAIN AND PERFORMED MORE THAN ONE-THOUSAND TESTS TO CHECK “AIRWORTHINESS.”

BOEING SAID IT WAS REMOVING PARTS IN QUESTION FROM AIRCRAFT BEFORE DELIVERY AND THERE IS NO IMPACT TO SAFETY.

AIRBUS SAYS IT DOES NOT KNOW HOW MANY AIRCRAFT WERE AFFECTED. BUT SAYS TESTS SHOW ITS PLANES’” AIRWORTHINESS REMAINS INTACT.”

F-A-A INVESTIGATORS ARE STILL LOOKING INTO WHO SOLD THE FRAUDULENTLY DOCUMENTED TITANIUM.

THE PROBE COMES AS CONCERNS RISE OVER PARTS WITH FALSIFIED DOCUMENTS ENTERING THE SUPPLY CHAIN IN RECENT YEARS.

LAST YEAR, CFM REVEALED THOUSANDS OF ITS ENGINE PARTS MAY HAVE BEEN SOLD WITH FALSIFIED RECORDS FROM A BRITISH DISTRIBUTOR. THE REVELATION FORCED AIRLINES TO CHANGE PARTS ON A HANDFUL OF PLANES.

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