ENG706

7th July 2022

Engine maintenance practices

Initial Report

I am writing to you to report on serious safety breaches at [Organisation] in relation to engine overhaul and maintenance. I believe I have been constructively dismissed for threatening to whistleblow on things I have witnessed for many years whilst working at that site. I will list below some of the incidents that happened and are continuing to take place.

1. Managers breaking into engineers’ lockers to obtain their stamps to clear repair cards to get engines out quicker.

2. Multiple deviations from the engine manual in respect of turbine shaft overhaul. One example is painting the internals with a house brush.

3. Multiple deviations from the engine manual in respect of the overhaul of engines whereby corrosion was being found on the fan case itself when the fan blades were removed from the case which meant the case was scrapped and replaced but, in order to put profit before safety and compliance, the blades were not removed and repaired in accordance with the engine manual. This means that a) The corrosion is still present and not dealt with and b) The fan blades were not repaired correctly. This repair and overhaul process is still going on, which is continuing to endanger the lives of passengers.

4. Multiple repairs including exhaust and combustion cases being repaired in situ with these components missing up to 90% heat resistant enamel and were being touched up with house brushes to replace the enamel; the engine manual clearly states that if more than 5% of the enamel is missing then the case is to be stripped from the module and fully repaired with the removal of the existing enamel and then go through the full overhaul process before being reassembled. This was not being done as the company were more concerned about turnaround times on engines and considered the disassembly of the module as not cost effective, despite this being a serious deviation from the engine manual.

These are some of the incidents that I and others have witnessed and, because I reported these incidents to Quality through the company’s reporting system, I have been victimised and bullied ever since. These incidents have been occurring over the past decade and I have always been threatened with the sack if I dared mention it to the aviation authorities. Now that they have decided to dismiss me, I feel I can now report it without any fear of repercussions.

CAA Comment

CHIRP Comment

The CAA were contacted with the reporter’s consent and the reporter was asked to resubmit his report to them as a Whistleblower Report. The CAA informed CHIRP that the organisation was to be audited at the beginning of Autumn 2021. Post-audit the CAA reported that, “the information from the reporter was useful during the audit and actions are ongoing with regard to any issues identified”. The report contains some concerning issues in respect of deviations from the Approved Data. The internal reporting culture seems highly questionable and created fear in the reporter, rather than being open and objective. The report of personal Authorisation Stamps being used by others without the knowledge of the holder demonstrates a violation – the ‘hero’ that does so and gets the flight or the product away on time as a result should bear in mind that if a serious incident occurs, it will be them in the firing line, not the company or OEM. Overall, if reporters don’t feel able to report issues through normal company procedures for whatever reason then it’s important that a confidential report is made either directly to the CAA through their whistleblowing facility or through CHIRP; it’s always incredibly difficult to resolve things months or years after an event, and any latent safety issues can surface at any time in the meantime. Timely reporting and doing the right thing are central to effective safety management; wilful disregard for procedures undermines safety for everybody.

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