September 20th, 2007

So some ex-Boeing engineer is claiming that the new 787 Dreamliner is a safety risk. He reckons that the composite fuselage would be more likely than a regular aluminuim fuselage to shatter in the event of a crash, letting fire inside much more quickly. Composites shatter easily, it seems, whereas aluminuim, being more flexible, is more likely to dent and bend but not shatter. Not only that, but he claims the composites would emit toxic chemicals if they caught fire. Well, shit, I thought jet fuel emitted toxic chemicals than it burnt. In for a penny, in for a pound. Anyway, of course Boeing denies everything. And Boeing gets its little jab in:

“[Weldon] was not assigned to commercial airplanes, he has been away from the company for about a period of a year. He clearly did not understand the testing that had been done, that would be done, and certainly didn’t know what happened in the year that he has been gone.”

She said Weldon had left under a cloud over comments made to an African American supervisor. Weldon threatened the man and said he wanted to hang him up by a meat hook.”

Aha. So an ex-Boeing engineer with a bone to pick?

And then on the very short page 2:

Rather’s report also includes aviation experts who see little or no problem with the 787.

So Dan Rather at least made an attempt to provide balance? His report included the views of this Weldon guy, Boeing and independent aviation experts? Is expecting Reuters and the NZ Herald to behave to a higher standard than tabloid reporters asking too much?

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