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Boeing whistleblower ‘not at all’ surprised after door plug blows of MAX 9 midflight

The fallout continues for Boeing after a door plug blew out of a plane midflight.

It happened one week ago, prompting an emergency landing and the grounding of all 737 MAX 9 Jets.

Today, a Boeing manager, turned whistleblower, is continuing to sound the alarm.

For years Ed Pierson has warned about the safety of the company’s 737 Max Jets - saying they are not safe for passengers. He worked as a senior manager for Boeing’s 737 factory, alerting the company to issues with their planes, and later testifying before Congress.

Now Pierson is the executive director at the Foundation for Aviation Safety. The foundation hopes to offer transparency to the public while holding airlines accountable for any aviation issues.

“Unfortunately, when you see these kinds of things that are happening, which is putting passengers and flight crews at risk, you feel obligated to speak up,” says Pierson.

He says he’s not surprised about the issues last week when a door plug blew out midflight.

“Not at all. We’re just thankful there wasn’t a fatality,” says Pierson. “I know this isn’t reassuring to passengers or confidence-inspiring, but we have to admit these problems exist, the company has to admit these issues are real.”

“It’s not just the blown-out door,” said a spokesperson.

Pierson says what happened with this missing door plug reiterates just how dangerous the 737 Max Jets can be.

KIRO 7 asked Pierson about airline responsibility. Whether Alaska -- or any airline -- knew about issues with the 737 Max before last week.

He says yes, “The airline has a responsibility. You can’t say safety is a top priority and you keep flying a plane that has problems.”

Problems that he explains go back years. He points to the deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019, which killed 346 passengers.

He says blame comes down to a lack of two things: leadership and quality control, however, he also believes that can change.

“I probably would stop building them,” Pierson said “But these problems as a company are solvable.”