June 29, 2015
The Boeing 787 project began in the 1990s, when the company began plans for a new plane to replace the 767. Due to rising fuel costs, plans for an airliner which would be 15% faster were ditched, in favor of a plane that would to have 20% fuel efficiency over its predecessor, owing to its pioneering fuselage, constructed of a composite carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) as opposed to sheets of aluminum.
Originally scheduled to be delivered in 2007, it was only finally delivered to the market last summer in 2014, the project having been disrupted by both 9/11, the Global Financial meltdown and a long string of engineering problems, including fires caused by its “state-of-the-art” lithium-ion batteries.
The project was plagued with additional technical malfunctions to its completely overhauled hydraulic and other systems, as well as by a major labor uprising at its Charleston, South Carolina plant.
Al Jazeera’s Will Jordan found some workers with quality concerns, alleging drug use on the part of fellow workers and expressing fears of flying on the plane they’d built.
‘Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787’ presents convincing testimony from designers, engineers and company whistle-blowers, who contend that a series of issues exist that transcend volatile battery packs, including poor quality standards set in motion by irresponsible cost-cutting measures and restrictive scheduling considerations, errors in parts construction, rampant drug use, and a woefully under-trained and unregulated manufacturing and operating staff. They say these deficiencies work together to create a nightmare environment, where human lives could be the ultimate cost.
Senior Producer/Director: Marc Shaffer
Producer/Director of Photography/Editor: Colin McIntyre
Producer: Kevin Hirten
Reporter/Producer: Will Jordan
Music Composer: Ryan Whittier
Additional Music: Sean Hirten