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Boeing’s tough day

Dreamliner project engineer transferred

SEATTLE – Boeing announced internally Friday a reshuffling of top engineering executives that sees Mike Sinnett leaving his post as chief project engineer for the 787 Dreamliner.

During the last seven months of intense scrutiny of the Dreamliner program, Sinnett has been the top executive called upon to address the most technical details of the 787’s problems.

Mike Delaney, vice president of engineering at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, announced the changes in an internal memo.

“Since some of these moves involve changes to key people on the 777 and 787 programs, some may ask why we are making moves of this magnitude at this time,” Delaney wrote. “While there is never a perfect time to make changes, by making these moves, we are giving all of these individuals an opportunity to broaden their experience and to apply their knowledge and capability to other roles or on other programs.”

Sinnett led the development of all the 787’s airplane systems from the beginning of the program a decade ago.

As chief project engineer, Sinnett had his BlackBerry set to receive a real-time alert whenever a 787 in service anywhere in the world had a fault notification.

And it was Sinnett who this year led the effort to design a fix for the main battery overheating problems that grounded the 787 for almost four months. He briefed customers and the press on all the engineering details.

After the grounding was lifted, it seemed the 787’s troubles were behind Sinnett until the July 12 fire aboard a parked Ethiopian Airlines 787 at Heathrow raised a new set of concerns.

Sinnett now steps sideways to a less stressful position as vice president of product development.


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