Boeing Supplier Whistleblower Joshua Dean Dies, Just Two Months After First Whistleblower’s Death

Joshua Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 45 after battling a sudden and aggressive infection. Dean, who lived in Wichita, Kansas, had been in critical condition for two weeks before succumbing to complications from pneumonia and a severe bacterial infection, MRSA.

Dean was one of the first whistleblowers to claim that Spirit leadership had disregarded manufacturing defects on the 737 MAX. He had provided a deposition in a Spirit shareholder lawsuit and filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) alleging serious misconduct by senior quality management on the 737 production line at Spirit.

In April 2023, Dean was fired from Spirit and subsequently filed a complaint with the Department of Labor, claiming his termination was in retaliation for raising concerns about aviation safety. His case was still pending at the time of his death.

Dean’s passing comes just two months after the apparent suicide of another Boeing whistleblower, John “Mitch” Barnett, who was found dead from a gunshot wound in Charleston, South Carolina. Barnett had been providing depositions alleging that Boeing retaliated against him for reporting quality lapses.

The FAA had investigated Dean’s safety allegations and determined that they were appropriately addressed under an FAA-approved safety program. However, due to privacy provisions, specific details could not be released.

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