Two former employees of Turbine Engine Components Technologies (TECT) have filed a False Claims Act case against TECT Aerospace and Hawker Beechcraft, accusing the companies of fraud and dangerous practices in the manufacture and sale of King Air planes and T-6A trainers to the military. The whistle blowers were David Kiehl, a former plant manager at TECT’s Wellington, Kansas facility and Donald Minge, a quality assurance director. The case alleges that the companies billed the military for equipment outfitted with defective wing spars – the part of the wing that creates strength. The whistle blowers claim that the spars were made by a substandard process that caused the metal to wrinkle. The spars then were hammered and smoothed out with pry bars and small grinders to create the proper size and shape. Not only did this process deviate from engineering specifications and contractual requirements, the suit claims, such practices also increased the risk that the aircraft would be damaged or destroyed when used by military pilots.
The whistle blowers also seek damages on their own behalf, based on their allegations that they were unfairly discharged in connection with their complaints regarding the companies’ misconduct.