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    Buried beneath a mix of federal bureaucracy and ambivalence is a story that explains why thousands of helicopters in use today remain vulnerable to the very same problem that doomed a Flight for Life crew in Frisco, Colorado, earlier this year. For five months, 9Wants to Know analyzed hundreds of NTSB accident reports in an effort to better understand what’s “fueling the fire.” Based heavily upon a combination of interviews with victims and researchers, our conclusions have generated interest within the aviation industry and Congress, and will form the basis of a national discussion that is finally underway.
  • Danger lurks underground from aging gas pipes

    A USA TODAY investigation, in collaboration with affiliated Gannett newspapers and television stations across the U.S., found tens of thousands of miles of aging gas pipes lurking beneath American cities and towns despite the cast-iron and bare-steel gas pipes being the subject of safety warnings by the NTSB, safety advocates and regulators for decades. The data-and-documents driven investigation delved into the make and safety of natural gas pipes operated by every utility in the United States, shining light on some cities with some of the oldest, leakiest natural gas mains across the United States in a national story, television package and a digital interactive that let users see the age and safety record for communities where they live and work, compared to national norms.
  • Commercial Pilots: Addicted to Automation

    NBC Bay Area’s news team set the bar for coverage with big-picture context and expert analysis without speculation in the hours and days after Asiana Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. Beyond having the major facts and developments of the breaking news first, NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit over the following months deepened that coverage with investigations that exposed safety issues within the aviation industry; issues that both the FAA and NTSB later confirmed and acknowledged as critical safety concerns. The Unit: •First widely exposed the danger that pilots tend to become addicted to automation in the cockpit •First uncovered the little-known Flight Level Change Mode trap as a potential safety issue, one that may have played a role in this crash •First to go inside and tour several international flight schools based in the U.S. where pilots such as the Asiana crew trained •First to uncover questionable gaps in training and experience of young, foreign pilots who come to the U.S. to learn to fly commercial large-body airplanes
  • Investigation of fatal pipeline blast

    Before the National Transportation Safety Board issued its findings into the 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people, the San Francisco Chronicle had already exposed negligent management by pipeline operator Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and lax regulation by the state and federal governments that contributed to a disaster.
  • Breakdown: Traveling Dangerously in America

    The National Transportation Safety Board has issued more than 13,000 recommendations in the past 43 years to make travel safer. The recommendations have largely gone ignored by federal and state agencies while people have continued to die. Authors: Jennifer Brookland; Richie Duchon, Ben Giles, Charlie Litton, Andrew Maclean, Stephanie Mathieu; Tessa Muggeridge; Ryan Phillips; Robin Schwartz; Aarti Shahani; Ariel Zirulnick; Kristin Gilger; Leonard Downie Jr.; Steve Doig; Michael Pell; Nick Schwellenbach; Max Levy; Steve Elliot; Birron Halle; Lily Ciric-Hoffman; Micah Jamison; Caige Nichols; Brandon Quester; Jennifer Matthews
  • Fatal Flight - The Mystery at Marlboro Airport

    Seven years after a seemingly accidental private airplane crash, the Asbury Park Press found evidence that forced the reopening of the federal investigation. The original NTSB investigation of a fatal 1998 plane crash in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, determined that the accident was caused by a bird strike, but the Asbury Park Press consulted experts who determined that sabotage was the most likely cause. The pilot, who died in the crash, had previously testified in a lawsuit that he suspected his planes were being sabotaged. A disputed land deal involving the township's airport provided a motive for murder.
  • Final Approach

    In 2002 October, U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash amidst speculation that the crash was part of a conspiracy. With this investigation, the reporters deduced that the crash was in fact pilot error. The investigation involved extensive collection of FOIA data and interviewing sources who had never spoken about the crash before.
  • Cost Cutting Costs Airlines Safety

    The report investigated shoddy maintenance on a major U.S. air carrier as a result of cost cutting. CBS News was able to find internal documents and talk to whistle blower mechanics proving that United Airlines failed to do the required maintenance of its fleet and failed to use licensed mechanics as required by the FAA. Examples in this report include: secretaries signing work papers that needed certified mechanic's signatures; failed equipment shined up and reinstalled in planes without being repaired; and letters pressuring mechanics to ignore safety problems.
  • Pilot shortage siphons experienced instructors from flight schools

    This story analyzes the fact American air carriers that operate internationally are taking away experienced pilots from both flight schools' instructor positions and regional airlines. The consequence of this trend is new pilots have to learn from unexperienced teachers. McCartney says this raises "questions about the quality of America's future pilots." The story adds the FAA was "looking into the matter." The fact big international airlines lure experienced pilots draws regional and small to hire people who sometimes can't meet the traditional requirements, such as having 20/20 vision without glasses. So these companies lower those requirements. Despite the concern raised, McCartney says "there isn't any evidence that possible lack of experience has posed any safety problems at either major or regional airlines.
  • In the Clouds: An Air-Safety Battle Brews Over the Issue of Pilots' Rest Time

    In response to safety concerns, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes tightening rules that limit flight time and work hours for all commercial pilots. But airline executives, facing economic pressure, are resistant.