Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "airline" ...

  • Blowing the Whistle on Aviation

    Our exclusive eleven-month investigation into aviation safety uncovered a corrupt culture of safety at major airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration that mechanics and FAA employees feared could be putting the flying public at risk. Before there was any reporting on the FAA related to Boeing’s 737 Max, we explored the overly cozy relationship between the FAA and airlines - highlighting the FAA’s lack of oversight on regulatory issues that would later lead to hundreds of deaths overseas and the grounding of all 737 Max airplanes.
  • 60 Minutes: Flying Under the Radar

    On April 15th 2018, CBS News 60 MINUTES featured a two-part investigation into the safety record of one of the country’s most profitable airlines, Allegiant Air, a small, ultra-low-cost carrier based in Las Vegas. Over the course of seven months, correspondent Steve Kroft and his producers analyzed hundreds of federal aviation documents and interviewed pilots, mechanics and industry experts for a report that raised disturbing questions about the safety of Allegiant’s fleet. Although Allegiant flies less than 100 planes, our investigation found that over a 20-month period, the airline experienced over 100 serious mechanical problems, including mid-air engine failures, cabin depressurization, smoke in the cabin, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted take-offs. The incidents forced Allegiant pilots to declare 46 in-flight emergencies and 60 unscheduled landings. Our expert sources said this was a remarkably high number of incidents for an airline this size.
  • Federal Whistleblower Program Fails to Protect

    From airlines to pipelines, they are the workers on the front lines who speak up when systems break down. An NBC Bay Area investigation reveals that the federal program designed to protect whistleblowers who raise red flags about public health, environmental violations and corporate wrongdoing, is failing to meet its mission. Insiders say that puts all of us at risk. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Federal-Whistleblower-Investigator-Fired-After-Blowing-the-Whistle-on-His-Own-Agency-332240782.html http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/OSHA-Dismisses-Majority-of-Whistleblower-Cases-Agency-Investigates-332258162.html http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/OSHA-Whistleblower-Investigator-Blows-Whistle-on-Own-Agency--293711041.html
  • Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President, and the Rise of the Drone

    Objective Troy tells the story of the life and death of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American imam who denounced 9/11 and called for bridge-building between Muslims and the United States, only to leave the U.S., grow steadily more militant and join Al Qaeda in Yemen. He became the most effective recruiter for Al Qaeda in English; actively plotted to kill Americans, including by coaching the underwear bomber who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit in 2009; and finally became the first American citizen to be deliberately killed in a drone strike, on orders of President Obama in 2011. The book’s title comes from Awlaki’s code name on the government’s kill list: during a frantic 20-month manhunt that engaged all of the intelligence agencies, Awlaki was Objective Troy. Reported all over the United States and in Yemen, Objective Troy is the most detailed and best-documented account of the life of a central figure in the post-9/11 history of terrorism. Among the revelations in the book are: the first account of Awlaki’s embrace of fundamentalist Islam, while a freshman at Colorado State; the real reason that Awlaki left the United States, abandoning a promising career as a mainstream spokesman for American Muslims; an intelligence mistake in the hunt for Awlaki that led to the disastrous unintentional killing by drone of a popular Yemeni deputy governor; and Awlaki’s afterlife on the Internet, including more than 40,000 YouTube videos, now with the added authority of what his admirers see as martyrdom. The book gives the fullest account to date of President Obama’s embrace of the armed drone as a weapon against terrorism and how its performance has fallen short of the government’s claims.
  • The pilots of Instagram

    David Yanofsky reports in these feature stories how commercial airline pilots are using cell phones and GoPro cameras to record the unique vantage offered to them in the cockpit, despite such activity violating company and industry safety regulations. Some commercial pilots were even found to be taking pictures during the most critical phases of flight—during takeoff and landing, when most airline accidents occur. There’s a vibrant online community that follows these pilots and their striking photos on Instagram, apparently encouraging them to continue despite the passenger safety risks. Follow-up stories detailed the virulent reactions of some in the pilot community to the initial feature, and provided a graphical representation of FAA regulations to further highlight the issue.
  • DeKalb County's Climate of Corruption

    This investigation revealed a local government teeming with corruption, including kickbacks and theft of taxpayer dollars. They exposed rampant spending with no oversight, first through the use of county purchasing cards, then with an invoice payment system that also lacked controls. Their investigation caught county officials spending their discretionary budgets on airline tickets, family vacations, gift cards, cell phone bills, high-end electronics and other personal expenses. One commissioner even paid a speeding ticket and funneled tens of thousands of dollars to her boyfriend. Their reporting led to an ongoing FBI investigation, a guilty plea from a longtime county official, and pending subpoenas that could yield even more indictments. County leaders have enacted new spending policies and strengthened their board of ethics.
  • In Harm's Way

    "In Harm's Way" uncovers a pattern of poor government regulation and dangerous safety problems in the booming interstate bus industry, which now carries as many passengers from city to city as domestic airlines--700 million passenger rides a year. In an investigation that took most of the year, the KNBC I-Team exposed how federal regulators routinely allow unsafe buses to remain on the roads, sometimes with fatal consequences. In 2013, California had a record number of major bus crashes--11 of them--with hundreds of injuries and over a dozen deaths.
  • "In Harm's Way"

    "In Harm's Way" uncovers a pattern of poor government regulation and dangerous safety problems in the booming interstate bus industry, which now carries as many passengers from city to city as domestic airlines--700 million passenger rides a year. In an investigation that took most of the year, the KNBC I-Team exposed how federal regulators routinely allow unsafe buses to remain on the roads, sometimes with fatal consequences. In 2013, California had a record number of major bus crashes--11 of them--with hundreds of injuries and over a dozen deaths.
  • HBO Real Sports: Hockey's Darkest Day

    In 2011 a plane carrying a Russian hockey team crashed shortly after takeoff--the deadliest accident in the history of professional sports. A five-month Real Sports investigation uncovered massive safety problems in the Russian hockey league. The league spent millions on player salaries but "a few bucks" on everything else--including travel. The plane that crashed was operated by a cheap, third-rate company that had been banned from flying to Europe because they had been cited so many times for major safety violations. The crew of the plane hadn't even completed their training. Our investigation showed that the lack of safety in the world’s second best hockey league—called the KHL—often extends to the ice where KHL team doctors use IV’s and drugs to get their players to perform better on the ice. One young star died after receiving an injection of banned drugs from team doctors. When it came to travel, the lack of safe conditions was nearly universal. Practically every team flew on a Soviet-era jet—jets that make up 3% of the world’s fleet but account for 42% of the world’s accidents. These jets are in such poor condition that most Russian airlines wont use them. Yet even after the crash the KHL continued to use these planes, a fact they initially denied. Shortly after we interviewed the KHL Vice President, the league changed its rules. Now teams fly strictly on modern equipment.
  • The Cuban Hijacking

    Investigation of the first international hijacking of a commercial airliner from the United States.