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 "aviation safety" ...

  • 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.
  • Flying Cheap

    The February 2009 crash of Continental Flight 3407 revealed "a little-known trend in the airline industry: major airlines have outsourced more and more of their flights to obscure regional carriers." These smaller carriers operate with different safety practices with pilots that are often paid less, with less training and fewer flight hours.
  • Bird strike rates at U.S. Airports

    Airplanes landing and taking off at airports in Sacramento, Kansas City, and Denver have been the most liekly in the nation to hit birds , according to an NPR analysis of new data from the Federal Aviation Administration. Wildlife researchers believe they can alert birds to oncoming planes if they can come up with an appropriate visual signal, such as pulsating LED lights currently being tested.
  • Close Calls

    Complaints of near-miss, mid-air collisions from the Aviation Safety Reporting System indicate a growing number of close calls between airplanes in South Florida.
  • Fewer Crashes Caused by Pilots

    This USA Today analysis of 22 years of crash data and several dozen interviews shows that the number of commercial airplane crashes caused by pilot error has decreased substantially. However, plenty of crashes are still occurring, they are just caused by poor maintenance. The federal government required minimal training for mechanics after they've been licensed, and the airplane industry often opposes improvements in maintenance because they are too costly. The article has a lot of good statistics about airplane crashes.
  • Airport Security Test

    In the post 9/11 era, the government has been taking steps to increase the security at airports. But as these investigations reveal, there are still some lapses in security. As this story tells us, though the number of people and equipment has been increased, at the airports, the personnel there don't have the essential training to inspect luggage and use the equipment efficiently.
  • Uncle Sam's Not-So-Friendly Skies

    The FAA gets more attention than most other federal agencies due to the high profile nature of its work. Even with the extra attention, the FAA could do much better in regards to safety and keeping planes in the air and returning them without incident to the ground. Cook analyzes how it could improve.
  • A Greater Threat Than Terrorism?

    Lax standards for aircraft mechanics may compromise safety.
  • Clues from the swamp

    After the Everglades crash of a ValuJet plane, questions arised regarding the safety rating of the airline. Prior to the accident, the FAA's Aircraft Maintenance Division called for the review of ValuJet's license. This review never happened. The problems regarding this airline illustrate what some see as a cozy relationship between carriers and the FAA.