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 "helicopters" ...

  • L.A. Times: Danger Spins From the Sky

    Robinson Helicopter Co., the world’s leading maker of civilian helicopters, is an American aviation success story – with a deadly 45-year history. The Los Angeles Times provided the first comprehensive examination of the company’s safety record, and the design features and flight characteristics that have dogged Robinson helicopters for decades.
  • Aging aircraft and hidden threats

    While the Navy spent big over the past 20 years on experimental mine hunting technology that may never work, it stopped investing in its mine-hunting Sea Dragon helicopters, which have spent the better part of a year grounded due to mechanical problems after a series of deadly accidents. Now the service is trying to play catch-up. The Sea Dragon’s troubles are a symptom of a much larger problem: America’s military aircraft have been flown hard during 15 years of combat in the Middle East, and nearly all of their next-generation replacements are years behind schedule and millions over budget. The result: Much of the nation’s fleet is flying far longer than planned and in need of critical maintenance to keep them going. Their investigation found that the United State's Marine and Navy aircraft fleet has dismal readiness rates, as evidenced in an internal report obtained by the IRP and Virginian-Pilot. They examine what effect this has on our military's ability to counter the threat of sea mines.
  • Sea Dragon Down

    The NBC News Investigative Unit, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, tand the UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program revealed that the U.S. Navy’s Sea Dragon helicopters had killed more than 30 service members since they were launched in the 1980s, with the fatality rate rising in recent years – and that the Navy was trying to cover up the danger. The exclusive reporting of all three news organizations of the Navy’s cover-up helped spur the grounding of the entire fleet of more than 150 helicopters for most of 2015.
  • Distress Signal

    A few months after a helicopter caught fire and crashed off the coast of Virginia in January 2014, killing 3 and wounding 2, the U.S. Navy announced that it had fixed the mechanical defect it in all of its MH-53E Sea Dragons. Our investigative reporting not only revealed that to be untrue, it had an immediate impact: It prompted top brass to ground an entire fleet of more than 170 helicopters for most of 2015.
  • The Italian Handshake

    The 250 million USD contract was signed in 2012. The Swedish state assured the taxpayers they had bought the best helicopters to the best price from the Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland. Then why did they have to lie, classify crucial documents as confidential and break the law? A unique story from within the Swedish administration that evoked several ongoing investigations on alleged corruption. https://vimeo.com/151489353 https://vimeo.com/151577616
  • FUELING THE FIRE

    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. https://vimeo.com/151435468 https://vimeo.com/149457398
  • 1033 program

    Over the past year, MuckRock reporter and projects editor Shawn Musgrave investigated the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which distributes excess military equipment to law enforcement agencies nationwide. After the Department of Defense rejected FOIA requests for data indicating which departments had received tactical equipment such as assault rifles, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers, Musgrave — spurred by events in Ferguson — submitted FOI requests to each state’s 1033 program coordinator. This effort not only secured this crucial data for 38 states, but also pressured the Pentagon to reverse its position and release spreadsheets which detailed what tactical equipment had been distributed to every participating agency in the country. MuckRock’s investigation of the 1033 program revealed such questionable transfers as mine-resistant vehicles distributed to school districts and helicopters allocated to small-town police departments.
  • Trauma in the Air: Victims Wait for Help

    This investigation revealed that seriously injured trauma victims needlessly wait up to an extra half hour for help from New Jersey State Police medevac helicopters, when privately-operated medevac helicopters are just minutes away. This situation exists because of a three way battle between the state police, the state-run hospital system and private helicopters.
  • Air Ambulances

    A Fort Worth physician who was a medical director for several local EMS units was also employed by a "for-profit air ambulance service." Under his direction the EMS units began using his company's helicopters, even when they weren't the closest ones to the scene.
  • Rescues Gone Wrong

    The reporters investigated an alarming increase in air ambulance crashes. The found that the accidents were cause by a fatal mix of pilot error, industry carelessness and poor government oversight.