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 "mechanical" ...

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • GM Recall Investigation

    When General Motors announced it was recalling 750,000 cars in February for an ignition defect, it could have been treated like just another case of a big automaker bringing cars in to fix a minor mechanical glitch. But when CBS News began investigating, it quickly became clear this was something else. We were the first to report GM knew there was the potential for the cars to shut off involuntarily, at least 8 years before the recall, and that three accidents were the subjects of three special investigations ordered by NHTSA.
  • Testing the tests

    In a series of stories, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Heather Vogell revealed the scope, causes and consequences of quality-control breakdowns on standardized tests in U.S. schools. Flawed questions, scoring errors, even mechanical breakdowns have become near common place, Vogell found. But education officials have failed to address the problems, even as lawmakers increased the repercussions for those who fail to make the grade.
  • Injection Wells - The Hidden Risks of Pumping Waste Underground

    Over the last several decades, U.S. industries have dumped more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic waste – a volume roughly four times that of Utah’s Great Salt Lake -- into injection wells deep beneath the earth’s surface. These wells epitomize the notion of out of sight, out of mind, entombing chemicals too dangerous to discard in rivers or soil. The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for overseeing this invisible disposal system, setting standards that, above all, are supposed to safeguard sources of drinking water at a time when water has become increasingly precious. Abrahm Lustgarten’s series, “Injection Wells: the Hidden Risks of Pumping Waste Underground,” lays out in frightening detail just how far short regulators have fallen in carrying out that mission. His analysis of hundreds of thousands of inspection records showed that wells often fail mechanical integrity tests meant to ensure contaminants aren’t leaking into water supplies and that companies repeatedly violate basic rules for safe disposal. EPA efforts to strengthen regulation of underground injection have been stymied time and again by the oil and gas industry, among the primary users of disposal wells. As the number of wells for drilling waste has grown to more than 150,000 nationwide, regulators haven’t kept pace, leaving gaps that have led to catastrophic breakdowns. And Lustgarten’s most surprising finding was that the EPA has knowingly permitted the energy industry to pollute underground reservoirs, handing out more than 1,500 “exemptions” allowing companies to inject waste and other chemicals into drinking water aquifers.
  • Fatal Flying on Airlines No Accident in Aviator Complaint to FAA

    Florida aviation company, Gulfstream, is found to have lax pilot training standards as well as relaxed policies on aircraft fitness for flight. Death and accidents have occurred due to the neglect and Gulfstream's pilots are prevalent in the airline industry.
  • Carnival Safety Investigation

    Inside Edition sent a producer with hidden cameras to work at several traveling carnivals around the country where he uncovered major drug use by some of the carnival ride operators. In addition to capturing "ride jockeys" abusing (and dealing) drugs just minutes before they began operating major thrill rides popular with children and young adults, our producer also observed several serious safety issues inherent in the traveling carnival industry. Among these safety issues were questionable hiring practices, inadequate training policies and dangerous mechanical issues on multiple rides.
  • Dangerous Skies

    This ongoing series reveals how continuing mechanical problems with both the Army's and Coast Guard's workhorse helicopters are putting pilots, crews and the public at risk. A newspaper data analysis showed that more than half of all Coast Guard aircraft accidents concerned one particular type of helicopter, which also had the most deadly and expensive accidents. In the Army, accidents involving its Apache helicopters have been more costly than any other aircraft over the past two years, with a third of the fleet grounded for maintenance at any given time.
  • Miscount: An Investigative Series

    This series was an outgrowth of the problems that plagued Florida during the 2000 presidential election. "Scripps Howard News Service spent a year examining voting records from the 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2004 general elections, looking for and finding significant discrepancies between the number of ballots cast and the number of votes counted for major offices." This investigation helped to uncover failures in election procedures, bad ballot designs, misleading voting instructions, as well as a number of mechanical failures in ballot-counting devices.