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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "pilots" ...

  • Military.com: Air Force HIV Prevention Drugs

    If you're a gay man in uniform, the Air Force presents a dilemma. You can fly for the service, or you can take Truvada, a pre-exposure prophylactic drug designed to reduce the risk of HIV. The Air Force bars pilots from using the drug, citing safety concerns. But critics say the service's reticence to approve the medication is a symptom of latent cultural reticence bordering on homophobia, and moralistic concerns over a sexually promiscuous lifestyle. This report includes interviews with pilots who have been affects by the policy, including one who opted to avoid the service due to the restriction. A follow-up report details how the Air Force reversed course to approve the drug, showing the impact of Military.com's reporting.
  • 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.
  • Deadly failure on the runway

    Less than a week after multimillionaire businessman Lewis Katz consolidated his ownership of The Philadelphia Inquirer in a high-stakes auction, he and six others were killed in a fiery takeoff crash of his Gulfstream G-IV. One month before the National Transportation Safety Board publicly issued its findings, The Inquirer put the readers inside the cockpit for the takeoff roll’s crucial last seconds as the pilots boosted the plane’s speed far above its reputed design limit – and then lost precious moments trying to electronically free the elevator, rather than simply aborting the takeoff. Early reports focused on a lack of required safety checks by the pilots. But that did not account for a central mystery – the plane’s fail-safe system did not prevent the jet from reaching takeoff speed despite their error. The newspaper found that a flaw in the jet’s “gust lock” system - meant to keep the plane’s elevators locked when a jet is parked - allowed the pilots to reach takeoff speed but unable to get lift, a deadly combination.
  • Dangerous Cargo

    CBS News exposes the role of a government agency in removing cargo pilots from national rest rules that could prevent deadly airplane accidents. https://vimeo.com/cbseveningnews/review/149908604/ef6230ae92
  • Crosswind Dangers at DIA

    Denver International Airport control tower operators have been putting passenger safety in jeopardy on about one thousand flights a year by green-lighting take-offs in high crosswind conditions without warning pilots. A commercial jetliner crashed and burned in 2008 as a result of crosswinds at DIA, but despite that event, the FAA refuses to change its procedures.
  • 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.
  • Below The Radar

    Mario Diaz exposed several of air traffic controllers returning to FAA towers or control centers with little or no accountability shortly after being a contributing factor to a deadly crash. As detailed in the series of “Below The Radar” reports, these crashes resulted in 104 deaths. The litigation produced from several of these crashes came at a steep price to American taxpayers. Diaz uncovered public records (Department of Treasury and Federal judgements) indicating that the Federal Government made either verdict or settlement payments in excess of $100-million dollars to the estate of the victims --- including the estate of the pilots involved in these crashes.
  • 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
  • Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos

    Between 1964 and 1973, in an offshoot of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military dropped 4 billion pounds of explosives on Laos. Up to 30 percent of those bombs did not detonate, and they remain in the Laotian soil today as UXO—unexploded ordnance—contaminating more than one-third of surface area of the country. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and injured in UXO accidents since the war officially ended. 2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the start of that bombing campaign. Yet every week, more Laotians are hurt and killed. In a rural country largely composed of subsistence farmers, it is dangerous to dig. Coates and Redfern spent more than seven years traveling in Laos, talking to farmers, scrap-metal hunters, people who make and use tools from UXO, and the bomb-disposal teams working to render the land harmless. With their words and photographs, they reveal the beauty of Laos, the strength of Laotians, and the daunting scope of the problem - a problem largely unknown outside the country. Much of the American bombing campaign was carried out in secret, known only to pilots, policy makers and the people on the ground under the flight paths. Coates and Redfern aim to educate readers—especially Americans—about this little-known war and its lesser-known legacy, at a time when Americans are learning about their government's recent efforts to operate in secrecy. Eternal Harvest offers a critical look at the effects on civilians of secret military actions.
  • Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos

    Between 1964 and 1973, in an offshoot of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military dropped 4 billion pounds of explosives on Laos. Up to 30 percent of those bombs did not detonate, and they remain in the Laotian soil today as UXO—unexploded ordnance—contaminating more than one-third of surface area of the country. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and injured in UXO accidents since the war officially ended. 2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the start of that bombing campaign. Yet every week, more Laotians are hurt and killed. In a rural country largely composed of subsistence farmers, it is dangerous to dig. Coates and Redfern spent more than seven years traveling in Laos, talking to farmers, scrap-metal hunters, people who make and use tools from UXO, and the bomb-disposal teams working to render the land harmless. With their words and photographs, they reveal the beauty of Laos, the strength of Laotians, and the daunting scope of the problem - a problem largely unknown outside the country. Much of the American bombing campaign was carried out in secret, known only to pilots, policy makers and the people on the ground under the flight paths. Coates and Redfern aim to educate readers—especially Americans—about this little-known war and its lesser-known legacy, at a time when Americans are learning about their government's recent efforts to operate in secrecy. Eternal Harvest offers a critical look at the effects on civilians of secret military actions.