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 "pilots" ...

  • The Widow-Maker

    The Harrier attack jet can take off and land vertically, much like a helicopter. It can also be the single most dangerous plane to fly in the American air force, leading to 143 major accidents and the loss of one-third of the entire fleet. Forty-five marines, including some of the nations finest pilots, had died in the cockpits of these machines. The LA Times uncovered many of these shortcomings, and showed how the military moved haltingly to fix known shortcomings that had taken pilots' lives.
  • Shifting Standards at AFA

    A Colorado Springs Gazette investigation reveals that the United States Air Force Academy "let's in an increasing number of students who don't meet its academic minimums even as it rejects thousands of applicants who do. The largest share of waivers goes to to recruited athletes. A confidential Air Force report says waivered cadets are less likely to graduate, become pilots, move into critical high-tech jobs and rise to the service's top echelons. The report concluded the academy is 'losing its competitive edge.'"
  • Did Alaska Airlines' 'can-do' ethic go too far?

    Alaska Airlines has long been admired for its bush-pilot swagger and has succeeded where other regional airlines have not. But critics say that heritage has evolved into a culture that condones sidestepping safety and maintenance regulations.
  • Under the radar

    WTHR-TV reports on the "nonexistent security at the nation's general aviation airports." These are smaller but often heavily used airports, and they have a virtual open-door policy, the program reveals. The Federal Aviation administration (FAA) does not require a security program for such airports. The result: it is perfectly permissible to have gates left wide open, hangar doors not adequately secured, and planes within quick reach of anyone.
  • From the Tower, Voices From the Sky

    A two-part ABC News investigation attempts to find a fresh angle to the story of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The first report tells what happened through the eyes of the air traffic controllers at Dulles International Airport. One of the findings is that American 11 that crashed into the Pentagon had most probably targeted the White House at first but the terrorists could not see it well because the sun was in their eyes. The second part broadcasts "the actual sound of hijackers storming the cockpit" of United 93 which crashed into a Pennsylvania field.
  • River Barons

    The Times-Picayune discovers that state-commissioned pilots who navigate the Mississippi River are "letting inexperienced relatives and drug abusers take control of huge oceangoing ships on the most treacherous commercial waterway in North America." The stories examine the dangers involved in allowing river pilots, who are considered state officials, to elect and regulate the members of their three pilot groups that operate the Mississippi. The major findings are that 85% of the new pilots are related to existing members, and that those involved in accidents are rarely, if ever, disciplined. "Efforts to overhaul pilot legislation have routinely failed in the face of aggressive lobbying by river pilots, one of the state's most generous and powerful special interest groups," the Times-Picayne reports.
  • A Pilot's Fall

    The Savannah Morning News tells the story of two Army helicopter pilots who violated rules by taking their wives on a short helicopter joy ride. The trip ended in disaster as the helicopter crashed, killing the two wives.
  • The Real Story of Flight 93

    Newsweek depicts the circumstances preceding the crash of United Flight 93 near Pittsburgh on September 11. The story tells how "the passengers and crew revolted against the hijackers," and reveals the content of recordings from the Flight's cockpit. The reporters find evidence that "the passengers did in fact retake control of the plane's cabin and were on the verge of breaking into the cockpit, when the panicked hijackers forced the plane to crash." Newsweek's investigation refutes the conspiracy theory that the flight had been shot down by the U.S. military forces.
  • Air Piracy

    Goozner examines the predatory policy that major airplane companies use "to drive an upstart competitors from a route, or out of business entirely." In spite of the deregulation of the airline industry, which started more than 20 years ago and was meant to improve air travel services, these services have been constantly deteriorating over the years, the story finds. The author points out that "even longtime friends of deregulation have grown frustrated by the industry's seemingly inexorable march toward monopolization." The main conclusion is that the government should re-regulate the industry to preserve the benefits of competition while reducing bad customer service.
  • Air and Water: FAA Tests Put Cloud Over Cessna's Revival Of Single-Engine Line

    The Wall Street Journal looks at the reasons for the recent accidents with Cessna planes, and cites the results from an investigation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The story reveals that even if pilots performed the preflight procedures specified by Cessna, some water may remain in fuel tanks and pose safety hazards. The reporter follows the debate between FAA and Cessna's management about how "to remedy the apparent fuel-tank flaws" through specific design changes.