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" ...

  • Cargo Handling: Safety Issues at Emery Accumulated for Years Before Its Grounding

    The Wall Street Journal looks at the reluctance of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take any definitive action against Emery Worldwide Airlines Inc. until August 2001, in spite of "a stream of safety incidents and complaints from pilots dating from 1996." The story examines "broader questions about air-cargo oversight" and finds that "the air-cargo business has grown much faster than passenger traffic in recent years." The reporter looks at the rising concerns that "the FAA gives cargo regulation lower priority, assigning it fewer and sometimes less-experienced inspectors."
  • Cold Calculation: Trial of a Sacked Pilot Offers an Inside Look at Airlines and Safety; Flight in Ice Storm, Deemed Risky by Carrier, Follows String of Alleged Errors; Hands off the Screwdriver

    Carley examines the case of former American Eagle pilot Michael LaGrotte, who was fired by the airline when he aborted a flight after noticing ice forming on the wings. American Eagle officials say LaGrotte should have piloted the plane to warmer air rather than turn around and land at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Carley investigates LaGrotte's claim that American Eagle pushes its pilots to fly in unsafe conditions, and examines the fine line airlines must tread between safety and profits.
  • Grounded

    Capable of hovering like a helicopter and flying like an airplane, the V-22 Osprey was a dream aircraft for military missions. But a succession of crashes, an anonymous video tape, and falsified maintenance records indicate that the V-22 has design flaws. Story here is Part One only of a two-part series
  • Gateway to Gridlock

    In a four-part series, "The Tribune set out on a journey to find out why air travel has gotten so bad, dispatching reporters to seven airports and five air traffic control towers across the country on September 11, 2000, a day chosen by the airlines and federal aviation officials. The dramatic events of that storm-tossed Monday show how quickly a fragile system can be brought to its knees" in part one. "Parts two through four examine how bad planning and petty politics have allowed U.S. air travel to choke on its own growth."
  • Got the World on a String

    Kansas City looks at the work of air traffic controllers at the Olathe Center, and reveals that they might be "just puppets or airline greed." The report finds that the controllers "may be the traffic cop in the skies, but ... [they are] ... not in charge of what happens on the ground." The story describes the stress of the job, and sheds light on the practices of random alcohol and drug testing at the traffic control center. The reporter finds that air traffic controllers "in fact are neither cops nor lords," as pilots often refuse to listen to their advice. A major finding is that controllers have a computer program that "would just make everybody fall into line," but are forced not to use it. The reason: "If such a rigid system were in place all the time, airlines couldn't pretend all those flights were leaving at 5;01 p.m."
  • Plane Speaking

    NBC News Dateline reports on "a simple, yet deadly problem: mis-communication between commercial pilots and air traffic controllers." The investigation reveals that although "English is the defacto language of aviation, ... a lack of oversight has led to a breakdown in simple communication." It documents how poor language skills have hindered communication between foreign pilots and U.S. controllers, as well as between American pilots and controllers abroad. The report shows that the problem is widespread, because the Federal Aviation has failed to enforce a standard. The investigation uncovers a tape "that documented how poor language skill contributed to the crash of an American Airlines plane into the side of a mountain in Cali, Columbia." It also details numerous differences between the standard aviation phraseology in the U.S.A. and the rest of the world.
  • A Long Day's Journey

    "'A Long Day's' Journey investigates a significant safety issue that the aviation community has been keenly aware of for years. Fatigue is a chronic problem for pilots due to night flying, complicated schedules and weathers, mechanical and air traffic delays. Surveys show as many as 70 percent of pilots report having nodded off at the throttle during flight."
  • Pilot Pressure

    CBS News found that oftentimes airlines pressure their pilots to fly long hours. "Confidential sources have told us pilots fear disciplinary action if they get a reputation for refusing flights due to fatigue, weather or other factors."
  • Flying Haz Mat

    "KIRO TV takes an in-depth look inside the Air Cargo industry. Hazardous, explosive materials are routinely mishandled and pilots often fly their jets despite serious mechanical problems. This investigation documents how sloppy loading, secret chemical cargo, sleeping pilots and an aging fleet of jets puts the public in danger."
  • Eye on America Investigation: The Apache Helicopter

    A CBS investigative series examines the reasons for the growing accident rates of the Apache helicopter, "widely toted as the best attack helicopter in the world." The investigation finds that "over the last 20 years the Army has spent $ 14 billion on 700 Apaches" in spite of serious safety problems that the army decision-makers have been aware of. The story reveals that "the Apache's back up control system, thought to be a state-of-art safety device ... was actually being blamed for causing accidents." It also details how the "Apache operation were brought to a virtual standstill when the army grounded nearly the entire fleet just after the Kosovo war, " and how this cessation "forced the army to suspend routine training...." The story depicts the covered-up fears of most army aviators and cites an army top-expert admitting that "the Apache has a nasty history."