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" ...

  • Terror Air: Searching for answers in the Everglades

    Men's Journal investigates the crash of a commercial ValuJet aircraft into the Florida Everglades and speculates the safety of commuter airlines. The article looks at the effects of deregulation in the airline industry, the qualifications for pilots, quality and upkeep of plane parts and fire safety standards on aircrafts. (Sept. 1996)
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    Pilots at Southwest, American, Delta and USAir who fly comparable jets are roughly paid equal salaries. But, as The Wall Street Journal reports, each month, the pilots at Southwest Airlines clock more than 70 hours on average in the cockpit; while other pilots average fewer than 50. (Nov. 9, 1995)
  • What's Wrong with the FAA

    U.S. News & World Report reports that "When passengers board an airplane, they expect the highest level of safety. In the United States, it is the Federal Aviation Administration's job to make sure they get it.... In a total of five crashes last year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) indicated that the FAA had fallen short, either failing to enforce its own rules or siding with airlines to oppose what many pilots and passengers considered sensible reform. Commercial air travel in the United States today is safer than in most places. But a three-month U.S. News examination of the FAA's enforcement record reveals significant lapses..."
  • How Safe are Small Planes?

    U.S. News & World Report reports "Not safe enough, say critics. The numbers bear them out, and passengers often don't know in advance what they're flying...standards for planes with 30 seats or fewer often are lower than for larger aircraft...the queasy feeling that this some people flying turboprops and older piston-engine propeller aircraft isn't entirely unwarranted. Over the past five years regional airlines like American Eagle... have averaged 5.1 accidents per million departures (compared to commuter airlines at 6.6 and big carriers at 2.9)"
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    The stories examined the state of frontline Nay fighter-bomber jets and whether they and their pilots are ready for battle. Based on internal Pentagon and Navy memos, I disclosed that these F/A-18 jets and pilots were in the worst possible state of military readiness. This is significatnbecause they aare the pilots who would bomb positions in Bosnia or Iraq, should the need arise.
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    Minnesota Public Radio examines the issue of commuter airline safety snd found an unsettling inability of the Federal Aviation Administration, Northwest Airline and the airline's major partner to adequately ensure the safety of passengers. The investigation also found the commuter pilots are using a dangerous and unapproved approach during icy conditions called the "slam dunk approach" which involves a rapid descent through icy conditions to the runway; as a result of the series, the FAA increased its oversight of commuter airlines in the Northwest, Apr. 4 - 7, 1994.
  • Fear of Flying; Unfit to Fly

    Dateline NBC conducted a computer analysis of commuter airline safety and found widespread problems, including pilots falling asleep at the controls, and the FAA reduced the fines it imposed against commuter airlines. The series also investigated the differences in safety regulation between commuter planes and major airlines, showing how these can have an impact on safety, Nov. 15, 21, 1994.
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    Philadelphia Inquirer documents the fatal display flight of the Osprey aircraft; executives at Boeing forced pilots to fly the aircraft to a site to show it off to military VIPs even though they and mechanics had expressed concerns about problems; a wreck at the site left the crew of seven dead, Nov. 14, 1993.
  • TROUBLE IN THE TOWER

    KMSP-TV (Minneapolis) finds that the air traffic control system is plagued with equipment problems, with routine instances of planes disappearing from radar screens and communications between controllers and pilots being cut off, May 18 - 20, 1992.
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    Associated Press (Sacramento, Calif.) reveals that the California Department of Forestry's air tanker program had fought forest fires with no scrutiny for two decades, and had nine crashes, killing nine pilots; safety was not a concern of the agency, August - December 1992.