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 "planes" ...

  • Blowing the Whistle on Aviation

    Our exclusive eleven-month investigation into aviation safety uncovered a corrupt culture of safety at major airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration that mechanics and FAA employees feared could be putting the flying public at risk. Before there was any reporting on the FAA related to Boeing’s 737 Max, we explored the overly cozy relationship between the FAA and airlines - highlighting the FAA’s lack of oversight on regulatory issues that would later lead to hundreds of deaths overseas and the grounding of all 737 Max airplanes.
  • The Texas Observer with The Investigative Fund: The Surge

    If Texas’s border counties have some of the lowest crime rates in the nation, why are they so heavily policed? As Melissa del Bosque shows, the State of Texas has gone all in on border security spending, devoting $2.6 billion to special-ops teams, armored gunboats, high-tech spy planes, and a surge of law enforcement personnel in the past several years — on top of a multibillion-dollar federal border security operation. For her piece for The Texas Observer, in partnership with The Investigative Fund, del Bosque interviewed residents and elected officials in these border counties, now among the most profiled and surveilled communities in America, who described how this two-fisted border security buildup has taken a toll on their civil liberties. In a separate analysis, Del Bosque joins with reporter G.W. Schulz to uncover how Texas's $15 million high-altitude spy planes have surveilled one border town at least 357 times and may have traveled multiple times into Mexican territory.
  • NYT Mag: From Arizona to Yemen - The Journey of an American Bomb

    In one narrative feature, rendering the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe on a small, personal scale, in order to make it feel relevant, tactile, and immediate to western readers. The hope was to collapse the distance and let Western readers feel what it was like to be the victim of an airstrike in Yemen, and to be a patient in hospital deprived of resources by a blockade. We wanted the crisis to feel familiar and close, rather than distant and exotic. By investigating the provenance of a bomb used and telling the story of its journey from an American assembly line to the planes above people we’d come to care about, showing readers how intertwined their own lives are with the lives of Yemenis.
  • Military Times: Aviation in Crisis

    The Aviation in Crisis package offered an unprecedented look at the scope of aviation crashes, mishaps and fatalities around the world. It documented at least 133 fatalities and a 40 percent rise in mishaps during a five-year span. It also included a first-of-its-kind public database that is searchable by military base, aircraft type, etc.
  • 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.
  • Gov. Robert Bentley Scandal

    AL.com revealed first that Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a top aide. The relationship was far more than a sex scandal. It raised questions about the spending of public money and the use of state airplanes, law enforcement and other resources to perpetuate or cover up the relationship.
  • Spies in the Skies

    America is being watched from above. Government surveillance planes, operated by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, routinely circle over most major cities. We assembled an unprecedented picture of the operation’s scale and sweep by analyzing more than 4 months of aircraft tracking data for about 200 federal aircraft.
  • 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.
  • Perimeter breaches at US airports

    People get onto tarmacs and even planes at major airports far more often than the general public or elected officials realize; more than 250 times in recent years. Until AP’s story, the breaches had been largely secret. The public had no idea that, for example, one mentally ill man had hopped the fence at LAX eight times, twice reaching stairs that led to jets. Associated Press reporters painstakingly filed public records requests and legal actions to produce the most comprehensive public accounting of perimeter security breaches at top U.S. airports. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2YeqYfYB0s
  • Hazard Above

    According to a year-long investigation by The Washington Post, hundreds of military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001 and civilian drones are posing a new threat to passenger air traffic in the United States. Drones have revolutionized warfare and are set to revolutionize civil aviation under a 2012 federal law that will allow them to fly freely in American skies. But The Post found that the U.S. military and the Federal Aviation Administration suppressed widespread patterns of safety problems with drones and tried to keep details of accidents and near mid-air collisions a secret. Drawing on more than 50,000 pages of accident investigation reports and other records obtained under FOIA, The Post uncovered more than 400 major military drone crashes worldwide, including 49 in the United States. Some drone models were particularly crash-prone: almost half of the Air Force’s iconic Predator fleet has been destroyed in accidents. The Post published details of 194 of the most serious accidents in an interactive online database, as well as crash-scene photographs, voice-recording transcripts and a video of a stricken Predator drone filming its own fiery breakup over Iraq. The Post also exposed a rash of dangerous encounters between civilian airplanes and drones flown in contravention of FAA rules intended to safeguard U.S. airspace, a problem that has worsened since the series was first published.