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 "aviation" ...

  • 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."
  • The Odds Are Against Starting an Airline - And Still They Try

    The Wall Street Journal examines the difficulties that small regional companies face in the aviation business. The analyses follows the story of James Swartz and John Knight who started up an airline, Great Plains Airlines Inc. without a single airplane. The reporter describes how "with tenacity and little else these two men took on majors' entrenched system." The story finds that in bidding for jets small companies can hardly compete against established carriers with proven financial track records. The analysis also reveals that only four airlines control about 66 % of the takeoff and landing slots at the Reagan National Airport, while small companies face difficulties to have slots allocated to them.
  • Some Airlines Mishandle Food, Sewage Disposal

    "Some of the country's biggest airlines and in-flight caterers have violated federal health regulations of food storage and sewage handling, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration records. So far this year, the agency has sent six 'warning letters' about violations to carriers including Northwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and Continental Airlines - twice the number send during the same period in 1997." Trains and buses are also discussed.
  • 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."
  • Crash of the Osprey

    This article examines both arguments for and against testing the Osprey, an aircraft that is built to fly like both an airplane and helicopter. Richmond tells the story of the young men who died while testing the aircraft that crashed in Arizona in spring of 2000.
  • 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."