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" ...

  • Aviation Security Investigations

    One of the most alarming concerns for the traveling public is airport safety in the wake of terror attacks and other incidents. Over the course of 2015, CNN investigated the insider threat at airports, broadcasting a series of four exclusive investigations that generated high viewer interest. https://vimeo.com/150795855
  • 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.
  • USAT: Unfit for Flight

    "Unfit for Flight" reveals the hidden dangers of private aviation by exposing how manufacturers let defective parts and designs remain in place for decades, federal investigators fail to find defects because they do cursory crash investigations, and federal regulators let manufacturers build brand-new aircraft under safety standards that are decades old. The series exposes manufacturer negligence that has led companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements, many of them confidential and reported for the first time.
  • Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787

    Jumping off from the battery failures that caused an unprecedented grounding of the 787 fleet in January 2013, "Broken Dreams" explores how Boeing's signature product went so wrong and reveals fresh revelations regarding the safety and quality of the aircraft, including workers afraid to fly the plane they build. "Broken Dreams" ties the well-known story of the battery failures and grounding to a larger, unexplored economic critique. It's the story of a management hungry for Wall Street returns, emboldened by its outsized power in Washington, and enabled by a cozy relationship with a compromised regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Secret Casualties

    While American troops in Iraq never found an active weapons-of-mass-destruction program, they instead found — and greatly suffered from — long-abandoned chemical weapons. Nearly 5,000 old chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs had been recovered; dozens of Americans and Iraqis were wounded by them. Yet, year after year, the Pentagon covered it up. Congress was misled, medical care was denied and soldiers were refused the honors and recognition they deserved for battlefield injuries.
  • Asiana Flight 214 Crash

    NBC Bay Area’s news team set the bar for coverage of the crash of Asiana flight 214. We provided on the scene live reports, graphics, unique details and facts along with unmatched analysis and aviation expertise. Combined, this coverage gave our audience the news in real time, with unique details learned only through us, told within context, all non-stop and commercial-free for the next seven and a half hours plus new details uncovered by our investigative team in the days immediately following the crash. In the minutes and hours following the crash, NBC Bay Area’s team broke every major detail of the crash, including: • First detailed mapping of the airport and accident scene • First details that the airport’s electronic glide slope was out of service • First survivor interview with first person account of crash • First audio from tower • First detailed coordinates of the plane’s position during landing, including its unstabilized approach • First to report the plane had been coming in too low and too slow to land safely • First details of how one passenger fatality was caused by a fire truck running over her
  • Commercial Pilots: Addicted to Automation

    NBC Bay Area’s news team set the bar for coverage with big-picture context and expert analysis without speculation in the hours and days after Asiana Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. Beyond having the major facts and developments of the breaking news first, NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit over the following months deepened that coverage with investigations that exposed safety issues within the aviation industry; issues that both the FAA and NTSB later confirmed and acknowledged as critical safety concerns. The Unit: •First widely exposed the danger that pilots tend to become addicted to automation in the cockpit •First uncovered the little-known Flight Level Change Mode trap as a potential safety issue, one that may have played a role in this crash •First to go inside and tour several international flight schools based in the U.S. where pilots such as the Asiana crew trained •First to uncover questionable gaps in training and experience of young, foreign pilots who come to the U.S. to learn to fly commercial large-body airplanes
  • Chinook Down

    In May 2007 - an American Chinook helicopter was shot down by insurgents in southern Afghanistan. The crash killed 7-soldiers. NATO officials suggested the helicopter was brought down by small-arms fire. But classified documents released by WikiLeaks reported the helicopter had been "engaged and struck with a missile," suggesting the Taliban had effectively used a heat-seeking surface-to-air missile - a significant development not publicly disclosed before. Alex Quade, a freelance television reporter, was supposed to be on that helicopter, covering a battalion-size air assault mission involving Special Forces, 1/508th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. But at the last minute, Quade lost her seat to 2-public affairs officers. She survived to report firsthand on the recovery, including a fierce firefight, and interviewed pilots who reported seeing a missile streaking into the sky and striking the Chinook. Over the years, Quade continued to gather material about the attack on the helicopter, interviewing pilots who provided air support to rescue teams on the ground, obtaining previously unreleased Pentagon documents, via FOIA appeals, and collecting video from soldiers and pilots on the scene. The result of her investigation is a 10-minute video for NYT.com. It is Ms. Quade's Memorial Day tribute to the soldiers she was embedded with, and nearly died with, and a look at the effects of PTSD.
  • Unfulfilled Promise

    When the NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park was first announced in 2005, it brought with it hopes for diversifying Atlantic City region's casino dependent economy with the promise of 2,000 high-paying engineering jobs. The series of stories produced by The Press of Atlantic City showed that the project's expectations had been grossly overstated and several opportunities for progress were squandered while political interests kept the project afloat. Subsequent investigations revealed that a quasi-governmental agency at the forefront of the project had fallen into significant debt and stopped completing audits. Meanwhile, the agency's leader continued to receive significant raises without required board approval.
  • NextGen Aviation Research

    When the NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park was first announced in 2005, it brought with it hopes for diversifying Atlantic City region's casino dependent economy with the promise of 2,000 high-paying engineering jobs. The series of stories produced by The Press of Atlantic City showed that the project's expectations had been grossly overstated and several opportunities for progress were squandered while political interests kept the project afloat. Subsequent investigations revealed that a quasi-governmental agency at the forefront of the project had fallen into significant debt and stopped completing audits. Meanwhile, the agency's leader continued to receive significant raises without required board approval.