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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "flights" ...

  • Lost Horizons: Small Airports Covet Cheap Radar System, But the FAA Bars It

    The Wall Street Journal looks at aviation safety problems related to the lack of radar screens at small airports. The story points to three midair collisions that occurred in year 2000 because of the lack of "one of the simplest and oldest air-traffic-control tools." The article cites Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) statistics showing that across the country, 90 busy airports are in need of radar, and examines the advantages and disadvantages of the two main available radar systems - Tardis and Raytheon.
  • Slower than a speeding bullet

    Washington Monthly investigates how Amtrak, the U.S. national rail agency, has failed to keep its promise to start a "bullet train." The story looks at the technological characteristics of Acela Express, a new train marketed as high-speed transportation device. The article reveals that Acela hit its top speed of 150 miles only once, while "the rest of the time it floats along relatively prosaically under 100 miles an hour, something steam trains accomplished a century ago." The report compares rail business in America and other developed countries, and finds that the U.S.A. is many decades behind Europe and Japan. The story points out that Acela's fares are close to those of the airlines, and examines the financial troubles of Amtrak in recent years.
  • 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."
  • Superintendent for Sale

    "Longtime state schools superintendent misused thousands of dollars in public and private funds. (The) superintendent made more than 1,700 personal phone calls on a state-issued credit cars. He accepted more than $99,000 from a nonprofit organizations whose contributors included some ofof the largest corporations in the states. ... He billed the state for such items as chartered plane flights and accepted free trips and hotel rooms from numerous corporations."
  • 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."
  • Governor's Travels

    WSMT-TV's "investigation found the governor of Tennessee and his family had taken more than 50 free flights on corporately owned jets over a three-year period. These flights include a trip to a Puerto Rico resort, a trip to a golf resort in California, vacation travel to Wyoming and frequent transportation to the governor's vacation home in Florida. Companies with large state contracts donated many of the trips. The governor also spent hours in the company of lobbyists, including one lobbyist from U.S. Tobacco and another from a nursing home chain coming under scrutiny from state regulators. None of the governor's trips were ever publicly disclosed."
  • Filthy Flights

    A WJLA-TV investigation delves into bad hygiene problems on the airplanes. The two-part series reveals the results from an analysis of samples collected from tray tables, armrests, doorknobs, bathrooms, pillowcases and blankets on the planes of several airlines. What the analysis finds "could make you sick ... fecal coliforms ... or, human waste." The investigation shows how passengers can get a flu, but nothing changes.The key finding is that "the threat to passengers goes far beyond ... respiratory problems ....passengers can and have died" as a result of bad hygiene in airplanes. The story reports on a record detailing how a "Korean woman suffering from tuberculosis flew fro Honolulu to Chicago and then on to Baltimore" and how "twenty-nine passengers subsequently tested positive for tuberculosis."
  • Passengers at risk: How safe is that airline flight?

    This series of articles revealed that "airlines flew tens of thousands of flights during the past 15 years that didn't meet federal safely regulations .. and airplane emergencies are not as rare as government and airline officials says they are."
  • How the Government Turned La Guardia Into a Flyer's Nightmare

    The Journal reports that La Guardia airport in New York has become the unlucky exemplar of air-traffic gridlock because of efforts by Congress and the Clinton administration to improve air service. The paper tells us how the FAA is trying to remedy the situation by forcing airlines to slash many flights.
  • How 2 Pacific Nations Became Oceanic Aces of Air-Traffic Control

    The Journal reveals that U.S. air traffic controllers in Oakland, Calif., who each monitor about 15 trans-Pacific flights at a time, still use strips of paper to track planes across their assigned expanse of ocean. The FAA' s technology for routing jumbo jets across open ocean - beyond the reach of radar - hasn't changed since the 1970s. The Journal says that the FAA was supposed to have updated the system long ago, but it pulled the plug on its overhaul in the late 1990s after cost overruns.