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 "flying" ...

  • Tailspin

    “Tailspin” uncovered the financial, legal and security problems inside a fast-growing private jet company named JetSmarter. The private jet world gets little scrutiny, protected by a tightknit group of companies and elite customers. JetSmarter became the darling of the media and industry, led by a charismatic CEO and hyped by celebrities on social media. But our investigation found that the company sold memberships that quickly proved to be worthless. Its CEO touted its success as the first “flying unicorn” worth $1.5 billion, but we found JetSmarter was losing millions of dollars a month.
  • Guns in Airports, Passengers Packing Heat

    2018 set a record for people trying to carry guns through airport TSA checkpoints. 4,239 guns were found in carry-on bags at airports across the country, that’s 12 guns every day. 86% of those guns were loaded. Our 11-month investigation focused on who was attempting to take firearms through security checkpoints and examined why there has been such a sharp increase in the numbers of weapons found in airports in recent years.
  • 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.
  • Pentagon secretly struck back against Iranian cyberspies targeting U.S. ships

    In the middle of June, tensions were rising between the United States and Iran. Iran had attacked oil tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, and then downed an expensive, high-tech Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone flying over the Strait, upping the ante of the conflict. Given previous rhetoric from Trump administration officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against the Iranian regime, the decision to exit the Iran deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and the increasingly heavy sanctions on Iran, the Yahoo News team was monitoring for chances to report in more depth on specific Iranian capabilities as well as U.S. plans to counter them. Following the attack on the U.S. drone, Yahoo News began communicating with sources who had extensive detail on a specific unit within the Iranian military in the cross-hairs of the U.S. military, a unit that had advanced its cyber capabilities to the point that it was able to track nearly all ships traveling through the Strait through both social engineering, or pretending to be attractive women engaging with service members traveling on the ships, to actually compromising ship GPS data websites in order to digitally monitor their paths. In the course of reporting, Yahoo News discovered a key, news breaking event—that just hours prior, the U.S. Cyber Command had launched a retaliatory strike aimed at limiting the capabilities of the specific Iranian cyber group the team had already been investigating. Yahoo was the first to break the news of the retaliatory strike, leading dozens of major news outlets to race to match the story. However, given the fact Yahoo News was investigating details into the cyber unit, our story was not only first but best and most detailed. The story demonstrates our ability to jump into the news cycle, provide key breaking news to our readers, as well as dig deep into illuminating new details. The story also revealed that Iranian capabilities to intercept and down drones to study them for espionage purposes was highly advanced, a fact previously unknown. Given President Trump’s recent decision to authorize a strike to kill IRGC Commander Qasem Suleimani, our reporting will continue to provide value to readers, analysts, and other interested parties hoping to better understand Iranian capabilities and how the U.S. might respond to them.
  • VTDigger: The flying fraternity

    A six-month investigation by VTDigger uncovered a “good ol’ boys club” at the Vermont National Guard in which male officials receive preferential treatment, break rules and abuse alcohol. We revealed numerous examples of how the Guard has created a toxic environment for women who say they have been sexually harassed and passed up for promotions.
  • 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.
  • Aging aircraft and hidden threats

    While the Navy spent big over the past 20 years on experimental mine hunting technology that may never work, it stopped investing in its mine-hunting Sea Dragon helicopters, which have spent the better part of a year grounded due to mechanical problems after a series of deadly accidents. Now the service is trying to play catch-up. The Sea Dragon’s troubles are a symptom of a much larger problem: America’s military aircraft have been flown hard during 15 years of combat in the Middle East, and nearly all of their next-generation replacements are years behind schedule and millions over budget. The result: Much of the nation’s fleet is flying far longer than planned and in need of critical maintenance to keep them going. Their investigation found that the United State's Marine and Navy aircraft fleet has dismal readiness rates, as evidenced in an internal report obtained by the IRP and Virginian-Pilot. They examine what effect this has on our military's ability to counter the threat of sea mines.
  • Healthcare crisis, Corp. Fraud

    SIRF's work in exposing how Valeant, a high-flying pharmaceutical company, concealed its ownership of a specialty pharmacy that helped it to massive profits led to a multi-month drama that saw its share price cut by 75%, subpoena's and the closure of the unit.
  • Addiction Treatment: Inside the gold rush

    Flying beneath the radar, Palm Beach County’s thriving addiction treatment industry, one of the nation’s largest, is exploiting vulnerable addicts seeking help, gouging insurers and families and engaging in fraud, all in pursuit of outlandish profits from simple drug screen tests. The Palm Beach Post exposed industry practices as an FBI task force secretly gathered evidence toward indictments still not issued as of January 2016. The Post exposed out-of-control sober home operators Ken Bailynson and Kenny Chatman and gave the community its first look deep into the industry’s sordid underbelly. https://github.com/PalmBeachPost/postgeo https://github.com/PalmBeachPost/dbfs2csv
  • FUELING THE FIRE

    Buried beneath a mix of federal bureaucracy and ambivalence is a story that explains why thousands of helicopters in use today remain vulnerable to the very same problem that doomed a Flight for Life crew in Frisco, Colorado, earlier this year. For five months, 9Wants to Know analyzed hundreds of NTSB accident reports in an effort to better understand what’s “fueling the fire.” Based heavily upon a combination of interviews with victims and researchers, our conclusions have generated interest within the aviation industry and Congress, and will form the basis of a national discussion that is finally underway. https://vimeo.com/151435468 https://vimeo.com/149457398