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Employee rides down a baggage conveyor belt  (Source: AP)
NASA kept research data private to avoid a panic

If you're afraid of flying, this recent article compiled by the Associated Press probably won't relieve any of your pre-flight stress.

After conducting an $8.5 million safety project that revealed safety problems, NASA withheld the results to avoid upsetting air passengers.  The following safety issues take place more than the public is aware - bird strikes, near mid-air collisions and runway interference.  NASA interviewed more than 24,000 commercial and private pilots over a four-year span that started in 2000 - after finishing the interviews and stopping all research, NASA has spent the past year silent about data gathered.

NASA last week requested the main contractor delete all relevant information from its computers.  According to NASA, no collected data was severe enough to warrant contacting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  

Publishing the data could have damaged the "public's confidence in airlines and affect airline profits," said Thomas Luedtke, senior NASA official.

"If the airlines aren't safe I want to know about it," said Rep. Brad Miller, R-N.C., chairman of the House Science and Technology investigations and oversight subcommittee.  "I would rather not feel a false sense of security because they don't tell us," he added.

The House Science and Technology committee will now reportedly launch an investigation, also warning NASA and its contractor to not delete any documents.

Due to the AP article published in the morning, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said the U.S. space agency will work to try and find a way some of the information can be published for everyone.  The information "should be widely available and subject to review and scrutiny," he said in an official NASA statement.

NASA Ames Research Center officials want to publish a public report before 2008.


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Me personally
By FITCamaro on 10/23/2007 9:37:13 AM , Rating: 0
There's just some information I'd rather not know. I think airline travel is relatively safe. Far, far fewer people die in airplane crashes than car accidents every year. So I'd just rather not know how many near misses there are every year. Because I don't want to be thinking about it as I'm getting on a plane.




RE: Me personally
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 9:51:09 AM , Rating: 1
I agree. I fly about 2 days per week for my job, and I still am not quite fond of it. Its the not being in control factor that I cannot stand.

However, I would still rather like to think that flying is "the safest way to travel", especially when I have no other alternatives for work travel.

By releasing this information, there definately could be a public panic, and thats not a good thing. I think it's better for the government & researchers to come up with better regulations to make things safer.

Just my $0.02.


RE: Me personally
By Lord 666 on 10/23/2007 10:18:56 AM , Rating: 2
What not-for-profit has you up in the air 2 days a week?


RE: Me personally
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 10:29:57 AM , Rating: 2
We are a not-for-profit system but also parter with other hospitals in the region - philadelphia, pittsburgh, new york, etc. Also, being a director, i travel alot to conferences (management & health it based).

Its not a constant 2 days per week, but it has its busy and slow seasons. Its technically a 30-50% travel job.

I also drive to closer not profit systems as opposed to flying.


RE: Me personally
By Lord 666 on 10/23/2007 10:36:06 AM , Rating: 2
So you work for a RHIO or "mini-RHIO"?


RE: Me personally
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 10:41:37 AM , Rating: 2
I guess you could call it a RHIO, but not necessarily. There are many forms of a non profit hospital system - but all are individually funded. We just make it a point to work together to increase ways for care, technology, ideas, security, etc.

For example, Childrens Hospital Systems in ohio are located in Cincinatti, Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, Akron, etc. But they are all individual, funded seperately, and operate seperately. All are based on donations as well - just like Columbus is now "Nationwide Childrens" because of a very large donation, and there is on in Texas by Dell.


RE: Me personally
By 91TTZ on 10/23/2007 8:21:37 PM , Rating: 2
If you'd rather not know, I have an easy solution for you- don't read the report.

If they release the report, it doesn't mean that you have to read it. Just like when a movie comes out that I don't want to see- I simply don't see it. I don't expect someone to make up my mind for me and ban it for everyone just because I don't want to see it. That would be some really bad logic there.


RE: Me personally
By FITCamaro on 10/23/2007 11:00:08 PM , Rating: 2
Even if I don't read it others will. And then you can be damn sure some of that group will all get together and sue the airlines. And then the cost of travel will go up for all of us because of a report on something the airlines couldn't really control.


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