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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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Big deal....
By Amiga500 on 10/23/2007 10:03:20 AM , Rating: 2
Who cares about near misses...

how many near misses have YOU had on the roads driving?

If your anything like me its a few.

The raw numbers speak for themselves, commercial flying is the safest mode of transport in the world.

RE: Big deal....
By TomZ on 10/23/2007 10:17:12 AM , Rating: 3
Who cares about near misses... how many near misses have YOU had on the roads driving?

I care, because unlike the environment that cars are in, the locations of planes are supposed to be carefully managed by air traffic control. Near misses indicate failures in the system that need to be improved. Near misses are not supposed to happen by design.

RE: Big deal....
By InsaneGain on 10/23/2007 12:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
The raw numbers speak for themselves, commercial flying is the safest mode of transport in the world.

Exactly. The numbers and statistics tell the story. If there was actually more risk in flying than the general public is aware of, then given the huge numbers of people flying, statistics would inexorably dictate that there would actually be a lot more accidents. There is simply no possible way that the industry is actually more dangerous and has just been very lucky for decades. I think what the story is saying is that inevitably there is some risks involved but the general public can't rationally put the risk data into proper perspective, and therefore the data shouldn't be published. Statistically, driving a car is far more dangerous than flying.

RE: Big deal....
By timmiser on 10/23/2007 2:15:58 PM , Rating: 2
What is the definition of a "near-miss"?

RE: Big deal....
By Bluestealth on 10/23/2007 10:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
Just wait till the Associated Press gets their hands on a "leaked" copy of this report. They will work on making it as scary as possible. Expect a line like "We are giving you the hard information the government didn't want you to know." Sadly that line will be the most honest part of the sensationalist story.
Two people will cancel their plane tickets and take a train, or worse their car! After about a month no one will even remember it.
Its funny how the press use scare tactics to try and remain relevant. For ex. "This thing is KILLING your children, special report Tuesday."

I honestly don't understand why they won't release this report myself, they are just fueling speculation. Even with this "dire" information it is still the safest way to travel.

RE: Big deal....
By mdogs444 on 10/23/07, Rating: 0
RE: Big deal....
By FITCamaro on 10/23/2007 11:02:20 PM , Rating: 2
You'll be glad to know Fox News covered the medal of honor story.

RE: Big deal....
By TomZ on 10/23/2007 11:15:58 PM , Rating: 2
CNN covered it pretty well also.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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