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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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Airline profits are most important
By 16nm on 10/23/2007 10:17:13 AM , Rating: 2
Publishing the data could have damaged the "public's confidence in airlines and affect airline profits," said Thomas Luedtke, senior NASA official.

God forbid safety should stand in the way of airline profits. LOL. That's a good one.

RE: Airline profits are most important
By mdogs444 on 10/23/2007 10:45:02 AM , Rating: 1
I, for one, am not concerned with the airlines PROFITS, but I would be concerned with all the people that could lose their jobs if the airlines started losing money. Just look at how many pilots have been pushed out due to profits not being where the airlines deem them to be.

RE: Airline profits are most important
By 91TTZ on 10/23/2007 8:24:34 PM , Rating: 2
The public wouldn't change their spending habits, so the industry wouldn't be affected.

Remember when gas prices jumped up a few years ago and everyone was mad at the oil companies? Just how did they decide to "stick it to the man"? They continued buying gas guzzling SUVs and driving a lot. Their habits weren't about to change, they were just venting.

By FITCamaro on 10/23/2007 11:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but massive lawsuits that could result and the billions they might be forced to pay, that could cause jobs to be lost.

Wait, what am I saying? This is America. People never sue a company for frivolous reasons or things outside their control.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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