NASA Quashes Air-Safety Statistics

Feds sit on survey of pilots that reveals danger in the skies
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2007 5:22 PM CDT
A Continental Airlines worker rides down a baggage conveyor belt plane as a fuel truck pulls up at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport in this Oct. 16, 2007, file photo. Anxious to avoid upsetting...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Safety problems and close calls such as near-collisions and bird strikes are much more common on US flights than previously realized, says a NASA survey leaked to the AP by an anonymous tipster. The agency says it is not releasing the results of the comprehensive air safety survey because it fears the scary data could upset travelers.

The $8.5 million project involved interviews with 24,000 pilots over almost 4 years; the AP has been chasing it for over a year. NASA has ordered the contractor that carried out the survey to erase the data from its computers, but experts are pushing for the information to be released. "If their intent is to just let it sit there, that's just a waste," says a safety science professor.