NASA Reconsiders, Will Release Scary Air Survey

Director regrets appearance of putting airline profits before safety
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2007 2:46 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. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – NASA's director reversed course today in testimony before Congress, saying the agency will release data showing that near air accidents are more common than previously realized. NASA feared releasing the information would upset travelers and hurt airline profits. "I regret any impression that NASA was in any way trying to put commercial interests ahead of public safety," Michael Griffin said.

"One of the most important NASA principles is to ensure the dissemination of research results to the widest practical and appropriate extent," Griffin wrote in testimony prepared for a hearing today. The information in question was gathered from a comprehensive survey of airline pilots. The AP reports that NASA sent the data to a House committee yesterday.