Airline Sleuths Dig Up Data to Save Lives

Flight record scans reveal hidden risks, prevent crashes
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 13, 2008 7:30 PM CST
America West and US Airways jets taxi along runway two at Sky Harbor International Airport Sunday in Phoenix in this Sept. 4, 2005 file photo. (AP Photo/Matt York, file)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Airlines and air safety investigators have a new way to snoop for clues that can help avoid future accidents, the Washington Post reports. While they once depended on crash remains for evidence, they have now gone digital, pursuing daily probes of thousands of computer records and pilots' reports to dig up data that can avert disaster.

Probers hope to expose potential “precursors”—problems that could spark an accident but would otherwise be neglected, such as a bump found on a Vermont runway. With no major US commercial crashes since 2006, some are calling the new method is effective. “There is no doubt that by using this data we have prevented an accident,” an appreciative pilot said.