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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 13:21 GMT
Nasa attacked on air safety study
Michael Griffin, Nasa administrator
Mr Griffin denied the report was deliberately issued on 31 December
A survey of air safety by the US space agency, Nasa, has come in for criticism from members of Congress.

The 16,000-page document has been presented in a way that makes it difficult to analyse, members of Congress have said.

Nasa has also been criticised for releasing only parts of its findings on New Year's Eve - an attempt, critics say, to bury the report.

Researchers interviewed nearly 30,000 pilots about their experiences.

This is now three years old, and it's been dumped, unanalysed and scrubbed of much of the useful information
Brad Miller
US congressman

The data shows that there were hundreds of cases where pilots flew too close to other planes, plunged from altitude or landed at airports without clearance.

The head of Nasa, Michael Griffin, said the public should not be worried about the findings, but congressmen said they needed further study.

'Commercial interests'

The federal air safety study had previously been withheld from the public over concerns it would upset travellers and hurt the commercial interests of the airlines, correspondents say.

NASA FINDINGS
Data gathered over four years
1,266 incidents in which aircraft flew within 152m (500ft) of each other
1,312 cases of pilots suddenly dropping or climbing more than 90m
166 reports of pilots landing without clearance at an airport

Brad Miller, a Democratic member of Congress, said the report was out of date and vowed to press Nasa further on the issue.

"This is now three years old, and it's been dumped, unanalysed and scrubbed of much of the useful information," he said.

Delivering the study, Nasa chief Michael Griffin said: "It's hard for me to see any data here that the travelling public would care about or ought to care about."

Mr Griffin said Nasa had never intended to analyse the data it collected, but planned to pass its methodology of the study to the US aviation community.

He denied the report was intentionally published on New Year's Eve to bury its findings.



SEE ALSO
Nasa looks for a culture change
28 Jul 07 |  Americas
Nasa astronauts 'drunk on duty'
27 Jul 07 |  Americas
Nasa scandals overshadow launch
27 Jul 07 |  Science/Nature
'Love triangle' astronaut sacked
08 Mar 07 |  Americas
Astronaut in 'love kidnap plot'
06 Feb 07 |  Americas
Griffin nominated for Nasa chief
14 Mar 05 |  Science/Nature
Nasa under fire over safety
26 Aug 03 |  Science/Nature

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