FLYING INTO TROUBLE

WITH ITS TOOTHLESS INSPECTIONS AND DEAF EAR TO SAFETY WARNINGS, THE FAA HAS MADE AIR TRAVEL MORE PERILOUS THAN IT NEED BE

Mary Schiavo, Inspector General of the Department of Transportation, was working at her home computer on Saturday, May 11, 1996, when she received a phone call that made her feel "queasy and sick." It was the kind of nightmare she had long feared: ValuJet Flight 592 had crashed in the Florida Everglades. A fire had broken out in the cargo hold of the jet, an ancient DC-9 en route to Atlanta from Miami, filling the cabin with smoke and probably asphyxiating the 110 passengers and crew members before they were swallowed by the swamp. Schiavo was disturbed not only because of...

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