Zzzz... Zzzz... Something Sleepy in the Air?

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Is American Airlines putting something sleepy in the air, namely its pilots? The June 1 crash of Flight 1420 in Little Rock bookended a six-year period in which American jets were involved in six accidents –- two of them accounting for 171 deaths –- more than any other domestic carrier. Federal investigators are now looking for a pattern, said NTSB spokesman Paul Turk, "to see if there is something we need to do." American’s pilots –- who probably have the industry’s prickliest relationship with their management –- have been only too happy to provide some usual suspects.

Some point to a corporate culture that values profits over safety, with managers skimping on training to save money and intimidating pilots who cancel flights for safety reasons. The pilots’ union also says American has only on-again, off-again compliance with federal rules requiring that pilots get at least eight hours of rest in the 24 hours before they complete their flight duty. American Airlines spokesman Chris Chiames told the New York Times his company had no such habits, but his denial surely belongs in the flack hall of fame: "Every day we go out and sell our product, which is safe transportation," he said. "There is nothing in our interest to call into question our commitment to safety."