Inspector General Probes NASA Study

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The Office of Inspector General began looking into the saga of NASA’s National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (NAOMS) a week after NASA Chairman Michael Griffin said the data from the survey would be released publicly. Griffin was on the hot seat last week after The Associated Press ran a story in which a NASA official said it withheld results of the survey, which polled 29,000 pilots on their experiences in the air, because it didn’t want to alarm the public or affect airline revenues. The OIG will look at the efficiency and taxpayer value of the survey, something which Griffin also called into question during the hearings, according to New Scientist magazine. New Scientist is reporting that Griffin told the committee the data were “simply not credible” because of the way the survey was conducted. Pilots contacted by the polling firm were allowed anonymity and that means it’s impossible to judge whether two or more pilots are reporting the same incident. The magazine suggests the skewed results may have led to the conclusion that aviation incidents were generally underreported. Meanwhile, the contractor which conducted the survey, Batelle Memorial Institute, said its work had been “very high quality.”