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David Schaper

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.

In this role, Schaper covers aviation and airlines, railroads, the trucking and freight industries, highways, transit, and new means of mobility such as ride hailing apps, car sharing, and shared bikes and scooters. In addition, he reports on important transportation safety issues, as well as the politics behind transportation and infrastructure policy and funding.

Since joining NPR in 2002, Schaper has covered some of the nation's most important news stories, including the Sandy Hook school shooting and other mass shootings, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, California wildfires, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and numerous other disasters. David has also reported on presidential campaigns in Iowa and elsewhere, on key races for U.S. Senate and House, governorships, and other offices in the Midwest, and he reported on the rise of Barack Obama from relative political obscurity in Chicago to the White House. Along the way, he's brought listeners and online readers many colorful stories about Chicago politics, including the corruption trials and convictions of two former Illinois governors.

But none of that compares to the joy of covering his beloved Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2016, and three Stanley Cup Championships for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Prior to joining NPR, Schaper spent almost a decade working as an award-winning reporter and editor for WBEZ/Chicago Public Media, NPR's Member station in Chicago. For three years he covered education issues, reporting in-depth on the problems and progress — financial, educational and otherwise — in Chicago's public schools.

Schaper also served as WBEZ's Assistant Managing Editor of News, managing the station's daily news coverage and editing the reporting staff while often still reporting himself. He later served as WBEZ's political editor and reporter; he was a frequent fill-in news anchor and talk show host. Additionally, he has been an occasional contributor guest panelist on Chicago public television station WTTW's news program, Chicago Tonight.

Schaper began his journalism career in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as a reporter and anchor at Wisconsin Public Radio's WLSU-FM. He has since worked in both public and commercial radio news, including stints at WBBM NewsRadio in Chicago, WXRT-FM in Chicago, WDCB-FM in suburban Chicago, WUIS-FM in Springfield, Illinois, WMAY-AM in Springfield, Illinois, and WIZM-AM and FM in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Schaper earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and history at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master's degree in public affairs reporting at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He lives in Chicago with his wife, a Chicago Public School teacher, and they have three adult children.

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration has told Boeing's chief executive to back off the company's push to speed up the recertification of the troubled 737 Max airplane.

The warning happened in a meeting between FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg at the FAA's headquarters in Washington on Thursday, and comes just a day after Dickson faced intense questioning from Congress over what some lawmakers say is a too-cozy relationship between the FAA and the company it regulates.

The CEO of Boeing says he considered stepping down in the aftermath of two 737 Max plane crashes in the past year that killed 346 people, but he says he is committed to staying on and seeing the giant defense and aerospace company through one of the worst crises of its century-long existence.

"I think it's fair to say I've thought about it," Dennis Muilenburg said Wednesday at a business conference. "But to be frank, that's not what's in my character. I don't see running away from a challenge, resigning, as the right solution."

One year to the day after first of two horrific crashes of its bestselling 737 Max commercial jet, Boeing's CEO finally took public questions this past week about whether the company downplayed safety concerns, hid design flaws from regulators and tried to cover up its mistakes and missteps. CEO Dennis Muilenburg endured close to nine hours of often intense grilling over two days of congressional hearings on Boeing's role in the 737 Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, with some victims' family members in attendance.

Dennis Muilenburg, the president and CEO of Boeing, appeared before a Senate panel Tuesday where he was peppered with questions regarding a pair of crashes of 737 Max jets and was asked if the company purposefully hid sensitive information about flaws in its onboard flight system from regulators.

Updated at 9:23 p.m. ET

The fallout continues at Boeing over two 737 Max plane crashes that killed 346 people, with the company replacing Kevin McAllister as president and CEO of the commercial airplanes unit.

He is the first top executive ousted since the crashes of 737 Max jets in Indonesia and Ethiopia. McAllister is being replaced by longtime company insider Stanley Deal, leader of the Boeing's global services division.

New evidence indicates that Boeing pilots knew about "egregious" problems with the 737 Max airplane three years ago, but federal regulators were not told about them.

Investigators say the plane's new flight control system, called MCAS, is at least partially to blame for 737 Max crashes in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia this year that killed 346 people. Acting on data from a single, faulty angle-of-attack sensor, MCAS repeatedly forced both planes into nosedives as the pilots struggled, but failed to regain control.

A new report from a group of international aviation safety experts sharply criticizes both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration for the way the 737 Max airplane was developed and certified to fly.

All 737 Max jets around the world remain grounded and under orders to not fly passengers following crashes in Indonesia last October and Ethiopia in March that together killed 346 people.

With the company under intense scrutiny in investigations into two deadly plane crashes, Boeing's board of directors has stripped CEO Dennis Muilenburg of his dual role as company chairman.

In a statement on Friday, the Chicago-based aerospace giant says it has separated the top two roles so that chief executive Muilenburg can "focus full-time on running the company as it works to return the 737 Max safely to service, ensure full support to Boeing's customers around the world, and implement changes to sharpen Boeing's focus on product and services safety."

Westbound traffic on many Chicago streets came to a stop between 6:40 and 6:50 p.m. Central Time on Monday as drivers snapped pictures over dashboards, passengers with smartphones in hand leaned out of windows, and pedestrians set up tripods in the middle of some busy roadways — all so they could capture the incredible image of a burnt orange sun setting exquisitely framed by a canyon of skyscrapers.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

With American Airlines joining United in pulling 737 Max planes from their schedules and cancelling flights into early November, many travel industry observers are bracing for the next shoe to drop: higher priced fares and cancelled flights for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays season.

American Airlines announced Monday it is pulling the 737 Max from its schedule through Nov. 2, canceling about 115 flights per day. American reported last week that the Max grounding has already cost the airline $185 million in lost revenue.

The Federal Aviation Administration has found a new problem in Boeing's troubled 737 Max that the company must address before the regulatory agency will allow the airplanes to fly passengers again. The discovery further delays the airliner's return to service.

Southwest, American and United Airlines, the three U.S. carriers that fly Max jets, have already pulled the aircraft from their schedules through Labor Day weekend and this latest development could set back the plane's return to commercial flight well into the fall.

One of the nation's best known airline pilots is speaking out on the problems with Boeing's 737 Max jetliner. Retired Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger told a congressional subcommittee Wednesday that an automated flight control system on the 737 Max "was fatally flawed and should never have been approved."

The Federal Aviation Administration says there's a new problem with some of Boeing's 737 commercial jets. More than 300 of the planes, including some of the grounded Max versions of the jets, may have faulty parts on their wings.

Though the problem is not considered something that could lead to a crash, Boeing is contacting airlines that own the 737s in question, and the FAA has issued an air worthiness order directing airlines to immediately inspect the aircraft.

After a daylong meeting with fellow aviation safety officials from around the world, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration is sounding more optimistic about efforts to approve a fix for Boeing's troubled 737 Max, hinting that the FAA could recertify the plane to fly passengers again by as soon as late June.

In the wake of two crashes of its 737 Max jet in recent months that killed 346 people and grounded those planes worldwide, Boeing continues to produce the planes while campaigning to reassure airlines, pilots, regulators and the flying public that they are safe.

Many air travelers are breathing a sigh of relief now that the Federal Aviation Administration has grounded all Boeing 737 Max airplanes after two of the aircraft crashed in recent months, but some airline passengers are finding their flights canceled on Thursday as a result.

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The Federal Aviation Administration now faces an awkward question.

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The polar vortex sliding south into the Midwest is sending temperatures to their lowest levels in more than 30 years and, in some cases, setting records.

While it usually sits over the Arctic, the polar vortex is being pushed south by an unseasonably warm air mass to the north.

The life-threatening cold is paralyzing the region — closing schools, businesses and courthouses; grounding flights; and keeping millions confined to their homes.

Package delivery by drone is one small step closer to reality today.

Federal regulators announced plans Monday to change rules to allow drone operators to fly their unmanned aerial vehicles over populated areas and at night, without having to get special permits.

Many drone operators and enthusiasts complain that federal regulations haven't kept pace with the technology, arguing that prohibitions on flying drones over people and at night are out of date.

Once the backbone of the nation's transportation system, the nation's aging interstate highways are now overused and worn out, according to a new federal report. And failure to invest billions in modernizing the system will likely lead to more potholes, slower traffic jams, and increased costs to drivers and the nation's economy.

The I-word is popping up again in Washington D.C.: infrastructure.

It's one of the few issues on which President Trump and Democrats in Congress might be able to agree. Both sides say they're willing to work together on a plan to rebuild the nation's roads, bridges, transit and water systems.

"It really could be a beautiful bipartisan type of situation," Trump said in his news conference last Wednesday. While he was combative on a lot of issues, this wasn't one of them: "We have a lot of things in common on infrastructure," he added.

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Relief supplies and critical life-saving equipment and personnel are heading into areas of Florida's Panhandle ravaged by Hurricane Michael, but officials say the severity of the storm's devastation is limiting their ability to get into the most heavily damaged areas.

Air travelers frustrated by having very little legroom and narrow seats might finally see some relief under legislation passed Wednesday by the U.S. Senate. A bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, which passed on a vote of 93-6, includes a provision requiring the FAA to set a minimum size for commercial airplane seats, including a minimum pitch, or distance between seats.

Airlines have been shrinking that distance in recent years in order to cram more seats and passengers onto planes and squeeze more revenue out of each flight.

Many seaports and airports along the southeastern U.S. coastline have been shut down, more than 1,000 flights have been canceled, and some highways and bridges in low-lying coastal areas could close soon, as Hurricane Florence gets closer to making landfall.

Authorities in coastal areas that lie in the path of the massive storm are urging residents one last time to evacuate.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster's message is pretty blunt: If you live in an evacuation zone, hit the road soon.

The U.S is on pace to record close to 40,000 roadway and highway deaths for the third consecutive year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the National Safety Council. The silver lining in those dark numbers is that the number of people dying each year in traffic collisions nationwide appears to be leveling off after two years of sharp increases.

Most of us know the routine of boarding an airplane: First, there's the patient waiting in line at the gate, and then again on the jet bridge, and waiting yet again for fellow passengers to put luggage in the overhead bins, before finally it's your turn to find your seat and do the same.

Now, actually getting into the that narrow window or middle seat is another problem.

The Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the border is not just heartbreaking to other immigrants but also terrifying. Even immigrants who are in the country legally are beginning to worry that their families could be broken apart, too.

The anti-immigrant threats and actions have many Hispanic Americans in particular living on edge.

Tears immediately start streaming down the cheeks of Sarah, a Mexican immigrant, when she is asked about watching recent news stories on TV.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators say the driver of a Tesla using autopilot did not have his hands on the steering wheel in the moments before a fatal crash in the Silicon Valley area of Northern California in March.

Investigators also found that the Tesla was accelerating, with the cruise control engaged, when it crashed into a highway barrier. Walter Huang, the 38-year old driver, was killed.

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