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Airframe by Michael Crichton


by Michael Crichton

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you learn a lot about how the airframes are made. get a feel of the kind of stress those ppl are under and what the media can do. Superb book. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
An excellent tension-filled thriller that's completely unputdownable as it careens towards the end. If the subject matter is based on fact, then it provides keen insight into the areas of the airplane manufacture and TV news businesses. Stories of airplane accidents fascinate me viscerally, and this book totally fit the bill. An excellent bonus is that Chrichton provides enough clues in the beginning of the book to the reader to unsolve the mystery - and I was very close - if you're paying very close attention. Great book.
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
Good characterizations. Excellent story-line (I didn't read the blurb first, so it was interesting to see what it was about). Great factuality. Thrilling. ( )
  benuathanasia | Dec 17, 2014 |
It's the nightmare of a lot of people: a passenger aircraft flailing wildly out of control at 35,000 feet, with multiple injuries and fatalities. The aircraft manufacturer is determined to find out what went wrong before the media completely trashes the company, but there is someone else equally determined to prevent the truth from coming out.

As an aviation enthusiast, I was predictably bound to like this. It is a veritable feast of technical details, reports and impressive-sounding acronyms. The story is told in very short, snappy chapters, always ensuring that the reader is oriented in time and place. The protagonist is female, which is a nice bonus and adds even more to the already-high stakes, because she is trying to do her job in a highly male-dominated sphere.

I did wonder why the National Transportation Safety Board would just let the manufacturer investigate the occurrence instead of taking it over themselves, but apparently the NTSB's aviation "go teams" respond only to accidents that occur on US territory or in international waters, and the plane in this story merely landed at LAX. Still, since there were fatalities, I would have thought that the NTSB would want to at least have someone checking up on the investigation. Perhaps they didn't have the budget.

The technology is probably dated somewhat -- I specifically noticed the pagers, but there is probably even more that would be considered ancient history in the world of aviation. The media landscape has also changed significantly: would Norton have even had a chance at containing the story now, in the world of blogs and social media? A similar story set in the present day could be interesting. Airframe was published in 1996, but its themes of aviation safety and the dangers of sensationalist media presenting the story they want instead of the truth are still relevant today. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Nov 6, 2014 |
An airliner travelling from China to the US has an in-air incident, first characterized as turbulence but costing 3 lives plus more than 50 injuries. What follows is an investigation by the plane manufacturer...amidst some contentious opinions from air travel pundits The plane had a well-documented flaw, and everyone was quick to jump on it as the cause. But airliners are designed with redundant systems, and failure is often a series of unlikely, cascading events.

Casey Singleton, an executive for the airplane manufacturer, is charged with leading the investigation. It is not, however, a single investigation of an isolated event. While this is going on, China, the owner of the plane in question, has a contract proposal for a lot of planes that Casey's company is the front-runner. There are some that do not want this deal to go through -- and in her own company! The unions and one upper executive in particular are setting her up to be the fall guy. On top of this, the leading news show is doing a piece -- and seems intent on taking down her company.

The late Michael Crichton could write the phone book and make it interesting. While some of the technology covered is already dated (noticeable only by frequent fliers), the story was nevertheless riveting and entertaining. I haven't read all of Crichton's books yet, but I haven't been disappointed by anything that wasn't published before his death. ( )
  JeffV | Aug 26, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Crichtonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kankaanpää, JaakkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Crichton bevestigt definitief zijn briljante gevoel voor timing....de bittere overlevingsstrijd in de vliegtuigindustrie sluit naadloos aan op het voorpaginanieuws.
For Sonny Mehta
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Emily Jansen sighed in relief.
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Die krengen wegen tweehonderdvijftig ton, vliegen in drie vluchten de wereld rond en vervoeren passagiers op een comfortabeler en veiliger manier dan welk voertuig dan ook in de geschiedenis der mensheid. En wilden jullie ons nou echt vertellen hoe we ons werk beter kunnen doen? Wilden jullie beweren dat jullie er ook maar iets van weten? Volgens mij willen jullie alleen maar onrust zaaien, om wat voor persoonlijke reden dan ook. (Luchtvaartlegende Charley Norton (78) tijdens een interview na een vliegtuigongeluk in 1970)
Het ironische van het informatietijdperk is dat het een nieuw soort aanzien verleend heeft aan ongefundeerde meningen. (Verslaggever John Lawton (68) in een toespraak tot de American Association of Broadcast Journalists in 1995.)
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Book description
CAUTION- SPOILER ALERT - wikipedia.com- The novel opens aboard Hong Kong based Transpacific Airlines flight 545, (a Norton Aircraft-manufactured N-22), inbound to Denver. An incident occurs about a half hour off the California coastline and the pilot requests an emergency landing at Los Angeles stating that the plane encountered "severe turbulence" in midflight. The pilot gives air traffic control conflicting information regarding the type and severity of injuries, but does inform them that crew members were hurt and "three passengers are dead".

The incident seems inexplicable. The N-22 is a plane with an excellent safety record, and the pilot is highly trained, ruling out the possibility of human error. Passengers and flight crew give concurring accounts of the circumstances of the disaster, and the most likely explanation turns out to be a technical problem that was fixed years ago.

The accident takes place at a bad time for Norton Aircraft. Norton is on the verge of concluding an eight-billion-dollar sale of N-22 aircraft to the Chinese government. Should the N-22's safety record be questioned, the Chinese government might cancel the sale. Norton, already hit hard by the economic recession, desperately needs the deal to go through so the company can survive. With only a week left until the deal is signed, Casey Singleton, a vice-president for Norton Aircraft in charge of the Quality Assurance Incident Review Team, must find out what happened on the plane while dealing with disgruntled union workers.

A videotape showing footage of the incident appears on CNN, where it is seen by the producer of Newsline, a television news magazine. Hoping for her own story, the producer attempts to discredit Casey and Norton Aircraft.

Eventually, after a test flight was done to prove Casey's theory, the cause of the disaster turns out to be a combination of faulty and counterfeit parts and human error. While in flight, the airplane's computer and safety systems worked perfectly, detected the fault, and attempted to automatically correct the plane to compensate. The pilot had let his son, also a pilot, take the controls. Just before the incident, while the father was out of the cockpit, an error was detected and the autopilot attempted to engage. The son, being less experienced and not certified for the N-22, panicked and tried repeatedly to fly against the autopilot, causing the catastrophic accident.

The airline attempts to cover up the story, but due to Casey's persistence the whole situation is brought to light. The sale to China goes through and the company remains in operation.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345402871, Mass Market Paperback)

Cruising 35,000 feet above the earth, a twin-engine commercial jet encounters an accident that leaves 3 dead, 56 wounded, and the cabin in shambles. What happened? With a multi-billion-dollar company-saving deal on the line, Casey Singleton is sent by her hard-driving boss to uncover the mysterious circumstances that led to the disaster before more people die. But someone doesn't want her to find the truth. Airframe bristles with authentic information, technical jargon, and the command of detail Crichton's readers have come to expect. Check out Amazon.com's Airframe feature and read an excerpt from the book!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:36 -0400)

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Following a series of plane crashes and passenger deaths a frenzied high pressure investigation is ordered with some surprising results.

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