Transpacific (TPA) flight 545, which inbound from Hong Kong to Denver, almost arrived to the destination city when it dived roughly. It needed emergency landing in Los Angeles. More than 50 people got injured and some died so that about 40 ambulances should be on the ground as the plane landed.
Air Traffic Approach Control and Flight Standard District Office (Fizdos) received information that the main problem of the accident was severe turbulence during flight. But some facts appeared on quick investigation (see page 31):
- TPA 545 was at thirty-seven thousand feet when the incindent took place. And no other aircraft at that altitude and position reported weather problems.
- The seat-belt sign was off.
- The captain never made announcement related to both weather and seat-belt sign.
The accident needed depth investigation apparently.
Norton AircraftNorton was one of the great names of American aviation. The company had been started by aviation pioneer Charley Norton in 1935 (see page 20). It assembled body of planes including N-22, the plane for TPA 545.
Katherine Casey Singleton, our main character, was the Quality Assurance Rep on the Incident Review Team (QA/IRT), as well as the Vice President of Norton Aircraft. She was one of the investigation team members. She tried to gather data from many sources to crack the problem. At the beginning slat failure and counterfeit parts became the main issues that responsible for the mess. But it couldn't be proved as the main problem. Along the way Casey and the team found dead-end in all ways. They were not sure what really happened with the plane.
All of sudden, Casey got a copy of trivia document. She didn't know why the anonymous wanted her to take a look that stuff.
Airborne! Soar!Airframe is a breathtaking story. It is mixture of tragedy, mystery, and useful information on aviation itself. Although it is full of hard abbreviations and terminology, the book is really satisfying. You won't take a long reading with it.
Crichton was a specialist for scientific novels. He made some science nerds adored him. So, if you think you are one of those you can try with Crichton. :P
This is my first experience with Crichton. I knew he was a good author and made some best-seller movies from his books. But I didn't buy it until I read his stories by myself. Now I am considering to read another book, and another again. :)
4 stars for this fabulous story.
Book InformationTitle: Airframe
Author: Michael Crichton
Mass market paperback, 431 pages
Published September 28th 1997 by Ballantine Books