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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Aviation: Book Review: Airframe by: Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton’s Novel  Airframe is a suspenseful tale about a fictitious aerospace firm called Norton, battling to uncover the truth about an accident with one of their aircraft the N-22. The story begins with a gripping account of a terrible in flight emergency and the suspense doesn’t let up. The story is told primarily through the eyes of a female high level Norton executive named Casey. Airframe covers many aspects of the business including union labor disputes, media relations, and the customer manufacturer dynamic. Airframe is published by Ballentine Books and is copyrighted in 1996.

The union problems in Airframe were not surprising as they mirror reality in the industry. I was somewhat surprised that some of the union men tried to attack the main character. I hope union violence is rare in real life. Crichton seemed adept at showing us the good side and the bad side of the union situation and he seemed neither pro nor con union. Honestly I have never been involved in a situation like the one in Airframe. I was kind of surprised that the manufacturer was doing the lion’s share of the investigation that neither the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) nor the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was more involved. We follow the story from the point of view of our heroin Casey. I did feel the scope of the book was limited. I am sure in reality such an investigation would involve hundreds of people. You do get to meet other characters doing various key jobs but I felt it never really encompassed the entire investigation.