Airframe - Michael Crichton

***** Who’s afraid of flying?

I remember having postponed the reading of this book, as a result of a comment by a passenger on a flight from Cagliari to London, which advised me against it before flying.
At the moment I thought it would be really disturbing, but now, after reading it, I realise that it did exactly the opposite effect to me.
We are undoubtedly facing a great thriller, which narrates about a strange plane crash and follows all investigations into its causes, with a lot of interference by the media, which tend to place greater emphasis as always to the sensational appearance of the matter, rather than the truth, in an absolutely ruthless way, enough to bring down a large company. Everything on the basis of assumptions, without any evidence.
In another book Crichton had addressed not so much veiled criticism on the bad tendency to spread theories with little proof in order to create sensation and fear. I’m talking about “State of Fear”, but it came ten years after this one.
The annoyance and anger provoked in the reader is almost the same, although in “Airframe” it refers to a subject, that of the people who work in the airline business, which does not affect us closely. But now, thanks to the skill of the author and the obvious extensive research done before writing the book, we get to know a fascinating world that is continually moving in front of our eyes (or should I say over our heads) and that we almost take for granted, without understanding its enormous complexity.
Reading this book, we learn how airplanes fly, how they are made, all professionals who are behind their construction, but also understand how they are extremely safe.
And, when you get to understand something, it is rather difficult to get really scared.
For this reason I would suggest its reading to those who still fear this fascinating means of transport, provided that (and it is quite a feat!) they commit to deal with it with attention and maybe have some minimal knowledge of physics or a particular interest or just curiosity about such a technical subject.
Said so, you may think that it is a sort of fictional essay, just like the aforementioned “State of Fear”. In fact it is not. It is a thriller that captures you and keeps glued to the book. Actually I read it in less than a week (we are talking about a novel of more than 400 pages), despite my chronic lack of time. I just could not stop. Anyway the description of the technique is undoubtedly essential to understand all the aspects of the plot and try to find the cause which is “guilty” of the accident, it is almost a detective story.
And just like in a well thought out detective story, the elements to uncover the truth are scattered everywhere in the plot, all the more it is a good reason to read it in its entirety with extreme attention.

Airframe on Amazon.com.