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Airframe

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  45,580 ratings  ·  1,078 reviews
The twin jet plane en route to Denver from Hong Kong is merely a green radar blip half an hour off the California coast when the call comes through to air traffic control:

'Socal Approach, this is TransPacific 545. We have an emergency.' The pilot requests priority clearance to land - then comes the bombshell - he needs forty ambulances on the runway.

But nothing prepares th
...more
Paperback, 431 pages
Published 1997 by Arrow Books (first published December 12th 1991)
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Jurassic Park by Michael CrichtonTimeline by Michael CrichtonCongo by Michael CrichtonPrey by Michael CrichtonThe Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
The Best of Michael Crichton
8th out of 21 books — 104 voters
Jurassic Park by Michael CrichtonThe Andromeda Strain by Michael CrichtonThe Hunt for Red October by Tom ClancySphere by Michael CrichtonThe Meat Market by James Chalk
Best Technothrillers Ever
30th out of 471 books — 627 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5 breathless stars of five

I really hate flying. I'm not scared of it, I just dislike being herded into inky-dinky seats meant for short people by ill-tempered sky-waiters who charge for pillows and booze, and then I have to pay more than I used to make a week for the privilege of being searched, patted by men I'm not attracted to in places I don't want to be patted unless I am, etc etc etc.

Fifteen years ago, all that was more or less to come, and storymonger Crichton used planes for a
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Jay
Mike gave me this book when we visited him, Anna, and Kaley at their Woodbridge apt--jesus it must be 3 or 4 (or 5?) years ago. I remember how funny he was about it. Convo went something like this:

------------

MS: Hey Jay - I got this book for you to have

me: Oh really? Well, what's it about?

MS: Pfft... fuck if I know. Anna tried it. I tried it. Too many goddamn acronyms in it.

me: (laughs)

MS: I'm serious, dude. It's all about an airliner crash. But the fuckin author uses every acronym under the s
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Eric_W
This is my first Crichton since the Andromeda Strain written so many years ago. Another reason to ignore the professional critics who have not been terribly kind to Crichton in the past few years. I really liked this book. It has a marvelous blend of science, information and a good plot that keeps the pages turning.

It’s interesting that many of the reviews I read focused on the aircraft industry. I think the book is more about the media and it’s relentless pursuit of the visual and the sound bit
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Linda
As someone who worked most of my life in Aerospace, on the supersonic B-1 bomber, and then on several Titan missile and launch vehicle programs, I found the book well researched. There were a few times when I said to myself, "In what manufacturing area would THAT occur?" But he's right on with the incessant use of acronyms, and the increasing prevalence of cost-cutting maneuvers that end up compromising flight safety.

And I believe he's right on about the maneuvers of the airline companies that
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Ed
Nov 27, 2009 Ed rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chrichton fans and people with no other choice.
When Michael Crichton is good he is very, very good but this effort is just plain horrible. The only reason I finished it is due to my obsession about not wanting to miss anything. I found myself reading the first sentence of paragraphs and skipping the rest to move more quickly to the end. I don't think I missed anything doing it that way.

The characters are stereotyped beyond belief: the hard working but put upon single mother, the brusque and impatient boss, the techy nerds, the debonair test
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Bob Milne
Airframe is - for better or for worse, depending on your point of view - exactly what we've come to expect from a Michael Crichton novel. There's a big-budget action sequence to get us going, a myriad of technological details, a mystery to be solved, a conspiracy driving things in the background, one well-developed protagonist, and a cast of supporting players that really don't exist beyond their role in the plot.

Having said all that, it's also a novel I finished over the course of a weekend.

The
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Dylan Nugent
Michael Crichton is a master of taking complicated subjects and easing the reader into them while at the same time making the characters seem well immersed in the details. Airframe is a novel about airplanes, and specifically an investigation into a plane accident by the plane's manufacturer. Though all the characters know more about airplanes than you ever will, Crichton has presented a spectacular mixture of in-depth research and understandable explanations. Not only by the end of the novel di ...more
Jagath
Learnt a few things

1. Disasters are often caused by a sequence of unfortunate incidents.
2. Record keeping is a good thing.
3. Humans ARE the weakest link.
4. Don't let your kid fly your plane.
5. Wear seatbelts, just in case.
Thomasscholtes
DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU PLAN TO TAKE A FLIGHT ANYTIME SOON!

I bought this book without even thinking as I waited for my plane from L.A. to Baltimore, Maryland to come in. Two chapters in and I had to put it down because what it talks about is so real you just have to ignore it for the time being. Crichton always does a ton of research for his books, making them feel and appear as if they already happened and you just happen to be getting a behind-the-scenes look into the event and lives of the pe
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Sarai
From Publishers Weekly
...The event that launches the story, conceived long before TWA Flight 800's last takeoff, is an airline disaster. Why did a passenger plane "porpoise"-pitch and dive repeatedly-enroute from Hong Kong to Denver, killing four and injuring 56? That's what Casey Singleton, v-p for quality assurance for Norton Aircraft, has to find out fast. If Norton's design is to blame, its imminent deal with China may collapse, and the huge company along with it. With Casey as his unsubtle
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Brian
I've never read Michael Crichton before and after Airframe I'm pretty sure I never will read Crighton again. The plot itself which concerns an inflight accident on an airliner isn't bad. It's the multitude of acronyms (With no glossary for them) and the characters who are essentially caricatures.

The story is told mainly through the eyes of Casey Singleton who along with a secretary and a media coach, who is in the book for about four pages, are the only "normal" people in the book. Casey is a VP
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Todd Russell
A fun, engrossing techno thriller that probably shouldn't be read aboard an airplane. Follow along with the VP of Quality Assurance Casey Singleton of a fictional (but seemingly all too real) airframe manufacturer. Casey is assigned to investigate an incident with Flight 545 from Hong Kong that left over fifty people injured and three dead, including a crew member. Casey is one of Crichton's more rounded female characters and considering he isn't known for strong characterization, she is an exce ...more
Richard H.
Crichton has a true best seller here that holds the attention all the way through the 400+ pages.

I like the fact that his protagonist is a gutsy lady who is working with a bunch of engineers in an aircraft plant. She knows how to hold her own and that takes a lot when you know how engineers manage their interpersonal relations and staff.

I like the portrayal of the television media for what many of them are; vampires for the latest blood and gore, willing to sacrifice the real explanation of a
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Kenny
Michael Crichton, literary uber-mensch, sets himself pretty high standards, so one cannot be too disappointed when he fails to outscore JURASSIC PARK every time. But what makes Crichton's books interesting (to me) is not so much the story, but the theme, which is almost always a cautionary tale (JURASSIC PARK: don't mess with mother nature; STATE OF FEAR: you can't mess with mother nature, etc.) AIRFRAME is not about the dangers of air travel, however, as one might suspect from the set-up. Rathe ...more
Austin James
Whenever I want to get back in the swing of reading, I pick an easy read. That’s what this book is – easy. It’s about an airplane crash, the media’s desire to sensationalize instead of report the news, and the politics of the airplane business. It has little character development, and much of the dialogue is driven by explaining how airplanes and the airplane business operate (there is always some dumb character around to ask the obvious question that results in a mini lecture). I suppose if air ...more
Nita Elder
Crichton takes the reader into the manufactory of airlines. The story begins with an "incident" over the Pacific, which injures many passengers and kills a few. The story has some loose ends, but Crichton manages to get across his fear that the US is not protecting its international technological position. There are several stories taking place simultaneously. Our protagonist - a divorcee, finally uncovers some pretty disturbing facts which jeapordize the welfare of her company, while she helps ...more
Gerald Kinro
Enroute from Asia to Denver, a commercial jet liner experiences an accident at 35,000 feet. The result is three dead, fifty six injured, and the cabin wrecked. Casey Singleton is sent to uncover the cause of this incident. The stakes are high with a multi-billion dollar sale to the Chinese one the line. Someone does not want her to find the truth, however. Is it the tough labor unions who see jobs being exported to China if the deal goes through? Is it someone else? What will they do to stop her ...more
Kate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
Okay, okay - obviously not great literature, but I needed an easy read for the Easter weekend after a few long weeks at the office. I had picked this up for my (then 15 year old) son a year or two ago, remembering that I had enjoyed The Andromeda Strain when I was his age (many) years ago. I guess I'm more demanding now - this read way too much like a two-star made-for-TV movie script. But at least it kept me away from the TV over the weekend. Except for the Masters tournament, hockey and baseba ...more
Heather
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephen Gallup
I'm working my way through a couple other books but felt the need for a change of pace this weekend and took a break with Airframe. It was a quick, engaging read.

It's one of those stories rooted in detailed understanding of an arcane subject--in this case the intricacies of commercial aircraft design (fleshed out with excursions into rivalry among manufacturers and carrier problems such as the effects of deregulation). I tend to like such stories, especially when those esoteric details actually
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Piero Maggiani
This is the first and last time I read a book from Crichton. The story is weak since the beginning. Everything is predictable. An example? a) The American woman sees the pilot leaving the cockpit, b) the crew leaves the airport in a hurry, like fleeing the scene, c) The airplane shows no defect, d)The flight instructor swears that it can't be human error because Chang is the best pilot he's ever seen... it's so hard to figure it out? If you need to go from page 10 (the incident) to page 340 (whe ...more
Jamison Gordon
The world lost a brilliant writer when Michael Crichton passed away from cancer in 2008. I read Jurassic Park in high school, before seeing the movie, and was completely enthralled. My other two favorites by Crichton are Timeline and The Andromeda Strain. His blend of suspenseful narrative and science-driven storylines make me feel more intelligent just by reading him.

As a former student pilot, I completely geeked out over Airframe. I picked it up on impulse at Costco and read it in two nights.
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Simon Howard
Before I read this, I’d never read a book by Michael Crichton. As he’s one of the bestselling authors of recent decades, that might come as a surprise. I thought it was time to correct that omission. As someone with an interest in aviation (I’m a fan of trashy TV programmes like Air Crash Investigation, and also the excellent Flaps podcast), I thought Airframe was the perfect option to fill the gap.

Airframe is advertised as “a fast-paced, adrenaline-fuelled thriller from the master of high-conce
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Grady Ormsby

Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has been prominent in the news for the last few days. The missing airliner has been especially interesting to me because I just finished reading Michael Crichton’s Airframe, a novel about a fictional ill-fated flight from Hong Kong to Denver. In this case the plane didn’t go missing nor did it crash. But it did go through turbulence violent enough to severely damage the interior of the aircraft, leave three people dead and injure dozens of others. It was as if the f
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Leanne Franke
I LOVED this book! I don't know much about airplanes, so I suppose suspension of belief was easy for me. But as always, there is so much more to Crichton's stories. He pairs this breathless tale with a (brilliantly accurate) commentary on the news media today whilst also highlighting how often a major disaster is brought about not just by one big event but lots of little, seemingly inconspicuous ones.

While I did love the mystery of flight 545, I also really liked how well Crichton demonstrated h
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Paul
Probably the best book about quality control I've ever read.

I was drawn in by the blurb - a trans-Pacific airliner coming in to land requests forty ambu,ances on the runway. 57 passengers injured, three dead. Mysterious, spooky. I love books that begin like this - I think Guillermo del Toro must have read 'Airframe', as you can see the inspiration for the superb opening of his horror novel 'The Strain'.

While 'Airframe' wasn't quite the thriller I'd hoped for, it did turn out to be a strangely en
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Teo Hoppe
A trans-Pacific flight from Hong Kong encounters severe turbulence leaving several passengers dead and many more injured. Casey Singleton, who is in charge of Quality Control for the airplane manufacturer, is assigned to head the internal investigation into what went wrong. But it soon becomes apparent that someone doesn't want her to figure out what happened. Add to it a labor dispute, and not only is the future of the company in jeopardy, but Casey's life as well.
"Airframe" offers an amazing a
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Portia S
If you look back on my updates, you'll see that I thought this book was going really really boring.

Airframe starts off really exciting, with a mysterious plane incident (incident not accident meaning the plane did not crash but something happened on board) where the the entire aircraft is intact however there are three fatalities and 56 injuries. How did this happen?

We spend the entire book trying to find out.

Immediately we are thrust into the plane company's technical circus that ploughs aro
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Jackie
Crichton is unique in his ability to take a bunch of dry, technical and seemingly disconnected details and pull them all together in the last 20 pages for a great surprise ending where every one of those details matters! I especially enjoy the way he presented the epilogue in this one to let his readers know what happened to each of the characters.
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Michael Crichton (1942–2008) was one of the most successful novelists of his generation, admired for his meticulous scientific research and fast-paced narrative. He graduated summa cum laude and earned his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. His first novel, Odds On (1966), was written under the pseudonym John Lange and was followed by seven more Lange novels. He also wrote as Michael Douglas ...more
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“Sometimes I look around my living room, and the most real thing in the room is the television. It’s bright and vivid, and the rest of my life looks drab. So I turn the damn thing off. That does it every time. Get my life back.” 10 likes
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