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3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  61,100 Ratings  ·  1,421 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
Paperback, 431 pages
Published 1997 by Arrow Books (first published November 27th 1996)
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Jeremy May be a little overcomplicated at times, unless the reader is familiar with basic aircraft terminology. Also contains the occasional use of swear…moreMay be a little overcomplicated at times, unless the reader is familiar with basic aircraft terminology. Also contains the occasional use of swear words. It's a very good book but it might not be suitable for a 10 year old. (less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Arjun Aravind The media doesn't care, my friend.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Richard Derus
Jan 16, 2012 Richard Derus rated it liked it
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
Debbie Zapata
Oct 17, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: douglas
I read this book aloud to my husband during the past week or so, and parts of it were very dramatic, but other parts (all those charts!) were a bit dull even though we knew they were important. I don't know how a narrator for an audio version would read them, I either handed the book to Marco and let him see for himself, or else I just said 'lots of numbers that I am not going to read'. We got the gist of it all anyway.

Casey Singleton is in charge of a team trying to figure out what went wrong o
Aug 20, 2007 Jay rated it liked it
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
Dec 03, 2015 Anuradha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like thrillers/sci-fi
Recommended to Anuradha by: Mommy dearest
I will be putting up my review of Stoner tomorrow, I promise; I need to fine tune it some.

But more to the point, Airframe was a book that I enjoyed quite some time back. My mother is a huge fan of Crichton, and as a result, we have his whole collection at home. I was about 15 when she (mother dearest) first read Airframe, and I very vividly remember her raving about it. Being an engineer herself, it was quite obvious that she would enjoy it. And being as far from being an engineer as can be, I w
Cathy (cathepsut)
Read this a while ago. Back then I probably would have given it four or five stars, but tastes change. I remember starting to read this, while sitting in a plane, about to hurl itself down a runway to take-off and thinking "How stupid can I be?" If you want some well written, fast paced entertainment, without having to engage too much brain power, this is a good choice. Unless you are afraid of flying... ;)
Jan 31, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it
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
Apr 23, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
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
Oct 23, 2015 AH rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this one a while back before I joined GR. Learned a lot about how planes are built. Good book for airplane geeks.
Apr 17, 2015 Rade rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
One of those books that I liked but did not like enough. Like most of his other books, this one is well researched by Crichton but I guess not enough to hold my full attention.

The beginning was "fun", for a lack of a better word (how fun can airplane accidents be?!?) and even the whole technology mumbo jumbo was somewhat fun (trust me, there is a lot of it) but than the political thing came along where contracts were threatened due to safety issues/concerns and my brain tried to turn itself off
This was my first Michael Crighton book (I know, I know, I'm an idiot for never reading him before).

I really enjoyed Airframe. It was a fast paced techno mystery from the first to the last. I feel like I learned a lot about the design, manufacturing and flying of commercial aircraft. I also learned how lax the quality control is for airlines (seriously, I might never fly again).

Casey is a quality investigator for an airplane manufacturer who is sent to investigate an incident that occurred inv
Nov 20, 2009 Ed rated it did not like it  ·  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
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.

Dylan Nugent
Jan 28, 2014 Dylan Nugent rated it really liked it
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
Deepak Gopalakrishnan
May 03, 2015 Deepak Gopalakrishnan rated it it was amazing
Warning: Do not read this if you're going to board a plane in the next two weeks.

Stunner of a book. Typical Crichton. Supremely complex subject, turned into a very digestible thriller. Airplane technology merged with the greed and machinations of the media industry. Wonderfully written and a satisfying ending. If you like thrillers and don't mind learning a thing or two about aviaton, you'll love this.
Karthick Shiva
Fuselage, Auto pilot, Slat deployment, Stall alarm, JAA, FAA, Autopilot, Avionics,
Nose up & down,Cycle electrical test, whatelse??

A very good investigative thriller pack. But climax is childish.
Richard Jr.
Jul 04, 2013 Richard Jr. rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense-action
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
Austin Neaves
Jul 28, 2012 Austin Neaves rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
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
Mr. Gottshalk
Jun 24, 2016 Mr. Gottshalk rated it liked it
If you want a page-turner with a lot of techno-speak about airplanes thrown in for good measure, then this one's for you. The pace of this book is fantastic, and I probably would have read it in 2-3 days had I not had other things going on. However, there are several parts in "Airframe" where I felt that the author was just showing off his verbose knowledge about aircraft.
In 1968, Alex Hailey wrote a terrific thriller called "Airport", which was all about what could go wrong on an overseas fligh
Oct 13, 2012 Vismay rated it really liked it
I first read it when I was in 11th, I guess. I didn't understand a bit - thought it to be too dense. I promised myself that I would read it again, as and when I sit in an airplane so that I could slightly visualize what was happening.
Given the fact that I have now become more adept at reading denser stuff, and now that I have already seen the inside of a plane - the ride was less bumpy.
This book has always been an acquired taste. Efforts have to be made, but the rewards are satisfying.
Jan 14, 2015 Annette rated it really liked it
For someone scared of flying, I was recommended this book. Well written, gripping and full of facts about planes and the level of testing involved before they are used commercially. It has alleviated some of my terror and I hope the next time in fly (May), I remember this feeling.
Jan 23, 2013 Jagath rated it really liked it
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.
Asghar Abbas
Nov 29, 2015 Asghar Abbas rated it it was amazing
Enlightening, enjoyed it. Really thrilled me.
Shannon Bernier
Feb 08, 2017 Shannon Bernier rated it it was amazing
great book hard to put down:)
Kaety  M (pumpkinlattelover)
Oct 11, 2016 Kaety M (pumpkinlattelover) rated it really liked it
Loved this book! There was enough detail that the book felt credible enough and well researched without bogging down the pace of the story. I did guess the ending but that did not stop from it being an enjoyable read to get there!
Stephen Gallup
Nov 16, 2014 Stephen Gallup rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 12, 2011 Kasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My last two reads from Crichton were Timeline and Prey and I liked them a lot so I was very excited to see what this one was about. From the cover alone I deduced that it had something to do with planes, and as much as I don't like them I have to use them from time to time ( I had a close call twice on the same day same plane, yeah..) but it didn't diminish the enjoyment of what this brought, there was nothing supernatural this time, it was pure brain and iron power with a little mystery on top. ...more
Lee Lublin
Airframe was the third Creaton book I read in a row (after park and lost world), and I have to say, it is different, besides instead of being about killer dinosaurs it is about airplanes and how they work. While the park and world were more action based, this story is more like a mystery. And unlike a lot of books and stories, where it is pretty obvious what happened and who did it, it actually stays a mystery for the whole story. While some of the characters are just cookie cutter stereotypes, ...more
Simon Howard
May 03, 2014 Simon Howard rated it it was ok
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
Jul 09, 2009 Sarai rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
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
Feb 26, 2016 Alyson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Underwhelming. Not bad, but underwhelming. It was a fast read for a 400+ page book, written well and kept me engaged consistently throughout the story. But the press snippets from the back of the MM paperback were just wrong... "A one-sitting read that will cause a lifetime of white-knuckled nightmares."-Philadelphia Inquirer

Hardly. There was almost not suspense or thrill to be seen in the book. It was largely just dramatic narrative about a 30-something year old woman and a week in her life as
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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 Dougla ...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.” 17 likes
“They’re engineers,” she said. She was thinking, What did he expect? He must have dealt with engineers at GM. “Emotionally, they’re all thirteen years old, stuck at the age just before boys stop playing with toys, because they’ve discovered girls. They’re all still playing with toys. They have poor social skills, dress badly—but they’re extremely intelligent and well trained, and they are very arrogant in their way. Outsiders are definitely not allowed to play.” 4 likes
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