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Scapegoat: A Flight Crew's Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  46 reviews
On April 4, 1979, a Boeing 727 with 82 passengers and a crew of 7 rolled over and plummeted from an altitude of 39,000 feet to within seconds of crashing were it not for the crew’s actions to save the plane. The cause of the unexplained dive was the subject of one of the longest NTSB investigations at that time.

While the crew’s efforts to save TWA 841 were initially haile
Hardcover, 472 pages
Published August 1st 2016 by Odyssey Publishing, LLC
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
My original Scapegoat audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

I just flew from Minneapolis to Atlanta to Dublin and hearing an airline story immediately piqued my interest. I think it’s important to NOT Google what happened to fully enjoy the book as the author is considerate enough to give detailed stories within the major body. Like a good action movie, something big happens by the 18-minute mark. At first, the writing is crisp and tight, the author writes enough so
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ok first off, this type of book is right up my alley. As many know I am an avid fan of aviation. I enjoy reading stories of aircraft. I am not familiar with the incident of the Boeing 727 and April 4, 1979. Although, this did event did transpire before I was born. What I did like about this book was that while I know about flying as I have taken flying lessons, I was not familiar with TSA or all of the red tape that Captain Hoot and his flight crew had to endure after the incident. It is amazing ...more
David Haase
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Readers looking for other books on this topic will find “Scapegoat” a most interesting and significant work. It’s about TWA Flight 841 in 1979. It tells the story from loss of control at a cruise altitude of 39,000 feet through the subsequent 2 year investigation. The recovery from the ensuing steep dive barely avoided a catastrophe and there were no fatalities. But, that was just the beginning of a two year story for those involved. The very well documented and researched text looks not only at
Christine Negroni
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Emilio Corsetti's new book challenges the finding of pilot error in what was until the Miracle on the Hudson flight, one of the country's most famous near-disasters. It is an eye-opening read, told in a compelling and easy-to-follow manner.
Jun 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Scapegoat by Emilio Corsetti III is a fact filled examination of the Flight of TWA 841 and the following investigation. On April 4, 1979, a TWA piloted by Captain Harvey ”Hoot’ Gibson with First Officer Scott Kennedy and Flight Engineer Gary Banks depart from JKF in a Boeing 727-100 that was 14 years old. With 82 passengers and 7 crewmen, they experience a rollover and a fall from 39,000 feet. With the crews’ best efforts, they avoid crashing and are able to land. With a severely damaged plane, ...more
Roger Peterson
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a paying passenger in seat #21A on Captain Gibson’s/First Officer Kennedy’s death-defying April 4, 1979 TWA Flight #841, I received an advance review copy (Spring 2016) from the author, Emilio Corsetti.

The very day I received the book I began reading it, and couldn’t put it down — except company just arrived from out of state, and after ignoring them for about an hour, I mustered enough fortitude to set this gripping narrative aside and engage with our company.

During a recent business trip I
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When in doubt, blame the pilot. The agencies charged with the protection of the public took the easy way out. When a plane nearly crashes, but doesn't, and all passengers survive, the captain and crew are denigrated for years. A vindictive reporter that can't get an interview makes up a story. Jealous pilots pile on, tests of the aircraft are a joke, and friends abandon the crew members. This story has a lot of verbiage about the mechanical workings of planes, but the real story is the affect on ...more
Edwin Howard
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-10-in-2016
SCAPEGOAT by Emilio Corsetti III starts the book by recounting the incident of TWA flight 841 in 1979 of the passenger plane that almost crashes from a uncontrollable dive but the captain, "Hoot" Gibson, and his flight crew manage to regain control and narrowly avoid utter catastrophe. After the incident, so many theories, findings, queries, mistakes and lawsuits were filed and SCAPEGOAT consolidates that mountain of information into a study of what went right and what went wrong in the post-in ...more
Ian Duncan
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
a very interesting and detailed look into a unique accident. Much to learn here about flying an airliner as well as the workings of the FAA and NTSB in an accident investigation. Too often we say "that couldnt happen today" and yet we are watching it unfold in the media almost every night. Pilots would do well to observe many of the warnings illustrated in this book. ...more
Vicky Hunt
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Technical Exposé of one of the Biggest Malfunction Cover-ups in History

Scapegoat details a near fatal dive that was salvaged by the pilot in a heroic maneuver in 1979. At first he is hailed as a hero, but things get rough when he is skewered in the media in an attempt to divert attention away from the possibility of a part malfunction with the Boeing.

Unlike anything else I’ve read, Corsetti delivers this project on an investigative timeline, instead of chronologically. By that I mean that he s
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I should first say that I received this book as an ARC.

I am a lover of non-fiction work and crave to read something that is puzzling and a mystery. This book did not disappoint. The story of Hoot and his crew aboard an aircraft during a horrible event left the reader puzzled, angry, and sympathetic to all those involved.

As the author described the after events of this occurrence, I was left wondering how the conclusions by the NTSB, FAA, court systems and general public could have been made. The
Kelly Knapp
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who love aircraft, or aircraft disasters
Recommended to Kelly by: I won this as part of the Goodreads Firstreads giveaways
This story illustrates the exact reason more and more people refuse to speak with authorities without adequate representation.

When an airliner unexpectedly drops nearly 30,000 feet without warning or obvious reason, the crew must first fight to regain control of the aircraft and then fight again to regain their good names when the investigation into the incident is mishandled from day one by the authorities.

While transparencies are highly regarded by the public, it is important to remember that
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: random-stuff
It’s really hard for me to rate this book. I was alternately very interested and very bored. It moved incredibly quickly and drug on forever. At one point I was ready to quit, it had gotten so repetitive; then it got intriguing again and I finished it and was frustrated with the ending. Though the author couldn’t help that, it was frustration at the government’s handling of the case.
Corsetti did an excellent job presenting his case. I’d say, after reading it, I lean towards his understanding
Bonnye Reed
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-or-pdf
GNA I received a free electronic copy of this fine history by Emilio Corsetti III, Netgalley, and Odyssey Publishing LLC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sharing your work with me.

This work is an excellent overview of the many years of turmoil surrounding the near-accident involving a Boeing 727, TWA 841, on April 4, 1979. While the fast actions of the crew of this plane saved the lives of the 82 passengers and 7 crew aboard, the NTSB pins the fault of the near fatal accident on
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book could fall into many genres which makes it difficult to categorize. The author does a great job of getting the reader inside the minds of the people involved. There is drama and emotion. There is a lot of technical aviation, but the author does a good job of explaining the jargon as you go.

I was in High School when this near accident occurred and reading the book stirred faint memories of seeing it in the news. As the years go by and more plane accidents are brought into the story, tho
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and Odyssey Publishing for the Advance Reader Copy of this book. This book was good, but didn't live up to my expectations. I think it was too long and too technical (or maybe just too repetitive about certain technical aspects) for many readers to tolerate. Interesting story though showing the way NOT to conduct an investigation by the NTSB and hopefully the incidents described here have resulted in sustained improvements there in the last 30 years. ...more
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing

This is a great read! I really enjoyed this book! The information that it tells, just floored me! The background just amazes me. This is a must read! And if you enjoy books about and with aircraft you will love this one!

*Received for an honest review*
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting look at an infamous airline incident. I lost a fair amount of respect for the NTSB.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aviation-space
Many aircraft investigations only have the FDR, CVR, bodies and aircraft debris available for investigation into the cause(s) of an aircraft accident. In some lucky cases (e.g., Sully’s “Miracle on the Hudson”), investigator’s also have a live crew, surviving passengers and an intact (though wet) aircraft. And TWA 841 was an even luckier case as there was no accident and the plane landed safely.

So why was it so hard to investigate this incident? The incident occurred over 40 years ago, so the FD
Reader Views
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by David K. McDonnell for Reader Views (10/16)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘Scapegoat: A Flight Crew’s Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption’ by Emilio Corsetti, III on Blogcritics.

“Scapegoat” by Emilio Corsetti III, tells the story of a Boeing 727 known in aviation circles and media accounts as “the plane that fell from the sky.” In 1979 while 39,000 feet over Michigan, flying from New York to Minneapolis, TWA Flight 841 went into an uncontrollable spiral and 360° r
Marian Squires
I was of two minds in deciding to read this book, since the title indicated that the investigation fell heavily on the flight crew. They certainly went from "Heros to Villains", but none came out redeemed. The description of the incident was well written, as was the entire book. But I lost heart after the crew lost the second round of the NTSB evaluations.

The material included by the author made me fairly worried that the NTSB investigation began with a bias, and I was never comfortable with the
Edward Barrett
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I recommend this book for those of you who are interested in why things fail. It's an in-depth look at a near fatal 727 incident, the investigation that followed, and the decades of effort by the flight crew to correct what they saw as investigative errors. Given our technological society and dependence on sophisticated machinery and systems, incidents are bound to happen. Bridges and buildings collapse, aircraft fall from the sky, electric grids falter. The causes of such events must be fully i ...more
David Soom
While leaving Reno Cannon Airport after a short sight seeing flight in the early 80's a friend approach me to come an look at the TWA 727 with wrinkled skin around the wing roots. I had never seen such a thing in all my time working around passenger aircraft. While we were on the ramp another fellow approached us and told us a story about a flight crew and pilot who rolled a 727 the night before this one was damaged attempting the same thing. The stress was obvious by the wrinkling of the alumi ...more
Billy Boy
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a former Air Traffic Controller at Detroit Metro the night TWA841 landed.

I came to work on the midnight shift after TWA 841 landed. It has been a long time ago now but I do remember seeing the damage to the aircraft in person. I’m not a pilot and don’t pretend to understand all the technical jargon in the book but 12 years working for the FAA at Detroit Metro as a controller gave me good insight. (I also flew as a crew member on a Navy P3 during Nam.)
It is too bad the crew of 841 didn’t get t
Bess Carnahan
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I knew Hoot Gibson from my brief tour of duty as a Director of Customer Service based at ORD. It took a long time to exonerate Hoot as the cause of the incident of TWA 841. This is a "must read" for aviation buffs and those former TWA employees who remember Hoot and the incident. While the book is filled with technical terms, the author did an excellent job of explaining it all in language for non-flyers.
Corsetti compares the NTSB investigation into TWA 841 to the investigation of "The Miracle o
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story well told

I enjoyed this book. The technical reports were a bit dry but necessary to the story. It is disappointing to hear how the flight crew was hung out to dry when they were actually heroes. The condemnation by flight attendants and other pilots was maddening and hard to understand. And the mishandling of the investigation and the personal attacks on the captain by NTSB is both frightening and disturbing. I would hope they too have learned since then.
Ian yarington
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Generally speaking I rather enjoy non-fiction books because it's always fun to read about real life situations and hear amazing stories. The one thing that I always worry about is bias and inaccuracies but from everything that I have researched this is a pretty accurate account. The book is well written and fun to read so I powered through it pretty quick. I would call it a page turner. ...more
Jane Thompson
Flight Story

This book is interesting in the story of a flight crew who underwent an almost fatal incident in which their plans went into a five and nearly crashed. They could not explain the reason and because the tape was almost blank they were distrusted by the safety group. The explanations for the happening were too technical for me to understand.
The Sandstress
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It really was frustrating to see how the NTSB and the FAA could actually manipulate data to fit their pre-conceived notions about the incident that occurred. I hope that after this particular episode that they started being honest with themselves about any type of incident that occurs so we get just the facts not opinion.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting analysis of the aftermath of an air incident that resulted in crew members being blamed despite pulling off an incredible set of maneuvers to save the aircraft and all its passengers. The book gets a little repetitive in its analysis of flap movements and controls. Where it comes alive is in it’s depiction of the personal impact on the crew and in particular the pilot.
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Emilio Corsetti III is a professional pilot and author. His work has appeared in both regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Multimedia Producer, and Professional Pilot magazine. Emilio is a graduate of St. Louis University. For more information about the author, please visit the author's web site at ...more

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