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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  79,638 ratings  ·  2,058 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 2006 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 wor…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)
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Matt Reardon
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  79,638 ratings  ·  2,058 reviews

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Richard Derus
Jan 16, 2012 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
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A plane is struggling to land,and sends out a distress call,asking for forty ambulances to be available for possible casualties.It is a compelling start to this techno thriller.

Later,however,there is a lot of detail about the technicilaties of aircraft manufacture.
When I used to step into an aeroplane,I never worried much about safety.I didn't hate flying.But in recent years,there have been so many aircraft crashes that have made me wonder,how safe air travel really is.

This is my favourite Crich
Debbie Zapata
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 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
Apr 23, 2011 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
Jan 31, 2009 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
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like thrillers/sci-fi
Recommended to Anu 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
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it
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... ;) ...more
Nov 20, 2009 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
Dylan Nugent
Jan 28, 2014 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
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but for me, it does follow what I find to be the usual Michael Crichton formula: really entertaining and suspenseful story with a lot of energy put into detail (in this case, he put in a lot of infomation about airplanes, which I found to be very interesting), but the end is weak and unbelievable. I have found this to be the case with several of his other novels - almost like he just didn't know how to end a book.

But, his stories are interesting enough that despite the weak
Asghar Abbas
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Enlightening enjoyed it. Thrilled me, really. I think it was the first time I consciously became aware of the scent of women, it wasn't warning enough. So beware a la Little Red Lung.

And, I learned how the planes take off and more importantly stay in the air. Very interesting. See, this is what I love about Crichton, he taught me so many things without being smug about it.

I can only hope he is with Odin right now.
Apr 17, 2015 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
Deepak Gopalakrishnan
May 03, 2015 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.
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
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 23, 2015 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.
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.

IMO, Crichton's best novel. The technicality of it is really astounding, as though an aircraft engineer wrote the story and not him. A very interesting mystery that goes deep into all the incredible work done by aviation investigators after a crash. ...more
Jade Melody
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

This is an author I've heard a lot about! He has a lot of author really famous works that I've heard of, but this was the book that came into my life first.

The premise of this completely captured my interest. A plane goes through a lethal disaster while up in the air. Three passengers are dead and fifty-six are injured. Safety and death is paramount and this causes a frantic investigation into what caused the disaster.

Especially how this book starts, it's a mother and taking ca
Oct 13, 2012 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.
Richard Jr.
Jul 04, 2013 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
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Micahel Crichton has yet to disappoint me but this is definitely one of my favorites so far. Everything about this was amazing. The characters, the dynamics, the setting... it all came together and created an amazing story. If you were to ask me what genre to put this in... I really don't know. It's a mystery but it's not that thrilling. It's... like a normal life, almost, yet it's so fascinating. I will forever hold this as one of my favorites. ...more
Simon Howard
May 03, 2014 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
Melissa McShane
I chose this book for my August reading challenge (criterion: must be a book I've never read) only to discover after reading it that I have read this book, and it was utterly forgettable. Though at least now I know why the central mystery seemed so obvious a solution. ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Good book, lots of information about planes and a sort of not very good ending.
Feb 11, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

This story would have made a good movie. While the overall plot progression was not that exciting and various elements were not believable, I really enjoyed the way Crichton presented the way airplanes are made and how news could tank a company with slanted views.
Austin Neaves
Jul 28, 2012 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 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
Marty Fried
I remember reading this many years ago, but I don't remember much about it. ...more
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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 Doug ...more

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