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Final Approach

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,575 ratings  ·  108 reviews

The airline told passengers flying to Kansas City the skies were safe. They lied. On a rain-slashed night, Flight 255 crashes at Kansas City Airport -- triggering one of the most horrifying aviation disasters of the decade. Put simply, it never should have happened. Safety Board investigator Joe Wallingford races to find out wh
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 22nd 1992 by Fawcett (first published August 22nd 1990)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Linda Strong
Kansas City International Airport.... an aircraft collides with another plane on the runway. It's one of the worst aviation disasters in many years.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Joe Wallingford arrives on the scene. There are many thoughts running through his head ... there were thunderstorms in the area this a climate caused problem? Severe cuts to the program have been made recently ...was the airplane in perfect condition to fly? Is pilot error a possibility?

As Wall
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.0 out of 5 stars -- How I love a "disaster" book -- especially one that involves a tragic airplane crash at "my" airport -- Kansas City International -- located in Kansas City, Missouri!

Despite the fact that this book was written and published in the early 1990s and is thus quite outdated, it was an enjoyable and fast-paced read that focused on the NTSB's investigation into the causes of the crash of Flight 255 into another plane waiting on the ground at the side of the runway.

Was it mechanica
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
WARNING: This is NOT the book to read during a long airline flight - especially if you are a nervous flyer like I am! The book scared me, while I was reading it sitting on my couch, can't imagine how I'd have felt if I was on a plane while I was reading parts of it!

On a stormy night in Kansas City, an Airbus plane coming in for a landing, shears the top off of a Boeing 737 that is waiting to take off. There is a fire and most of the people in both planes are killed by either the crash or the fir
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been years since I last read a thriller by John J Nance. Specialising on aviation thrillers, this former pilot has written quite a few cockpit-based novels that could serve as wish fulfilment literature for plane spotters and aviation enthusiasts. So, of course, as teenager I devoured them. His biggest success is Pandora's Clock, which even got turned into a TV movie. (The main difference between adaptation and book was that they gender swapped the FBI agents: in the book, the naive rookie ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first thing that I got to say is this book is for readers who does have interest in aviation thrillers.

My first aviation thriller. Difficult to get into but was a smooth ride thereafter.
Maria Beltrami
In the after Reagan aviation world, a tragic and inexplicable accident involves two aircraft, one of which, in a night of witches Sabbath, literally falls over the other. In addition to the many lost lives, around one of the two planes gathers mysteries that have too much to do with politics and the lobbying that goes with it, in addition to a large amount of human misery.
I am not, generally speaking, crazy for legal thrillers, but this one I really liked, although it may be in effect classified
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
During severe thunderstorms over the Kansas City Airport, a North America Airlines passenger plane is attempting a landing when a disaster strikes. The descending aircraft hits another plane waiting on the runway and the death and destruction is catastrophic. NTSB investigator Joe Wallingford is assigned to the crash site in order to determine the cause. Several scenarios are plausible: pilot error, unsafe and aging planes, terrorism, an assassination of a white supremacist Congressman onboard, ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow, does this book take you for a ride! I used to be a very frequent flyer and always loved it. But I have to say that what this book reveals is pretty scary.

An Airbus A320 crashes into a 737 one night in Kansas City MO. An NTSB team, led by Joe Wallingford, is dispatched to investigate. Then the circus begins. Numerous government bodies come out of the woodworks trying to interfere with the investigation. They all seem to have some shady dealings they do not want exposed. There could be so man
Justin Esperum
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book as airplanes have never really been my thing. What drew me to this book was the premise being heavy on the conspiracy and mystery aspects. Thankfully it delivered on those aspects and Nance did a great job making technical details easy to understand for normies like myself.

The plot revolves around a plane crash in Kansas City that may not be an accident. Over the course of the book we are presented with several possible causes of the crash and w
Robin Smith
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Pretty solid techno mystery involving the NTSB. I've seen some reviews dinging the book because it's supposedly dated but if that was a criterion, we wouldn't be reading anything written more than a few years ago.

The author weaves several threads into a coherent mystery and keeps us guessing about the final answer. Very likable characters, too.
Judy Churchill
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I’m sure I enjoyed this book even more because I am a private pilot and understood the pilot talk. It was packed with technical information and carried a tense plot through to a somewhat surprising ending. I loved it!
Jean Rabe
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written, great action. The only problem I had was the too-often-shifting POV.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are many causes for aircraft accidents. Aircraft maintenance problems, crew error, aircraft design flaws and weather-related factors quickly come to mind. Which one caused the accident in this story? The author tries to keep all four of those causes, as well as high intensity EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) radiation, all as possible causes for the crash. Essentially, the book is a technical who-done-it mystery. And it’s up to the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) inspectors ...more
Peter Lloyd-Davies
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
All right, it was a bit formulaic, but I did really enjoy it. First, it is a solidly written thriller, with a mystery that is unraveled piece by piece, with the appropriate number of red herrings. There are a zillion characters (each introduced with "Jack Poloozi was driving down I47 at a high speed while cursing the traffic..."), most of which are unmemorable, but the small circle of main characters are well fleshed-out and appealing. I like all the aviation-speak, which allows me to feel that ...more
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 for me. The first 25% I really liked . It was describing the airline crash and the victims/survivor's.
Quite descriptive. But then it went into all the conspiracy theories.I just found it very repetitive and a little boring.
Greer Andjanetta
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent story about a plane crash and the investigation that followed. A very detailed and believeable story that holds the reader's interest and makes one wonder about the wisdom of ever boarding an aeroplane again, given what goes on behind the scenes and the problems we never hear about.
John E. Donovan
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
..and a tumultuous ending that's begs the question, why?

A story about an aircraft disaster that pits agency against agency (FAA, NTSB, ALPA, affected Airlines and affected Aircraft Manufacturer) in an attempt to find who or what was responsible for one (landing) aircraft crashing into another (about-to-takeoff) aircraft ... and, as there were many lives lost, the stakes are high not to be the one found to be responsible for the tragedy.
Author John Nance has given us a story with well-developed c
Jim A
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Most people read and enjoy police procedurals. This is a procedural of a NTSB investigation into an air crash. To keep the reader interested through all of the 'dry' material involved in searching for the cause of the crash there is the political infighting between the NTSB and the FAA.

Written by John Nance, a former airline pilot, the novel is pretty accurate as to procedures and reactions by the airline (protecting their ass), the NTSB who just want to find the cause, and the FAA which wants t
Terri Weitze
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot. A terrible airplane crash. Told from the view point of the government investigators. A mix of procedural and politics - corporate and government and military. A fascinating mystery of what caused the crash and how to get to the answer despite the many roadblocks set up by competing interests. There's a little bit of romance/personal relationship stuff which is superfluous, but I did not find it distracting. Just seems like a really well researched book providing a lot of ...more
Irene Bell
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whirlwind situation

This is a challenging story. Well written and told, with great characters. Maybe too many. I never lost track of who was who, but I am impatient to know where they were going. So, I read every word, which took time, and stuck with it. It is a timely story, but dated because the Airbus has proven itself. Those who are not up to date on current airline fleets might overlook this and just follow the story, which is well told. I'm not sure why, but my favorite character was the pi
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoy Nance's books

I was riveted horrified and often confused with such a cast of characters & I am not sure I completely trust accident investigators now, but I've already admitted to confusion! But the salient facts were made clear and the mystery solved, so I am good on the "who done it" factor. Still a bit worried about the FRIENDLY SKIES , but they haven't been friendly for years!
Min Edwards
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best in Aviation Thrillers

Besides being glad I'm not flying soon, Final Approach is everything I want in a book... excitement, facts, emotion. This is one of my favorite books ever!
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Good Read

This book is a very exciting page turner. The story is plausible and the characters well-crafted. I could hardly put it down.
Cherie Dean
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast paced. Worth your time

This book moves quickly and makes good beach reading. Tuck it in with your towel and sunscreen. You'll enjoy it.
Louise Pledge
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a hard one to review; sometimes I really enjoyed it; sometimes I didn't want to read another page. However, I was in a position where I had nothing else to read, so I had to finish.
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have embarked on a journey - a mission, really - to read all of Mr. Nance's novels in the order in which they were written. I am somewhat of an aviation buff, and I like a good thriller. So if you mix those two things together, you get something I really want to read. I know, that was a really big ladder for a really short diving board. But hear me out.

There are only a few authors whose books I collect. And John J. Nance is one of them. I own all his novels. I have read a couple in the past, b
Sarah Elizabeth
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, flying
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
A storm in Kansas City has pilots concerned. Thunderstorms are rolling through and the airline doesn't take kindly to delays. One pilot is on the ground and decides not to take off, another is in the air and despite hitting a microburst on his first approach, he circles around and tries again. When he comes down, he ends up landing directly on the waiting plane, tearing it in half and killing most people on board the two flights.

Joe Wallingford from the NTSB is called in to investigate. He must
My review 3.8

In the control tower at Kansas City International Airport, all the radar displays are red. But for the experienced pilots of North America Airlines, the thunderstorms aren’t the problem: NAA has been cutting costs to stave off bankruptcy, and will do anything to keep their planes in the air. Unfortunately, no matter what they do, one is on its way down.

After the aircraft collides with another plane on the Kansas City runway, in one of the worst aviation disasters of the decade, Nat
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: flying
Wow, this is a real thriller! I've never had a front-row seat to an airplane accident investigation in real life, but this felt like the next best thing. The initial (horrifying) disaster happens right up front, and then the bulk of the book is us following the process of figuring out why and how it happened. I enjoyed watching how the NTSB investigators sort through different hypotheses and sources of information. And then the book opens up into much bigger questions about how pilots work toget ...more
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Play Book Tag: Final Approach by John J. Nance - 3 stars 1 10 Jun 13, 2017 06:35AM  

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John J. Nance is an American pilot, aviation safety expert, and author. He served in the USAF during the Vietnam War and also as a Lt. Colonel in Operation Desert Storm.

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