copyright 1996; Alfred A. Knopf publishers, New York; smaller hardbound in black boards with gilt stamp lettering on spine; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
Airframe is a novel by the American writer Michael Crichton, first published in 1996, in hardcover, by Knopf and then in 1997, as a paperback, by Ballantine Books. The plot follows Casey Singleton, a quality assurance vice president at the fictional aerospace manufacturer Norton Aircraft, as she investigates an in-flight accident aboard a Norton-manufactured airliner that leaves three passengers dead and 56 injured.
Airframe remains one of Crichton's few novels not adapted to film. Crichton stated this was due to the great expense needed to make such a film. Another consideration might be that the novel is so dense with technical references that it reads more like an accident investigation report than a suspense-filled page-turner for the general reader. Airframe is unlike many of Crichton's other works in that the story has almost no outright science fiction elements.
The novel opens aboard Hong Kong-based TransPacific Airlines Flight 545, a Norton Aircraft-manufactured N-22 wide-body aircraft, flying from Hong Kong to Denver. An incident occurs on board the plane about 1/2 hour west of the California coast, and the pilot requests an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport, stating that the plane encountered "severe turbulence" in flight. The pilot gives air traffic control conflicting information regarding the types and severity of injuries, but does inform them that crew members are hurt and "two passengers are dead."
The incident seems inexplicable. The N-22 is a plane with an excellent safety record, and the captain, John Zhen Chang, is highly skilled, making the possibility of human error unlikely...