Cover image for Airframe
Title:
Airframe
Author:
Crichton, Michael, 1942-2008.
Publication Information:
[New York] : Random House Audiobooks, [1996]

℗1996
Physical Description:
3 audio discs (4 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc (DDD).

Abridged.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
640 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.8 14.0 18802.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.9 21 Quiz: 00157 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780679455653
Format :
Audiobook on CD

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Summary

Summary

3 cassettes / 4 hours Read by Blair Brown Airframeis also available abridged on cassette, and unabridged on cassette Three passengers are dead. Fifty-six are injured. The interior cabin virtually destroyed. But the pilot manages to land the plane. . . . At a moment when the issue of safety and death in the skies is paramount in the public mind, a lethal midair disaster aboard a commercial twin-jet airliner bound from Hong Kong to Denver triggers a pressured and frantic investigation. AIRFRAME is nonstop listening: the extraordinary mixture of super suspense and authentic information on a subject of compelling interest that has been a Crichton landmark sinceThe Andromeda Strain.


Author Notes

John Michael Crichton, known as Michael Crichton, was born on October 28, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He wrote novels while attending Harvard University and Harvard Medical School to help pay the tuition. One of these, The Andromeda Strain, which was published in 1969, became a bestseller. After graduating summa cum laude, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute in California before becoming a full-time writer and film director.

His carefully researched novels included Eaters of the Dead, The Terminal Man, The Great Train Robbery, Congo, Sphere, Jurassic Park, Rising Sun, Disclosure, The Lost World, Airframe, and Micro. He also wrote non-fiction works including Five Patients: The Hospital Explained, Jasper Johns, and Travels. In the late 1960s, he also wrote under the pen names Jeffrey Hudson and John Lange. He has received several awards including Writer of the Year in 1970 from the Association of American Medical Writers and two Edgar Awards in 1968 and in 1979.

Many of his novels have been made into highly successful films, six of which he directed. He was also the creator and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning television series ER. In addition to his writing and directorial success, his expertise in information science enabled him to run a software company and develop a computer game. He died of cancer on November 4, 2008 at the age of 66.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

On its way over the Pacific, a Chinese charter flight from Hong Kong to Denver "porpoises," or steeply dives and climbs in rapid succession, for two minutes without warning. This "incident" produces plenty of lost lunches--and 3 (eventually 4) deaths and 56 injuries. Norton Aircraft, maker of the plane's airframe (i.e., fuselage, tail, and wing), has to find out what happened and why pronto or lose a huge sale of the same model to China--and have to pink-slip all its employees, sending ripples throughout the economy as subcontractors do likewise. Norton VP Casey Singleton is point person for the investigation: she has to stay on top of the overall inquiry and keep the top brass and the media apprised of progress. Making her job harder is the chief operating officer, chafing over not being company president and friendly as a snapping turtle, anyway; a pesky--and mysterious--new "assistant" ; labor unrest over rumors that Norton will let the Chinese assemble the wings (the most labor-intensive part of plane building) as part of the sale; and a careless-with-the-truth TV producer eager to expose a flying death trap. Loading it with interesting detail on airliner construction, aerodynamics, the international trade in commercial aircraft, and air safety, Crichton produces a taut, absorbing suspenser, anyway. Knopf has ordered a two million^-copy first printing. Order heavily; they'll all circulate, deservedly. --Ray Olson


Publisher's Weekly Review

Like his role model, H.G. Wells, Crichton likes to moralize in his novels. In this slight, enjoyable thriller, the moral is the superficiality of TV, especially of its simplistic news coverage. Readers willing to overlook the irony of this message being broadcast by the man who created TV's top-rated drama (E.R.) will marvel again at Crichton's uncanny commercial instincts. 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 focus-she's one of the few Crichton heroines, an all-American gal who's more plot device than character-Crichton works readers through a brisk course in airline mechanics and safety. The accretion of technical detail, though fascinating, makes for initially slow reading that speeds up only fitfully when Casey is menaced by what seem to be union men angry over the Chinese deal. But as she uncovers numerous anomalies about the accident, and as high corporate intrigue and a ratings-hungry TV news team enter the picture, the plot complicates and suspense rises, peaking high above the earth in an exciting re-creation of the flight. It's possible that Crichton has invented a new subgenre here-the industrial thriller-despite elements (video-generated clues, for one) recycled from his earlier work. It's certain that, while this is no Jurassic Park, he's concocted another slick, bestselling, cinema-ready entertainment. 2,000,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; film rights sold to Disney for a reported $8-$10 million; simultaneous large-print edition and Random House audio and CD editions. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

On the heels of several timely successes (e.g., The Lost World, Audio Reviews, LJ 11/15/95) comes this latest novel from Crichton, which, contrary to what you may have been led to believe by the hype, should reassure even the most jaded U.S. air traveler. The tale begins with the problematic flight of a foreign carrier, during which the plane dives and climbs rapidly for unknown reasons. Although the plane lands safely, several people are killed. Enter Casey Singleton and a team of investigators from Norton Aircraft, manufacturer of the airframe, who must search for the cause. Crichton's talent lies in making arcane sciences fascinating to even the most spirited Luddite, and fans won't be disappointed by his descriptions of the technology employed in the making of passenger planes and, in particular, the precision with which the aircraft's wings are designed. Blair Brown does a nice job with the narration. Most popular collections should have a copy or two.‘Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

YA‘Crichton's newest novel is billed as a "technical thriller" but the technology seems to outweigh the thrills. Casey Singleton is called upon to lead the investigation of the near air disaster of Flight 545. The pilot landed the plane safely but three passengers were killed. All of the evidence is conflicting‘the pilot attributed the incident to turbulence but there was none. The flight attendant says the pilot fought the autocontrol but he didn't. What really happened to this flight? As Casey tries to piece the puzzle together, a national TV network plans an exposé of the accident. The program is not focused on the truth but rather on discrediting the airline. Casey's race against time is further complicated when attempts are made on her life. Airframe is full of technical jargon and explanations of how airplanes fly and why they sometimes don't. Crichton incorporates enough suspense to keep readers going but a degree in engineering would be helpful in understanding this novel.‘Katherine Fitch, Lake Braddock Middle School, Burke, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Airframe Chapter 3 LAX 5:57 a.m. Daniel Greene was the duty officer at the FAA Flight Standards District Office on Imperial Highway, half a mile from LAX. The local FSDOs--or Fizdos, as they were called--supervised the flight operations of commercial carriers, checking everything from aircraft maintenance to pilot training. Greene had come in early to clear the paper off his desk; his secretary had quit the week before, and the office manager refused to replace her, citing orders from Washington to absorb attrition. So now Greene went to work, muttering. Congress was slashing the FAA budget, telling them to do more with less, pretending the problem was productivity and not workload. But passenger traffic was up four percent a year, and the commercial fleet wasn't getting younger. The combination made for a lot more work on the ground. Of course, the FSDOs weren't the only ones who were strapped. Even the NTSB was broke; the Safety Board only got a million dollars a year for aircraft accidents, and-- The red phone on his desk rang, the emergency line. He picked it up; it was a woman at traffic control. "We've just been informed of an incident on an inbound foreign carrier," she said. "Uh-huh." Greene reached for a notepad. "Incident" had a specific meaning to the FAA, referring to the lower category of flight problems that carriers were required to report. "Accidents" involved deaths or structural damage to the aircraft and were always serious, but with incidents, you never knew. "Go ahead." "It's TransPacific Flight 545, incoming from Hong Kong to Denver. Pilot's requested emergency landing at LAX. Says they encountered turbulence during flight." "Is the plane airworthy?" "They say it is," Levine said. "They've got injuries, and they've requested forty ambulances." "Forty?" "They've also got two stiffs." "Great." Greene got up from his desk. "When's it due in?" "Eighteen minutes." "Eighteen minutes--Jeez, why am I getting this so late?" "Hey, the captain just told us, we're telling you. I've notified EMS and alerted the fire crews." "Fire crews? I thought you said the plane's okay." "Who knows?" the woman said. "The pilot is not making much sense. Sounds like he might be in shock. We hand off to the tower in seven minutes." "Okay," Greene said. "I'm on my way." He grabbed his badge and his cell phone and went out the door. As he passed Karen, the receptionist, he said, "Have we got anybody at the international terminal?" "Kevin's there." "Beep him," Greene said. "Tell him to get on TPA 545, inbound Hong Kong, landing in fifteen. Tell him to stay at the gate--and don't let the flight crew leave." "Got it," she said, reaching for the phone. Greene roared down Sepulveda Boulevard toward the airport. Just before the highway ran beneath the runway, he looked up and saw the big TransPacific Airlines widebody, identifiable by its bright yellow tail insignia, taxiing toward the gate. TransPacific was a Hong Kong-based charter carrier. Most of the problems the FAA had with foreign airlines occurred with charters. Many were low-budget operators that didn't match the rigorous safety standards of the scheduled carriers. But TransPacific had an excellent reputation. At least the bird was on the ground, Greene thought. And he couldn't see any structural damage to the widebody. The plane was an N-22, built by Norton Aircraft in Burbank. The plane had been in revenue service five years, with an enviable dispatch and safety record. Greene stepped on the gas and rushed into the tunnel, passing beneath the giant aircraft. He sprinted through the international building. Through the windows, he saw the TransPacific jet pulled up to the gate, and the ambulances lined up on the concrete below. The first of them was already driving out, its siren whining. Greene came to the gate, flashed his badge, and ran down the ramp. Passengers were disembarking, pale and frightened. Many limped, their clothes torn and bloody. On each side of the ramp, paramedics clustered around the injured. As he neared the plane, the nauseating odor of vomit grew stronger. A frightened TransPac stewardess pushed him back at the door, chattering at him rapidly in Chinese. He showed her his badge and said, "FAA! Official business! FAA!" The stewardess stepped back, and Greene slid past a mother clutching an infant and stepped into the plane. He looked at the interior, and stopped. "Oh my God," he said softly. "What happened to this plane?" From the Hardcover edition. Excerpted from Airframe: A Novel by Michael Crichton All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.