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Why Planes Crash: An Accident Investigator’s Fight for Safe Skies Hardcover – October 5, 2011


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Why Planes Crash: An Accident Investigator’s Fight for Safe Skies + Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (October 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161608426X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616084264
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 6.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Soucie is the owner of Sans Souci Enterprises, LLC., a disaster recovery company based in Silverthorne, Colorado. He also works with the Federal Aviation Administration as a member of the Safety Management Implementation (SMI) Committee, and serves on the Safety Management Systems Focus Group in Washington D.C.  Previously, he was an aviation safety inspector at the FAA and, before that, served as the senior director of technical services for Air Methods Inc., one of the largest helicopter emergency medical operations in the world.



Ozzie Cheek is a writer and producer and a published short story author.

Customer Reviews

Excellent book, very informative.
wannabe hiker
He also provides insights to change the way we think to make safer choices both in and out of the aviation industry.
Sally S.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in aviation.
J. M. Leatherwood Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Weismann on November 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Straight out, I need to make an admission - I went to high school with the author. No pressure, right?

I have been reviewing books, and a vast variety of work in other media, for two decades now. When I found out that a former classmate had written a book, I requested a copy from him, without his prior solicitation. I was insatiably curious.

My nervousness about the possibility of reading something awful, and having to pan the work of a nice guy, was groundless. "Why Planes Crash" stands on its own merits, a thoroughly enjoyable a thought-provoking read.

It succeeds on many levels. First, it's an engaging autobiography, outlining the author's personal and professional progress and pitfalls as he moves from aircraft mechanic to maintenance director to FAA inspector and beyond. The number of alternately hilarious, horrifying and moving moments he has experienced in his career alone makes fascinating reading.

A key factor in this level of satisfaction is the tone of the book. It's an old cliché that you should write as you speak, with a directness and sense of comfort that draws in the reader. It's also absolutely true, and damnably difficult to pull off. Years of artifice, bad habits and self-consciousness usually have to be stripped away before a writer's voice can truly be heard. Fortunately, with the aid of Ozzie Cheek, Soucie accomplishes this. In fact, it's a special treat to read this book from my unique perspective as, having known him for 30-odd (or 30 odd) years, I can attest that it sounds like Dave is talking directly to me.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sally S. on July 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Improving Aviation Safety – “Until that day, I had thought of flying as fun, a chance to be free from the earth and to command the universe from high above. Mr. McC……. gave me my first glimpse of the pain and suffering that flying can cause. Although unknown to me at the time, this was the beginning of my lifelong passion – some would say obsession – for improving aviation safety. It was not my plan, but it was my fate.” Why Planes Crash, page 14.

For more than 30 years Mr. Soucie has been, and is continuing to be to this day, an advocate for aviation safety. When you read his book, he documents the reason and explains why planes crash and how some of the crashes he’s investigated, as an aviation accident investigator, could have been prevented. He also provides insights to change the way we think to make safer choices both in and out of the aviation industry.

In addition to his professional commitment in aviation, it is also a personal commitment. Mr. Soucie explains in detail the heart-wrenching personal pain and loss of friends and colleagues that has changed his life forever and continues to be motivated to keep fulfilling promises made to improve aviation safety.

While the book has chilling and gripping detailed accounts of accidents Mr. Soucie has investigated, he has been sensitive about the details with respect to their families. I believe that in reading the book and his accounts about his personal pain and loss, these life-changing experiences probably allowed him to become even more sensitive and compassionate towards those who also have lost loved ones.

For those considering a career in the FAA, Mr.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mike S. on October 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book figuring I'd learn mistakes others have made, and may keep from doing them myself.

What I got was that, plus insight of why many of the government's rules created in the name of safety are knee jerk reactions to an event, without their doing much to really prevent it from recurring (to me no different than criminal laws which are piled on top of each other, but really don't do anything to make us safer).

The author describes other ways of looking at accident investigations than the traditional methods, but it seems like a bureaucracy the size of the FAA has little or no chance of ever implementing them.

I'd say the FAA can talk about safety, but doing it in a logical manner is impossible in a political organization the size of the FAA/DOT. For the FAA safety is a business, constrained by the same things that constrain any business (too bad all the piles of our money given to the FAA aren't used more efficiently!).

The author demonstrated a way to use readily available computer data to anticipate accidents caused by the least dependable parts on planes (on air carriers), but it seems as if politics has derailed some of those efforts.

A computer program that would do this for GA planes would make parts less expensive over time, reducing the cost to everybody maintaining GA planes. Instead GA parts prices are insane, which makes general aviation unaffordable to most (small business or recreation).

If the cost of parts on corporate business jets were reduced, that tube of toothpaste or toy would cost us all just a little less.
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