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Crash of TWA Flight 260 Paperback – June 16, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Williams documents the tragic crash of TWA Flight 260 in the Sandia Mountains in 1955 and the fifty years that he has spent unraveling the mysteries of the crash, many still unresolved today.

About the Author

Charles M. Williams is emeritus professor of computer information systems at Georgia State University. He is married with three children and six grandchildren and resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a nationally recognized competitive race walker and former runner.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (June 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826348076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826348074
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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First off, I have always had an interest in this particular aircraft accident. My parents were stationed at Kirtland AFB at the time of the accident, and my father, who was a USAF Master Sargent, had vivid recall of it. After my father retired from the Military in 1965, we moved back to Albuquerque, Alameda, to be exact just before I entered 1st grade. My dad, who was a Private pilot and very active in General Aviation got me into the air as a teen and he owned a Piper Comanche which was based at the now gone Alameda airport. He told me about Flight 260 a few times while I was growing up and I remember always wanting to know more about the crash and to vist the wreckage site. I left ABQ for Dallas TX in 1984 and ended up relocating to the Atlanta area in 1989 (I work in the Aviation insurance business as an underwriter)and would travel back to ABQ in order to visit my family on a regular basis. That all said, my son, who has just finished middle school and is an active Boy Scout (Troop 142) and I decided to hike to the wreckage site via the Domingo Baca trail which we did last October (the Monday after the '09 Balloon Fiesta had ended). It was a pretty tough hike, however, the fall weather helped. After visiting and spending time at the site, I couldn't help but wanting to know more about the pilots, the other crew member and the passengers. I also wanted to know what happended on the search party side, how it was located, who was involved and what they experienced? This book coming out when it did, what can I say, the timing was perfect. I received it from Amazon yesterday and have about finished it. It is an excellent read, especially for me. It is very informative and respectful. I was able to hike to the wreckage site again last April (my brother in law who lives in ABQ tagged along). It is very peaceful in that Canyon, just sitting amid what wreckage still remains and listening to the wind. Thanks for a great book.
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I bought this book for my husband, at his request, and I read it myself afterwards. I have lived in Albuquerque most of my life. When I was a teenager, one could ride the tram up the mountain and see the wreckage from the plane, sometimes shining brightly. Now, decades later, the plane has either fragmented further, into much smaller pieces, or the foliage has covered it, or both. It was initially fascinating to read about the passengers and the timeline, especially counting down the final minutes, but then -- the recovery dragged on and no conclusion as to causality was ever really proposed. One of the recovery team members was a friend of ours (before his death a few years ago), and that part was also interesting. I guess I expected more.
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Crash of TWA Flight 260 by Charles Williams

Since I enjoy reading books about aircraft and their problems, I bought the one about the crash of TWA Flight 260.

The opening chapters, which recreated the actions of the pilots were interesting.

I found many of the later chapters, centering on the various searches a bit tedious. The fact that analyses of causes of this disaster resulted in the absolution of the pilots showed the value of persistence. The possibility of a compass error led examiners to re-open the case of Flight 260.

A good, but not great book.

three stars.

Lawton Posey
Charleston WV
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Dr. Williams' first-hand account of the crash and recovery of TWA Flight 260 outside of Albuquerque, N.M., in 1955, is a well-told tale. The CAB's incorrect conclusion as to the cause of the crash and the subsequent Air Line Pilots Association investigation and solution of the "probable cause" are described in an informative and interesting way with lots of interviews with the participants. The sections about the family members left behind after the deaths of their relatives on Flight 260 were moving, and the return trips to the crash site, and the personal effects found years later, added to the story. The photos presented were excellent and gave a sense of how difficult the terrain is.

The content is certainly all there, but I only gave the book four stars for a number of mechanical problems that one would not expect in a University of New Mexico Press book, such as direct quotes that were not set-off properly, and, for example, the repeated incorrect use of "Federal Aeronautics Administration" in place of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (see pages 172-173).

I was very pleased with this purchase and the book was a satisfying read. Four stars.

Nicholas A. Veronico
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I heard of this accident many years ago while working at TWA. The
Probable Cause finding was, in effect, that the pilot killed himself
and the crew and passengers for some unknown reason. Murder/Suicide!
The unbelievably dogged persistence by a TWA Captain, with years of
investigation, got the Civil Aeronautics Board to change the finding's
Probably Cause. You'll have to read the book for further info but it
has many details and photos of the remote crash site and many of the
people involved. A great mystery for aviation buffs.
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This is the story of an airplane crash, as the title tells us, a crash that happened a long time ago - in 1955. But this well-crafted narrative is more than a mere chronicle of a tragedy, though it is a very good reportorial account. More importantly, it is an exploration of the impact of that tragedy on human beings, especially on loved ones left behind. The author, Charles Williams, has a finely tuned understanding of the human heart. One might think that because the crash happened so long ago the impact on people affected might have diminished over time. But in this story the opposite is true. I was eager to read this book because I had heard one of those affected, Ginny Campbell, speak at a conference several years ago. Ginny is the daughter of a man who died on the plane, and I was moved by her passion for her father - and her desire to create a connection with him - many decades after her loss. Author Williams achieves his aim, he helps us connect with Ginny and others through the connection-making they strive to achieve, but there is an even more important lesson to be drawn from this heart-felt book. Andthat is this: accidents can shatter lives, but the real story is how people who are strong and passionate can rebuild their lives around "connection-making" and how community and reaching out to ask for support and to give support is a vital part of that.
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