Though it can be classified as airplane reading, you may not want to bring Deadly Departure
with you on your next flight. In this gripping story of the investigation of the crash of TWA Flight 800, aviation correspondent Christine Negroni guides the reader through the intricacies of the U.S. government's most expensive crash investigation to date. Personal stories of passengers, their families, crash investigators, rescue workers, conspiracy theorists, and employees of Boeing and TWA underpin Negroni's account of the investigation as a catalog of conflict, incompetence, and deceit. She concludes that, contrary to the claims of aircraft manufacturers, fuel tank explosions are a real danger, but one that lies within the range of acceptable risk for both the industry and the Federal Aviation Authority.
If there was a conspiracy to hide the truth about what really happened to Flight 800, it began long before the crash, and it wasn't an effort to cover up action, it was a conspiracy of inaction. Although the newspapers were filled with experts insisting planes don't just fall out of the sky and fuel tank explosions can't bring down an airplane, insiders knew different.
If you have followed the strange and sad saga of TWA 800's mysterious end and its aftermath, Negroni's book is for you. --Julia Riches
From Publishers Weekly
What caused the tragedy of TWA fligiht 800, which exploded over Long Island Sound in 1996? Negroni, who covered the story for CNN, has a credible theory for what went wrong and how it could have been prevented. She also analyzes the misunderstandings, snafus and buck-passing that hindered the inquiry into the cause of the explosion. Flight 800 left New York with its side fuel tanks full and its center tank not quite empty. Negroni contends that the center tank blew up, ignited by a faulty electrical system. She combines interviews with experts, aviation history and relevant principles of engineering to buttress her theory. According to Negroni, nitrogen-based "fuel tank inerting" systems have prevented similar fires on other aircraft and, modified correctly, could have saved Flight 800. But Negroni's work is hardly a technical textbook. The gruesomely fascinating tale is enlivened with capsule bios of doomed passengers and crew, scientists, National Transportation Safety Board personnel and many others. Negroni likes to pretend to read dead people's minds ("It occurred to him often how much he'd been blessed," she writes of one TWA pilot) and "reconstructs" plenty of conversations. Fortunately, she maintains typographic distinctions between the quotes she reports and those she makes up. Briefer, racier and far more readable than Pat Milton's In the Blink of an Eye (which focused on the FBI investigators), this study is aimed not only at disaster buffs, but at readers curious about aviation, engineering, forensics, journalism, politics and the hot spots where all these interests collide. 31 b&w photos and diagrams. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.