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Final Approach Mass Market Paperback – January 22, 1992

4.0 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An airliner attempting a bad-weather landing in a Midwest city plows into another awaiting takeoff. With more than 100 people dead, the National Transportation Safety Board assigns Joe Wallingford to investigate. Was the disaster caused by human error or by technical malfunction? Did outside electronic interference, perhaps from a top-secret SDI radar, disrupt flight controls? Nance, a leading airline safety analyst and author of nonfiction works on aviation, debuts as a novelist with a first-rate technical detective story. While keeping readers in suspense, he explores the dynamics of factions within the safety bureaucracy and limns the problems raised for airline management by deregulation. With realistic dialogue and convincing characters, particularly Wallingford and Senator Kell Martinson, this nonmilitary techno-thriller is a sure winner.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Joe Wallingford, National Transportation Safety Board investigator, perseveres through many obstacles to determine why two planes collided, killing most of the crew and passengers. Although there are twists and turns in the plot, it is not as complicated as many other books of this type. Nance's knowledge of Washington comes through clearly both in the physical description of places and in the political frustrations: cover-ups, relationship of private industry to independent agencies, Defense Department silence, individuals' quests for power, and the need for influential friends. Government students will see the detailed operation of one government agency as they come to know one stubborn, qualified civil servant who cares about his job. The only disappointment is the ending, which, while optimistic, is not realistic. --Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; Reissue edition (January 22, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449220354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449220351
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Originally published in 1990, Final Approach is a thriller about an A360 Airbus flying into a 737 filled with passengers waiting for takeoff. The protagonist is Joe Wallingford, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Wallingford is assigned as chief investigator when a horrific crash occurs between two jumbo passenger jets at Kansas City International Airport, leaving almost everyone aboard both planes dead. Survivors include each pilot.

The first third of the book of the riveting. Nance’s description of the crash itself covers a few pages and is absolutely stunning in detailing the horror of the accident and its aftermath. It is Wallingford and his team’s responsibility to determine what went wrong. Immediately, things don’t seem to add up.

Because the story is set in 1990, the characters do not have instant communication as we do now. It was actually fun to turn back the clock and go back to the days when mobile phones were huge and the car rental companies who had them available with certain models of vehicles were few in number. Pay phones were still everywhere. The fastest way to communicate anything written on paper was via FedEx overnight delivery. At that time, FedEx seemed like the Jetsons’ era.

But, do not think the story slows down without cell phones, instant messenger and e-mail. There are multiple storylines going here, as Wallingford and his people track down various theories and some tips on what happened. Because a congressman was on board one of the planes, they have to rule political assassination. There was an Air Force jet with a prototype of a self-contained radar unit onboard which took off just yards from the 737 before it was impacted by the A320.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Nance continues to impress me, and "Final Approach" only solidifies that. The book kept me picking it up and reading it when I should have been doing other things. His insight into the avaiation industry is amazing, and his ability to bring that insight out in a fictional novel is superb. People interested in the "behind the scenes" of airlines, the NTSB, FAA, and Washington will enjoy the plot.
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Format: Kindle Edition
On a stormy night at Kansas City International Airport, Flight 170 waits for take-off to avoid the thunderstorms rolling through. Flight 255 is landing on the same runway. Due to wind-shear it misses the first approach and comes back to try again resulting in a horrific crash involving both flights.

NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board, investigator, Joe Wallingford, is assigned to investigate the crash. He arrives in Kansas City with his team to sift through the wreckage for clues to the accident, but in this case it's no easy task, and the pressure on Joe, both political and technical, is tremendous.

The first chapters of “Final Approach” are the best. The crash scene keeps you on the edge of your seat. The rest of the novel is more mundane, understandably, because it involves the technical investigation into the reason for the crash. I enjoyed the detail of how an NTSB investigation is conducted, but it's slow going at times.

Joe Wallingford is a good character. He loves his job and responds to the pressure in a very human way. Some of the other characters are good, but Joe is clearly the standout. I found the women in the novel more stereotypical than the men, and the love affairs, although they aren't a major part of the action, seem forced.

If you enjoy books with an aviation theme, this is a good one, but be prepared for technical detail and some repetition as the investigators work to solve the mystery.

I received this book from Open Road for this review.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Author Nance is a well-seasoned commercial aviator. He also writes a good yarn in Final Approach. Though not as captivating as Trevanian and Ludlum, he does do an outstanding job in capturing the mind-set of a pilot, the main character (his own Jack Ryan?). Much better than Pandora's Clock (one of his other novels). Technically on-target and accurate with virtually all aspects to aviation and NTSB accident investigations: other authors shouldn't even try to dignify this sacred realm as well as Nance respects it and writes of it. Forget the Dinosaurs and Hollywood, put yourself on a real flight deck for a night or two with Final Approach.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a combination of exciting, suspenseful, and thrilling from beginning to end. The characters are well-drawn and believable. You care about what happens to them. The investigation of the crash really shows what the NSTB is all about. If you watch TV shows like "Air Disasters" you will be just as intrigued by this book. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Open Road Integrated Media and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Final Approach, in exchange for an honest review.

John J. Nance, best selling author, has again brought his readers back to the skies. When two airplanes crash on a Kansas City runway, it is up to NTSB investigator Joe Wallingford and his team to study the wreckage and piece together the facts of the case. He soon realizes that this was no ordinary accident and is complicated by the fact that one of the passengers was a high profile government employee. With the public and the NTSB board breathing down his neck, will Joe be able to find out the truth?

Author John J, Nance has the great ability of being able to delve into the complicated inner workings of the aviation industry, but explaining it in a way that is both interesting and easy to understand. There was never a dull moment in Final Approach, as there was plenty of intrigue to go around. Main character Joe Wallingford has the kind of integrity and intelligence that makes him interesting. My only word of caution when reading this book: do not read while flying or right before a trip. The behind the scenes look at the airline industry will keep both feel firmly planted on the ground.
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