Certain few unfortunate souls—you know who you are—aren’t comforted at all to hear that commercial aviation is far and away the safest form of transportation. If it’s so safe, they ask, why am I so terrified to step on a plane? In their minds, flight safety statistics are worthless.
The average traveler doesn’t obsess about what could go wrong in the sky but certainly experiences an “enough already, TMI” attitude when faced with the gritty details of crashes. Understandable, but those details are crucial to investigators seeking to understand what went wrong and, consequently, what can be done to prevent the next incident. Plane Crash: The Forensics of Aviation Disasters is a remarkable, just-the-facts-ma’am discussion of airplane accidents alongside analyses of what went wrong and what the industry did in response.
Written as a collaboration between a mechanical engineering professor and an airline captain—with chapters on taking off, approaches, landing, turbulence, controlling the plane, and other aspects of flying modern jetliners—the book is reassuring in the old-fashioned way: the more you know about the sophistication of planes and the expertise of those who build and fly them, the better you’ll feel about boarding your next flight.