The Final Call

Stephen Barlay, Author Pantheon Books $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-40174-2
Barlay ( Aircrash Detective ) displays an impressive acquaintance with air travel worldwide, from the planes themselves to the temperaments of pilots. He explains factors that can lead to tragedy in the air: anomalies in the weather, fire or toxic gases in the passenger cabin, lax maintenance of the aircraft, metal fatigue in planes, defective airports where neither facilities nor services are ``even up to rubbish standards,'' linguistic problems arising from violation of the rule that English is the language of the air. What angers Barlay most is the refusal of the industry to learn from previous disasters and near-disasters; for example, there were 22 icing accidents between 1970 and 1982, but nothing was done to solve the problem until an airplane went down in the Potomac with heavy loss of life. The book is excellent, with one exception: the text is awash in acronyms which a more ingenious author might have avoided. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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