Seconds To Disaster uncovers the airline industry’s alarming pursuit of bottom-line profit and reveals how current aviation practices overshadow safety standards and put human lives at risk.
Through statistics, anecdotes, and insights from numerous aviation experts and former pilots, authors Glenn Meade and Ray Ronan paint an unnerving picture of the current state of safety standards in our skies.
One such industry insider the authors interviewed was former airline captain and aviation attorney, John A. Greaves, of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, based in Los Angeles. John has the unique experience of flying for the airlines and then changing careers to become an attorney, representing passengers in airline accidents. He flew for various airlines for 10,000 hours, including 3,000 as a captain in Part 121 and Part 135 scheduled airline operations, and then represented airline accident victims in 35 different airline disasters.
The book opens with a gripping account of the events leading up to the tragic crash of Air France Flight 447, which crashed over the Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board. It reads like a captivating thriller whose ending you already know; with each event unfolding in real-time as you follow the crew through the preparation of a flight you know will be their last. Peppered with foreboding facts, the authors paint a picture of an inevitable tragedy.
In recounting the preparation of the doomed Airbus A330 for flight (an aircraft that had moments earlier touched down from a previous long trip), Meade and Ronan write, “Once refueled, the aircraft was good to go, part of a continuous cycle of usage that is the lot of modern aircraft. Downtime is money lost. The more time an aircraft is in use, the more profit the company makes.”
This terrifying story sets the stage for the rest of the book, which carefully chronicles the series of significant events that can lead to such a horrific tragedy. “Much of the time air crashes, as we will see, are a confluence of events – a cascade of bad luck, bad decisions, inappropriate airline company policy, insufficient training and failure of regulatory authority,” the book states. It discloses the worrying upward trend of “incidents” (an aviation industry term for near-crashes) as well as the slow erosion of air safety standards precipitated by the negligence, greed, and collusion of both the airline industry and the worldwide aviation authorities who govern it.
Just when many readers are ready to swear-off travel altogether, the authors mercifully offer solutions on how air disasters and air incidents can be prevented and also illustrate how an everyday passenger can make simple decisions that go far in limiting the risk of danger while traveling. “Flying smart” is possible, the authors assure and offer plenty of industry insight into how this can be done.
Seconds To Disaster, released as an eBook on June 26, 2012, is available for purchase on Amazon.com. It became available in print in the U.S.A. in November 2012.
Seconds To Disaster, released in Spain on February 12, 2013, is available for purchase on Amazon.com in ebook form and in print and also in hardcopy in bookshops in Spain