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Air Disasters Series

Samme Chittum
The Smithsonian Air Disasters series explores the most devastating plane crashes in the history of commercial aviation. Each volume presents not only the scenario and circumstances surrounding the crash and its immediate aftermath, but also the quest to investigate the causes, as well as the ongoing implementation of security and safety regulations to prevent them from happening again.
The Flight 981 Disaster by Samme Chittum
Southern Storm by Samme Chittum
Last Days of the Concorde by Samme Chittum

Air Disasters Series : Titles in Order

Book 3
The gripping true tale of a devastating plane crash, the investigation into its causes, and the race to prevent similar disasters in the future.

On July 25, 2000, a Concorde, the world’s fastest passenger plane, was taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris when it suddenly burst into flames. An airliner capable of flying at more than twice the speed of sound, the Concorde had completed 25 years of successful flights, whisking wealthy passengers–from diplomats to rock stars to corporate titans–between continents on brief and glamorous flights. Yet on this fateful day, the chartered Concorde jet, en route to America, crashed and killed all 109 passengers and crew onboard and four people on the ground. Urgent questions immediately arose as investigators scrambled to discover what had gone wrong. What caused the fire? Could it have been prevented? And, most urgently, was the Concorde safe to fly? Last Days of the Concorde addresses these issues and many more, offering a fascinating insider’s look at the dramatic disaster, the hunt for clues, and the systemic overhauls that followed the crash.
Book 2
The gripping true tale of a devastating plane crash, the investigation into its causes, and the race to prevent similar disasters in the future.

On the afternoon of April 4, 1977, Georgia housewife Sadie Burkhalter Hurst looked out her front door to see a frantic stranger running toward her, his clothes ablaze, and behind him the mangled fuselage of a passenger plane that had just crashed in her yard. The plane, a Southern Airways DC-9-31, had been carrying eighty-one passengers and four crew members en route to Atlanta when it entered a massive thunderstorm cell that turned into a dangerous cocktail of rain, hail, and lightning. Forced down onto a highway, the plane cut a swath of devastation through the small town of New Hope, breaking apart and killing bystanders on the ground before coming to rest in Hurst’s front yard. Ultimately, only twenty-two people would survive the crash of Flight 242, and urgent questions immediately arose. What caused the pilots to fly into the storm instead of away from it? Could the crash have been prevented? Southern Storm addresses these issues and many more, offering a fascinating insider’s look at this dramatic disaster and the systemic overhauls that followed it.
Book 1
On June 12, 1972, a powerful explosion rocked American Airlines Flight 96 a mere five minutes after its takeoff from Detroit. The explosion ripped a gaping hole in the bottom of the aircraft and jammed the hydraulic controls. Miraculously, despite the damage and ensuing chaos, the pilots were able to land the plane safely. Less than two years later, on March 3, 1974, a sudden, forceful blowout tore through Turk Hava Yollari (THY) Flight 981 from Paris to London. THY Flight 981 was not as lucky as Flight 96; it crashed in a forest in France, and none of the 346 people onboard survived. What caused the mysterious explosions? How were they linked? Could they have been prevented? The Flight 981 Disaster addresses these questions and many more, offering a fascinating insiders’ look at two dramatic aviation disasters.

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