CLEARED FOR THE APPROACH by F. Lee with John Greenya Bailey


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A jumbled but sometimes biting book about flight safety, legal problems related to crashes, the forming of an air-traffic-controllers union, all predicated on famed defense attorney Bailey's love of flying and ownership of a Lear let and a helicopter-manufacturing company. He was a full-fledged naval pilot at twenty and soon after picked up a commercial license (today he dotes on his helicopter, which will descend safely even if the engine dies--simple air pressure keeps the blades turning like maple seeds). He begins with a recap of the crash of a Boeing 727 into a mountain near Washington's Dulles airport (the same Dec. l, 1974 crash covered much more effectively in Adam Shaw's Sound of Impact, p. 78). The essential error that seems to have caused the crash was a failure in understanding between the pilot and the air-traffic-controller guiding the approach via his radar screen. ATCs work under fantastic pressure, mentally juggling the flight patterns of up to 35 planes at once. They can't go to the john, and since chewing might distract them, they eat soup; they suffer a disastrous divorce rate and a heavy ulcer problem, and often wipe out by 40. When they decided to band together to save their minds, the companies cried FOUL and went to court. Bailey became the ATCs' counsel for a token fee. He's a lively flight enthusiast, but a leapfrogging, book-juggling writer.

Pub Date: May 30th, 1977
Publisher: Prentice-Hall