& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.


With reviews of books that cover these topics


The Crash Detectives

Investigating the world’s most mysterious air disasters


Christine Negroni

Atlantic 2016 (in PB March 8 2018)

Negroni is an experienced US journalist, specialising in air safety. So, although she is clearly master of the subject, her style is more newspaper than book.  She knows that flight safety has reached very high levels (I believe 2017 was perhaps an apogee with no fatalities on commercial jet air transport anywhere in the world), yet has to hark back to the disasters of the past. The narrative leaps from  one accident to another – although, it does keep looping back to the admittedly very mysterious disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370. Her theory, expounded at length, is that the flight crew  suffered hypoxia.  


The author is good at explaining the human factors that lie behind many accidents, and how poor communication between crew members happened all too frequently. Enjoyable, with the limitations noted above, and most pilots will learn something.





Possibly not a book to give to a nervous flyer. Certainly not to the woman two seats away from me on a flight recently. The man in between us was her husband, and he had his headphones on, as he had clearly trodden this path too many times before. She engaged me in conversation and started asking me questions about the flight. Her agitation was obvious. She had brought a stash of booze with her, but also gave the in-flight service a caning. She admitted to being a very nervous flyer, and was stressed because this was just the first of three flights necessary to get home  to Iceland. What was ironic was that she worked for Icelandair!