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Rockhound
6th Jan 2008, 14:59
I've just received my copy of a first-class new book on the science behind airplane crashes. It's "Beyond the Black Box: the forensics of airplane crashes" by George Bibel (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008; ISBN 10: 0801886317). Bibel is a retired professor of mechanical engineering and explains clearly and authoritatively, with a minimum of technical jargon, why accidents happened they way they did. It's right up to date, including even the Helios B737 and AF358 accidents, though of course it was published before the official report on the latter was released.
Rockhound :ok:

frontlefthamster
6th Jan 2008, 18:35
Oh good.

That'll save anyone having to, errr, actually read the reports of the investigations.

frontlefthamster
6th Jan 2008, 19:43
...and given the AF accident, it pretty much makes proper accident investigation redundant, doesn't it? :cool:

I wonder if Prof Bibel is interested in facts or sales... I know, in his shoes, I would only be after the sales. :yuk:

Rockhound
6th Jan 2008, 20:37
Hamster,
No, you've got it wrong. Bibel's book is very much supplementary to the official aviation accident investigations. It discusses the science and technology underlying accidents. In the preface, Bibel states that the book is about aviation accidents "that illustrate concepts of physical science". He aims to reveal "intriguing accident stories to a general audience and to illustrate and teach the critically relevant science and engineering principles that guide aircraft design". I believe there's a real need for a book like this, given the typical sensationalist coverage of aviation accidents by the media. I'm sure that many professional aviators would also gain from reading this book.
Rockhound

frontlefthamster
6th Jan 2008, 21:00
Thanks, I've read his book, and I'll stick with the formal reports, thanks.

I appreciate your point, but the book, from title down, doesn't quite come clean, in my view...

GBibel
6th Jan 2008, 21:22
I liked to jump in if I can.

1. Thanks for the nice review, but I'm not retired.
2. I'm certainly interested in sales, but if the first printing sells out, it will work out to about $2 per hour.
3. There were sufficient facts about the successful evacuation of AF358 on the official Canadian TSB website. Beside I had incredible TSB photos, one of which appears on the cover. Also I found it interesting (the basic criteria of everything in the book) that evacuation has to occur in less than 90 seconds with half the exists blocked.
4. Not being a pilot, I took great pains to avoid piloting issues. But I do think I know a thing or two about how things break.

I would be very happy to hear what you liked or didn't like.

GBibel
7th Jan 2008, 01:10
I wished I had said a little more.

If you think the book is superficial compared to an NTSB report or the pilot's responsibilities, than I won't disagree. Because of my background, the book is about everything (OK many things) that can go wrong except pilot error, and what they do about it. Occasionally I talk about the pilots if there is an interesting story or a science message.

I'm certainly not trying to replace the NTSB. I just tried to write a science book that hopefully tells interesting stories. I have used these stories with great success with graduate engineering students and middle school teachers. Planes popping like balloons, people sucked out of windows, engines spinning apart, crash loads, g forces, etc. I think all textbooks are boring compared to this stuff.

Although I tell spectacular stories, I also explained the investigation process and safety improvements. One reviewer said, in spite of describing crash after crash, you'll still left with a feeling that flying is pretty darn safe.

After immersing myself in crash reports, FAA reports, NASA reports, newspaper accounts, etc for 3 years; I have nothing but respect for all phases of commercial aviation and tried to reflect that in my book.

Rockhound
7th Jan 2008, 20:58
Prof Bibel,
Apologies for "retiring" you (no idea why I thought that). As a non-pilot but aviation enthusiast - known on this site (from which I learn a lot) as SLF (Self-loading Freight) - I'm much enjoying your book.
Best wishes.
Rockhound

john_tullamarine
7th Jan 2008, 21:27
I think that we have noted the existence of the document to an adequate degree ......

a request has been made to continue discussion on the book so the thread is re-opened.

stretchy54
26th Jan 2008, 11:26
Professor Bibel (the author) just contributed an op-ed article :ok: in the NY Times today about one of the themes of his new book: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/26/opinion/26bibel.html

PBL
27th Jan 2008, 08:36
Professor Bibel (the author) just contributed an op-ed article in the NY Times today about one of the themes of his new book:

Perhaps he would care to post it in an accessible domain (say, here) for those of us who don't have NYT registration?

I haven't read the book, but sympathise greatly with its aims. I guess it is intended to follow in the tradition of some of Petroski's work, Gordon's "Structures", and so on.

Paul Marks of the New Scientist, whom I know, and who follows aviation and computer-safety issues, reviewed it there (issue 2628, 3 November 2007).

PBL

tristar 500
27th Jan 2008, 13:07
Beyond the Black Box: the forensics of airplane crashes
I've just received my copy of a first-class new book on the science behind airplane crashes. It's "Beyond the Black Box: the forensics of airplane crashes" by George Bibel (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008; ISBN 10: 0801886317). Bibel is a retired professor of mechanical engineering and explains clearly and authoritatively, with a minimum of technical jargon, why accidents happened they way they did. It's right up to date, including even the Helios B737 and AF358 accidents, though of course it was published before the official report on the latter was released.
Rockhound :ok:

This is little more than an advert & the moderators should remove/close it

Tristar 500

lomapaseo
27th Jan 2008, 14:01
This is little more than an advert & the moderators should remove/close it

Tristar 500

I'm neutral at this point since it doesn't flood the forums and was only a single informative (here it is) posting.

Is there a general line to be crossed that this posting seems to violate?

tristar 500
27th Jan 2008, 15:32
[QUOTE]

I'm neutral at this point since it doesn't flood the forums and was only a single informative (here it is) posting.

Is there a general line to be crossed that this posting seems to violate?

I beleive PPRune accepts adverts for money not freebies!!

Tristar 500

lomapaseo
27th Jan 2008, 20:51
I beleive PPRune accepts adverts for money not freebies!!

Tristar 500

If I contribute a dollar will it make this thread go away:}

john_tullamarine
28th Jan 2008, 10:20
.. something about a rock and a hard place ..

I originally locked it for just this concern but re-opened it after receiving some requests to permit discussion.

My assessment at this stage is that

(a) there may be some useful discussion

(b) the thread will disappear of its own accord in due course

It is reasonable to presume that those further up the totem pole, likewise, are watching and will act appropriately if they consider it to be a little too close to advertising ....

Taildragger67
29th Jan 2008, 12:59
FWIW IMHO it's worth allowing this thread, since anyone who has read the book has a chance to air their views (good or bad) and perhaps have then addressed by the author (or at least someone purporting to be the author).

Personally, I am interested in air crash investigations (I read reports as a bit of a hobby and soaked up Macarthur Job's books) and so had planned to read Prof Bibel's work; the first post in this thread, Tristar 500, has no so much acted as an advertisement as far as I'm concerned, but simply alerted me to its wider availability than I thought and opened a discussion as to the book's technical accuracy.

So I, for one, would ask that this thread be left open. If you don't happen to like it, then don't click on the link to it and you're always free to cancel the 'subscription' which sends you emails each time there's a new post.