This book is about a competition between two firms hoping to supply aircraft to an airline in the Philippines. In the real world aircraft manufacturers and their agents have been known to do almost anything to win a contract and the story told in this book does not pull any punches. The competing aircraft have to demonstrate their ability to operate in the monsoon on the airline's network where the critical and important airfield is on the side of a Volcano.
Peter Talbert, avionic expert and accident investigator, is hired by the airline’s insurance company to check on the safety of the airlines operation.
He finds a camera in his room trying to catch him having an affair with
a female co-pilot and then becomes aware of bribery of some of the
decision makers. Talbert is attacked and has to return to the UK.
Disaster strikes and
reluctantly Talbert agrees with the insurance company to return to the
Philippines to look after
their interests. As he discovers the truth he is attacked and has to fight to avoid
being thrown into the sea from from an aircraft. Flyng for the first
time for many years he manages to land the aircraft and expose what had
This book is the third book of
seven books by Tony Blackman in a series featuring Peter Talbert. The other books are titled
Blind Landing, The Final Flight, Flight to St Antony,
Now You See It
Java Waters Run Deep. They will appeal to anyone who likes a mystery story as well as to the aviation enthusiast.
Peter Talbert takes on a difficult case of life and death, including possibly his own
Once again, Blackman uses his extensive knowledge of air flight to construct a thriller regarding aircraft. An airline in the Philippines is trying to make a decision regarding which of two types of aircraft to purchase. Their goal is to upgrade from turboprop planes to jets on their flights to lower quality airfields. Since these airfields are smaller, less well maintained, there is the reality of seasonal monsoon rains with mud on the runways and the surveys of the surrounding terrain are not precise, the decision is technically complicated. Furthermore, there are enormous amounts of money at stake, which raises the potential for corruption.
Insurance investigator extraordinaire Peter Talbert is convinced to travel to the Philippines in order to personally investigate the situation. Ostensibly, he is there to verify that the airline is following the proper procedures in maintenance operations and training. However, everyone understands that his voice will be a powerful one if he were to state a preference for either aircraft.
This begins a battle between many factions to manipulate Peter, involving officials from both airline manufacturers, officials from the airline and even the Filipino government. At first the pressure is subtle, involving verbal discussions, hidden microphones and cameras, and an attempted bribe. When all this fails and Peter starts making progress, he is severely beaten as a warning.
All this changes when one of the planes under consideration crashes during a test flight and Peter is convinced to go back and investigate the crash. It is not long before he firms up his suspicions, but when he is on the phone to report, he is hit on the head and kidnapped. This time, his foes mean business and when they are trying to throw him out of a plane, he escapes, killing one of his attackers and breaking the other's arm. After this, when Peter is able to examine the documentation he proves what went wrong in the crash and who was probably responsible. He plays some hardball with his opponents and they get out while the getting is still possible.
As a writer of thrillers based on the technical details of air flight, Blackman has no equal. This story, like his others, rely on these details, yet in a way that is understandable by people who know little about such things.
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