“Rapoport and Malmquist do it again! A masterful piece of work that was hard to put down despite already knowing the accident. With deft ability, they take the reader down the inextricably intertwined paths of raw emotion and technical details of some of our most troubling and persistent global aviation safety problems. If you travel by air, or are interested in air safety, then this is simply a must-read!”

Capt. Shawn Pruchnicki (Ret.) MS ATP CFII
Chief Scientist for Human Factors Investigation and Education (HFIE), Ohio State University Center for Aviation Studies


Angle of Attack

Air France 447 and
the Future of Aviation Safety

Roger Rapoport & Capt Shem Malmquist

“We owe Rapoport and Malmquist a great debt of gratitude. Take your time, read every word.”

Dr. Gary Helmer, Chief, Safety Division National Transportation Safety Board

Finally, the definitive book on the Titantic of aviation accidents: a state-of-the-art jet that couldn’t stall, until it did and took the lives of 228 Air France passengers. Based on exclusive interviews with the aircraft’s manufacturer, the airline, flight crews, families of the pilots, accident investigators, and the Woods Hole led team that recovered the missing jet from the bottom of the South Atlantic, this essential book documents why airlines and regulators everywhere must respond now to critical lessons learned from this legendary event. Angle of Attack perfectly documents the fundamental disconnect between obsolete safety management systems and the missing hands-on training required to give flight crews the resilience they need to handle unexpected crises beyond their experience.

Roger Rapoport is a journalist and the author of Citizen Moore, and co-screenwriter of Pilot Error and Waterwalk. He is a contributing editor at Flight Safety Information.

Shem Malmquist is a veteran aviation accident investigator, international 777 captain, former line check airman, and a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

“Angle of Attack sheds light for novice and expert alike on the complexities and inadequacies within highly redundant technical systems. The passion of the authors for their subject bridges their different backgrounds and their resulting approach draws the reader into the mystery, and its solutions. The reader is provided insight into the complex aviation procedural world in an understandable and engaging way. The human aspects of the story illuminate the motivation of those who quest for safety and are a reminder that there is always something new to learn.”

Captain Elaine M. Parker, Vice President Operations
Beyond Risk Management Ltd.

“Angle of Attack is a thorough and thought provoking look at how well trained humans are critical to the success of high tech aviation systems. As planes become more automated, complex systems present new and unexpected challenges that are explained here in a way that every reader will appreciate. For the very first time the full story of Air France 447, one of the most significant events in aviation history, is revealed thanks to eight years of painstaking research.”

John Darbo, Argus International, former American Airlines manager of internal evaluation and event investigation

“What an excellent book! The authors have hit this one out of the ballpark. Both aviation enthusiasts and non aviation enthusiasts will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.”

Captain James Nielsen


“A must-read for aviation professionals. At a time when advanced automation enhances aircraft safety to the highest levels in history, the struggle is now focused on pilots balancing the automation while still maintaining proficiency with stick and rudder skills. Maintaining these skills will be even more complicated with pilots that don’t have the core foundation because their primary flight training was completed in a simulator.”

Bill Rhodes, Chief Pilot Kalitta Air, LLC

“The key to safety in any operation requires the identification of the hazards. Unrecognized, hazards kill. Once hazards come to light appropriate action must be taken to mitigate the associated risks. This timely and dramatic work shows how high altitude, thin air stalls were not recognized as the hazard they are, but now, experts have shown they do exist and have developed engineering and procedural remedies to prevent further tragedy. Take your time, read every word—we owe Rapoport and Malmquist a great debt of gratitude for their research and concern for the safety of all of us who fly.”

Dr. Gary W. Helmer, Chief, Safety Division
National Transportation Safety Board

“Angle of Attack is a great resource for aeronautical professionals and anyone with an interest in aviation mishaps because it systematically exposes the failed defenses that can reside at each layer of the aviation system from top-level management down to pilots and the not-so-perfect, artificially intelligent systems that help them fly.”

Dr. Chris Johnson, Director of Aviation Education and Research, Industrial & Systems Engineering
University of Wisconsin, Madison

“The authors have written a book that is a must-read for anyone with an interest in aircraft accident investigation and aviation safety. Their exhaustive research highlights safety issues on nearly every page. Given Malmquist’s vast aeronautical knowledge and years of experience, and Rapoport’s dogged reporting, they virtually reconstruct what was going on that fateful night in the cockpit of AF447. As we have painfully learned, with many post crash-investigations, the industry has much to do to enhance safety. Some of the shortcomings include, more realistic simulation, in depth meteorology training, use of angle of attack indicators and crew dependence on automation. As we absorb the next generation of pilots we need to quickly fix these or watch an increasing accident rate.”

Professor Walt Houghton, Central Florida Space Academy & Embry Riddle University, McDill Air Force Base, Former Manager Vermont State Airports

“You don’t have to be a pilot to find this book moving and absorbing, just an airline passenger. The authors clearly and vividly explain the series of small events that make the difference between the hundreds of thousands of flights that are safe and routine and the one that ends in tragedy.”

Adam Hochschild, Author of Spain in Our Hearts and King Leopold’s Ghost

“As Angle of Attack makes clear, comprehension of meteorological conditions for aviation involves a multitude of data points which need to be orchestrated, communicated and coordinated by all the relevant entities within the global aviation community to ensure safer skies. This book proves conclusively that education by meteorologists is the key to fundamental understanding of the impact weather has on the elements of the aviation arena including pilots, dispatchers, air traffic controllers and other leaders in aviation.”

Debbie M. Schaum, Associate Chair and Associate Professor Applied Aviation Sciences

“Roger Rapaport and Shem Malmquist focus this book on the issues related to training of new generation automated aircraft flight crews to deal with the rare and unexpected emergencies.  Their subject matter expertise is admirable! Their analysis describes the problems related to the difficulty of replicating rare, hazardous flight conditions to facilitate training airline flight crews to handle unexpected challenges in high altitude flight emergencies and hazardous weather encounters.  They have used the Air France 447 crash and some other crashes of automated airplanes as examples of accidents that might have been prevented if the crews could have had access to realistic training to prepare them for those rare events, and if their aircraft had been equipped with angle of attack indicators.This book is a must-read for professional pilots, aircraft designers, government regulators, and political decision makers. It will dispel many of the misconceptions and myths surrounding some of the seemingly improbable losses of newer, high technology aircraft and points the way to safer ways to design and equip the machines and train the crews who operate them.”

Gregory Fox, Director of Safety Florida Institute of Technology ATPL pilot, safety manager since 1971, 35 years safety regulator, and 20 years check inspector on A320 and A340.

“As a young Naval Aviator I learned to maximize the performance of my aircraft in every regime of flight through use of Angle of Attack. When I began my initial training in the B727 I asked about AOA, but was taken aback when my instructor said “we don’t use that in the airlines.” I asked why and was told “we just don’t.” Rapoport and Malmquist have again asked the question of why? Using Air France 447 as a backdrop, they have taken a detailed look at the current state of airline training, safety and the politics involved in how and why we fly like we do. Angle of Attack is a must-read for the professional aviator desiring to become a better pilot while developing a broader understanding of the airline industry.”

Jeff Kilmer, B777 Captain and former chief international pilot FedEx