Seconds to Disaster - New Book Chronicles Aviation Industry’s Mad Dash for Profits over Safety

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Authors interview Baum Hedlund Attorney for new book about aviation safety, “Seconds To Disaster” - John Greaves, provided the authors his unique perspective as an airline captain and airline disaster attorney. The book uncovers problems within the airline industry and reveals how current aviation practices overshadow safety standards.

Book: Seconds To Disaster

Seconds To Disaster

Airlines are upgrading captains, who have no business being captains. John A. Greaves, aviation disaster attorney and former airline captain.

Seconds to Disaster uncovers the airline industry’s alarming pursuit of bottom-line profit and reveals how current aviation practices overshadow safety standards and put human lives at risk.

Authors Glenn Meade and Ray Ronan paint an unnerving picture of the current state of aviation safety standards by presenting industry data alongside anecdotes and insights from numerous aviation experts and former pilots.

One such industry insider the authors interviewed was former airline captain and aviation attorney, John A. Greaves, of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, based in Los Angeles. John has the unique experience of flying for the airlines and then changing careers to become an attorney, representing passengers in airline accidents. He flew for various airlines for 10,000 hours, including 3,000 as a captain in Part 121 and Part 135 scheduled airline operations, and then represented airline accident victims in 35 different airline disasters.

The book opens with a gripping account of the events leading up to the tragic crash of Air France Flight 447, which crashed over the Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 216 passengers and 12 crew members on board. It reads like a captivating thriller whose ending you already know; with each event unfolding in real time as you follow the crew through the preparation of a flight you know will be their last. Peppered with foreboding facts, the authors paint a picture of inevitable tragedy.

In recounting the preparation of the doomed Airbus A330 for flight (an aircraft that had moments earlier touched down from a previous long trip), Meade and Ronan write, “Once refueled, the aircraft was good to go, part of a continuous cycle of usage that is the lot of modern aircraft. Down time is money lost. The more time an aircraft is in use, the more profit the company makes.”

This terrifying story sets the stage for the rest of the book, which carefully chronicles the series of significant events that can lead to such a horrific tragedy. “Much of the time air crashes, as we will see, are a confluence of events – a cascade of bad luck, bad decisions, inappropriate airline company policy, insufficient training and failure of regulatory authority,” the book states. It discloses the worrying upward trend of “incidents” (an aviation industry term for near-crashes) as well as the slow erosion of air safety standards precipitated by the negligence, greed and collusion of both the airline industry and the worldwide aviation authorities who govern it.

Just when many readers are ready to swear-off travel altogether, the authors mercifully offer solutions on how air disasters and air incidents can be prevented and also illustrate how an everyday passenger can make simple decisions that go far in limiting the risk of danger while travelling. “Flying smart” is possible, the authors assure, and offer plenty of industry insight into how this can be done.

Seconds to Disaster, released as an eBook on June 26, 2012, is available for purchase on It became available in print in the U.S. in November 2012.


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Robin McCall, Media Relations
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