Cover of Deadly Turbulence, the Book
Cover of Deadly Turbulence, the Book

Deadly Turbulence: The Air Safety Lessons of Braniff Flight 250 and Other Airliners, 1959-1966 is about the early Jet Age and the valuable and very expensive, deadly lessons learned from encounters by the new jets with turbulence.

Jet airliner operations in the United States began in 1958, bringing, it was thought, a new era of fast, high, safe, smooth, sophisticated travel. But almost immediately, the new aircraft were involved in incidents and accidents that showed jets created new problems even as they solved old ones. This book discusses five disasters or near-disasters of the early Jet Age, experiences that shook the industry, regulators, and public out of early complacency and helped build a more realistic foundation for safer air transportation.

Special attention is paid to the 1966 destruction of Braniff International Airways Flight 250 in Nebraska. Nearly two years of inquiry helped advance the understanding of jet operations in severe weather and saw the first use of cockpit voice recorder technology in an aviation accident investigation.

In addition, a University of Chicago professor, Dr. Tetsuya “Ted” Fujita, conducted a more intensive investigation of the weather system which downed Flight 250. Dr. Fujita’s already extensive knowledge of thunderstorms and tornadoes led to his creation of the Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity, the (E)F-scale that we hear about so frequently during storm season.

Photo of Author Steve Pollock
Author Steve Pollock

Steve Pollock has been an author, journalist, teacher, public school advocate, and wrangler of beagles and basset hounds for over 30 years. He fell in love with airliners at the age of five. During a kindergarten field trip in the fall of 1969, he had a fateful encounter with a brand-new Pan American World Airways 747 during the type’s final certification trials in Roswell, NM.

He was born in Roswell, NM, on December 14th, a cold Saturday morning in 1963, some three weeks following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He lived in Roswell and Clovis, NM, then moved to Duncan, OK, in 1974. He graduated from Duncan High School in 1982, and Cameron University in Lawton, OK, in 1986, with a bachelor of arts degree in English and a history minor.

Steve worked in various journalism and communications professional situations and then completed a master of arts degree in elementary educational studies with elementary certification in June 2006 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His certification to teach multi-subject grades K-5 and language arts and social studies in grades 6-8 (as well as ELL/CLAD instruction) is being transferred from Michigan and California during the spring of 2021.

He and his husband Frank (a librarian at Vanderbilt University) have also lived in Texas, California, Michigan, Colorado; they and their pack of four hound dogs now call Donelson, Tennessee, their home.

What could have been: Alternate covers for the book.
The publisher chose the one at the top of this page.

Photo of Alternate Cover 1 of Deadly Turbulence
What could have been: Alternate Cover 1 of Deadly Turbulence