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More About This Title Scapegoat


On April 4, 1979, a Boeing 727 with 82 passengers and a crew of 7 rolled over and plummeted from an altitude of 39,000 feet to within seconds of crashing were it not for the crew’s actions to save the plane. The cause of the unexplained dive was the subject of one of the longest NTSB investigations at that time.

While the crew’s efforts to save TWA 841 were initially hailed as heroic, that all changed when safety inspectors found twenty-one minutes of the thirty-minute cockpit voice recorder tape blank. The captain of the flight, Harvey “Hoot” Gibson, subsequently came under suspicion for deliberately erasing the tape in an effort to hide incriminating evidence. The voice recorder was never evaluated for any deficiencies.

From that moment on, the investigation was focused on the crew to the exclusion of all other evidence. It was an investigation based on rumors, innuendos, and speculation. Eventually the NTSB, despite sworn testimony to the contrary, blamed the crew for the incident by having improperly manipulated the controls; leading to the dive. This is the story of a NTSB investigation gone awry and one pilot’s decade-long battle to clear his name.


Emilio Corsetti III is a professional pilot and author whose work has appeared in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Multimedia Producer, and Professional Pilot magazine. He is the author of 35 Miles from Shore. He lives in Dallas, Texas.


"Scapegoat is a taut, suspenseful history. The opening chapters prompt heart-pounding excitement as Corsetti describes the dive from the perspective of both the crew and the passengers. The book is enthralling throughout, even as it shifts from the near crash to the more mundane hearings and investigations that followed."  —Foreword Reviews“The author sifted through a staggering depth of research and documentation about TWA Flight 841's high-altitude upset and aftermath and then boiled it all down into an intriguing investigative narrative.”  —Mark L Berry, author, 13,760 feet: My Personal Hole in the Sky“This is the kind of case the Board has never had to deal with—a head-on collision between the credibility of a flight crew versus the airworthiness of the aircraft.”  —Leslie Dean Kampschror, National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge“Scapegoat is a scathing indictment of nearly everyone involved in the investigation, particularly the NTSB and Boeing. They quickly reached a conclusion – that the pilot and crew were hiding something – and ignored or minimized any evidence that suggested otherwise.”  —Readerviews"Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, Scapegoat: A Flight Crew's Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption is a consistently compelling read throughout and very highly recommended for community library collections."  —Midwest Book Review