Paul McElroy’s novel “Tracon” is a gripping tale about the airline
industry and in particular the air traffic controllers.McElroy has
created a fast paced, page turning story that can cause even the most
seasoned airline passenger to feel wary of ever flying again.
McElroy gives the reader an intricate detailed account about the
inner workings of the air traffic controllers and how stressful and
difficult their work really is.The story portrays a behind-the-scenes of
one of the nation’s busiest airports, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, with such
realistic description and dialogue that McElroy’s novel reads more like
fact than fiction.
McElroy begins his story with a mid-air collision of two passenger
jetliners, a Coastal 757 and an Atlantic 727.From thefirst page, the
author crabs the reader’s attention.
â€”thefirst officer saw the Coastal Airlines
757 burst out of the clouds from the left. He
yanked on the control yoke and jammed one
rudder pedal to the floor in a desperate attempt
to steer above and behind the other plane. The
727 was starting to respond when the outboard
edge of its port wing grazed the top of the 757’s
starboard wing. Then the Jurassic jet shook violently
from a sickening crunch of metal as the wing slashed
through the vertical stabilizer on Coastal’s tail, ripping
half of it away” (McElroy 9).
In just four sentences McElroy sets the stage for the unthinkable tragedy
about to unfold.He then goes on to describe the horror the passengers
faced as they realized the plane was out of control and on a crash course.
The author then jumps from the tragedies taking place on the planes to a
yacht sailing below whose owner and afternoon date witness the debris
falling from the sky.McElroy then flashes to O’Hare Airport.