Airframe is a novel by American writer Michael Crichton, first published in hardcover in 1996 by Knopf and as a paperback in 1997 by Ballantine Books. The plot follows Casey Singleton, a quality assurance vice-president at the fictional aerospace manufacturer Norton Aircraft, as she investigates an in-flight accident aboard a Norton-manufactured airliner that leaves three passengers dead and fifty-six injured.
In Airframe, as in most of his novels, Crichton uses the false document literary device, presenting numerous technical documents to create a sense of authenticity. He also draws from real life incidents to flesh out the story. For instance the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 and its causes are accurately described (as per knowledge of the time) in the novel.
The New York Times's Christopher Lehmann-Haupt said of Airframe, By playing hide and seek with his plot, Mr. Crichton writes as if he were an engineer and his readers were all outsiders. Yet at the same time, he has taken on a complex subject in Airframe and made its subtleties dramatically vivid. 
Crichton's works were frequently cautionary; his plots often portrayed scientific advancements going awry, commonly resulting in worst-case scenarios. A notable recurring theme in Crichton's plots is the pathological failure of complex systems and their safeguards, whether biological (Jurassic Park), military/organizational (The Andromeda Strain), technical (Airframe) or cybernetic (Westworld). This theme of the inevitable breakdown of perfect systems and the failure of fail-safe measures can be seen strongly in the poster for Westworld (slogan: Where nothing can possibly go worngt ... (sic) ) and in the discussion of chaos theory in Jurassic Park.