Air Disasters

366 reviews
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Season 18 episodes (10)

1 Cockpit Failure
The pilots of Crossair Flight 3597 struggle on their approach to Zurich Airport, hampered by bad weather, an understaffed control tower, and a runway using antiquated equipment. By the time they decide to abort the landing, it's too late. The plane plunges into a hillside, killing 24 of the 33 on board. It's Switzerland's worst air disaster in over a decade and investigators are pressured to find answers fast. What they discover is a series of errors that will lead to sweeping changes to the airport and to the airline.
2 The Heathrow Enigma
January 2008. British Airways Flight 38 is about to land at Heathrow Airport when calamity strikes. The Boeing 777, one of the safest planes in the airline industry, suffers double engine failure, and with only seconds until the aircraft hits the ground, Captain Peter Burkill must attempt a highly risky move to save the lives of the 152 people on board. Witness the remarkable emergency landing the follow investigators as they solve the mystery behind the crash, using unrelenting diligence and a little inspiration from Sherlock Holmes.
3 Pilot Betrayed
December 1991. Two days after Christmas, a state-of-the-art DC-9 takes off from Stockholm-Arlanda Airport en route to Copenhagen. But just 25 seconds into the flight, something goes horribly wrong. Both engines quit and the aircraft begins falling from the sky at a rate of 1,200 feet per minute. It will take all of Captain Rasmussen's skill to save the lives of the passengers and crew of Scandinavian Airlines Flight 751. What happens over the next few minutes will shock Sweden and the aviation industry…and change the captain's life forever.
4 Dead Tired
Colgan Air Flight 3407 prepares to land in Buffalo after a short, 50-minute hop from Newark. Suddenly, the twin-engine turboprop takes on a mind of its own, pitching and rolling before finally crashing into a house near the airport. All 49 people aboard the flight are killed, along with one ground fatality, making it the worst crash in the U.S. in more than seven years. It would be followed by one of the NTSB's most important investigations and prompt a grieving father to fight for changes to the laws governing small airlines.
5 Hudson River Runaway
January 15, 2009. US Airways Flight 1549 has just left New York City for Charlotte, North Carolina. Within seconds of taking off, disaster strikes. The Airbus A320 is struck by a flock of Canada geese, destroying the engines. With his plane falling from the sky, Captain Chesley Sullenberger makes a bold and brilliant decision to put his aircraft on the runway that's dead ahead: the Hudson River. Relive the famous emergency landing and follow investigators as they examine how a bird strike could completely cripple two highly advanced jet engines.
6 Who's in Control?
February 25, 2009. A state-of-the-art Boeing 737 coming into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport stalls and drops straight from the sky to Earth, less than half a mile from the runway, killing nine people. It's the third crash of a passenger jet in the past six weeks. Equally troubling: the 737 is one of aviation's most popular planes, with more than five thousand of them in the skies, carrying about one and a half million passengers a day. Investigators must quickly determine if there's a flaw with the plane before another, more deadly, calamity occurs.
7 Unlocking Disaster
February 24, 1989. United Airlines Flight 811 takes off from Honolulu International Airport en route to Auckland, New Zealand. Just a hundred miles into the flight, a cargo door malfunction leads to an explosive decompression that rips a huge whole in the plane, taking out five rows of seats and nine passengers. We revisit this headline-grabbing mid-air crisis and the emergency landing that followed, then track the investigations-by both the NTSB and one of the victim's families-that exposed a disturbing truth within the aviation industry.
8 Racing the Storm
June 1, 1999. American Airlines Flight 1420 approaches Little Rock National Airport in the middle of severe thunderstorms and fierce crosswinds. The 139 passengers aboard can tell the plane is flying into trouble. So can the pilots, yet they attempt to land anyway. The MD-82 ends up skidding off the wet runway, down an embankment, and breaking apart, killing 11 people, including the captain. Investigators must determine why the crew decided to attempt such a hazardous landing instead of diverting to another airport.
9 Fire on Board
September 2, 1998. Swissair Flight 111 leaves New York's JFK Airport for Geneva, Switzerland. Less than an hour into the flight, the pilots smell smoke and prepare for an emergency landing in Halifax. But minutes later, an inferno erupts in the cockpit, sending the MD-11 into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 229 on board. Witness the flight's final moments, then follow the largest disaster investigation in Canada's history-a four and a half years, $40 million inquiry-to uncover why such a highly reliable plane suddenly burst into flames.
10 Cutting Corners
Alaska Airlines Flight 261 takes off from Puerto Vallarta en route to San Francisco. Almost immediately, the pilots realize they're in trouble; a jammed stabilizer in the plane's tail is forcing the aircraft's nose down. It takes all the crew's strength to manually steer their MD-83 towards LAX for an emergency landing…but they never make it. An investigation into the crash quickly reveals a shocking chain of negligence and error, revealing deeply worrying shortcomings in maintenance and regulation that afflict the airline industry.

About this show

Harrowing stories of tragedy and triumph in the sky are brought to life through official reports and interviews with flight crews, investigators, and lucky survivors of history's most terrifying crashes. Widely considered to be the safest form of travel, air transportation is still in its infancy and when midair calamity strikes, the results are often catastrophic. From the cockpit to the cabin, from the control room to the crash scene, we uncover what went wrong, then reveal what's been done to ensure these atrocities never happen again.
366 reviews
Linda Alcorn
May 6, 2019
It amazes me how the investigators can find what went wrong and from charred pieces and tangled wires.The one that floored me the most was a small charter that went down over water in a flight that lasts 8 minutes How they found out what brought the plane down. Part of me feels guilty that I enjoy watching this show. There's times the plane seems doomed, and somehow with the flight crew working together, saves the plane and most importantly the passengers.
9 people found this review helpful
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Monito Power
August 2, 2015
True events, real people. A docu-drama made to simulate the point where you're in a plane crash! And how it can save you too. Fasten Your seatbelt and get ready for season 6! Don't forget about "Air Crash Investigation"! Hopefully they'll come to America but we have this! So prepare for landing and brace for impact!
4 people found this review helpful
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Jackie Nichols
May 16, 2022
Me encanta cómo los investigadores siempre hacen cambios después de una investigación para evitar que vuelva a ocurrir un accidente. Incluso si descubren que un accidente fue un error humano, intentan cambiar las cosas para que sea aún más difícil que alguien vuelva a cometer el mismo error. En realidad, es bastante reconfortante, y desearía que todas las industrias funcionaran de esta manera.
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