Air Disasters

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Season 5 episodes (11)

1 Fight to the Death
What caused BEA Flight 548 to suddenly drop from the sky and crash to Earth, killing all 118 people aboard? When weather and engine failure are ruled out, examiners from Britain's Accidents Investigation Branch turn their attention to the flight's crew. Unfortunately, it's 1972, a time when cockpit voice recorders were not required, leaving the AIB team little to work with. See how they finally solved this puzzle, and how a rift between the flight's captain and his young crew may have played a lethal role in this tragic accident.
2 Speed Trap
Just moments after taking off from Los Angeles International Airport, Hughes Airwest Flight 706 suddenly disappears from radar. Soon after, the military reports that an F-4 Phantom fighter jet is also missing from nearby El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Fears of a midair collision are quickly confirmed, raising two key questions: Who hit whom, and why? Join the 1971 investigation and see how this preventable accident led to important changes to the rules of governing aviation, for both commercial and military air traffic.
3 Lost in Translation
A flap malfunction. Cell phone interference. A language barrier. A drug-impaired pilot. Something forced Crossair Flight 498 to crash quickly after takeoff, but what? Examiners at the Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau have plenty of leads, but few concrete answers. Join their attempts to piece together the charred fragments of the catastrophe that claimed the lives of all aboard. Then follow the investigation to Russia, where a cluster of accidents bearing an eerie similarity to Crossair may help them finally solve this puzzling case.
4 Tragedy on the Potomac
Washington's National Airport and Air Florida made national news in the winter of 1982 when Flight 90 plunged into the Potomac River just after takeoff. News cameras at the scene captured the horror and the heroism as survivors struggled to stay alive in frozen waters. Witness the breathtaking video of the rescue efforts as we relive the disaster that claimed 78 lives. Then follow the investigation into why the Boeing 737 failed to take off, an examination that would serve as a wake-up call about the risks of winter flights.
5 Queens Catastrophe
On a Monday morning in November 2001, a passenger plane slams into a neighborhood in Queens, NY. A community, still in shock over the events of 9/11, is plunged back into panic and chaos. Was it another terrorist attack, a case of pilot error, or does the popular Airbus A300 have a fatal design flaw? Follow FBI and NTSB agents in their joint examination of one of the worst air disasters in U.S. history, one that left 265 people dead, a nation in the grip of fear, and investigators scrambling for answers.
6 Into the Eye of the Storm
They're called hurricane hunters, research scientists who head straight into killer storms to collect valuable data that will ultimately save lives. In 1989, however, it's the scientists' own lives that are in peril after they enter one of the most violent forces of nature of all time: Hurricane Hugo. Relive their harrowing battle against this category 5 monster and the efforts to keep NOAA 42 in the air as it's ripped apart by a raging storm growing stronger by the minute.
7 Massacre Over the Mediterranean
Italy is stunned when Itavia Flight 870 plunges into the Mediterranean Sea, killing everyone aboard...but there are more shocks to come. A mysterious call to an Italian journalist claims the disaster was the result of a warplane missile, an accusation that will throw the investigation into turmoil. Decide for yourself what took down the commercial DC-9 on June 27, 1980 as we track three inquiries over three decades, each in search of one valid explanation for this explosive disaster.
8 Imperfect Pitch
It's supposed to be a simple in-flight test for one of the world's most popular passenger planes, but something has gone terribly wrong. During one maneuver the XL Airways Germany Airbus A320 suddenly pitches up, loses lift, then crashes into the sea, killing all aboard. What happened? Did the pilots push the commercial airliner too far, or did the plane's automated computer systems somehow cause the deadly spiral? Follow investigators as they search for the wreckage and for the reasons why this high-tech aircraft failed so spectacularly.
9 Getting Out Alive
Is it safer to sit in the front of the plane or in the back? Should you wear natural or synthetic clothing when flying? When should you activate your floatation device if you crash at sea? Learn the secrets of air disaster survival as we examine some of aviation history's most remarkable emergency landings and evacuations. First, hear from flight crews and passengers who made it out alive. Then enter a high-tech simulator for a behind-the-scenes look at how cabin crews are trained to become survivor experts.
10 Terror in Paradise
Air Moorea specializes in short flights, providing a vital link between the islands of French Polynesia. It's just a seven-minute hop to Tahiti, but two minutes after takeoff, Flight 1121 falls into a steep dive into the ocean, killing all 20 people on board. Examiners have no idea what happened, until the cockpit voice recorder reveals a sudden cry of alarm that leads them to a remarkable discovery. Relive the crash and the investigation that raised awareness about a hidden threat lurking at commercial airports all over the world.
11 Titanic in the Sky
November 4th, 2010. A massive Airbus A380 lifts off from Singapore, en route to Australia. Four minutes into the flight, one of its engines explodes, and things are about to get even worse. An avalanche of system failure warnings flood the cockpit. Pilots are baffled, but there's no time for hesitation. 440 passengers are in danger and they must return to Changi Airport immediately. This is story of Qantas Flight 32 and the investigation to determine why one of the world's most innovative planes failed so spectacularly.

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.

Ratings and reviews

365 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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