8.1
24 votes
Air Disasters

Air Disasters

Smithsonian Channel 2011

Harrowing stories of tragedy and triumph are brought to life through official reports, transcripts and interviews with the pilots, air traffic controllers 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 just what went wrong.

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The 10 Best Episodes of Air Disasters

#1 - Titanic in the Sky

9.00

Season 5 - Episode 11

The world's largest commercial airliner is coming apart in midair. Fortunately, the pilots are keeping it all together. The story of Qantas Flight 32, a 2010 passenger flight from London to Sydney, Australia. After taking off from Singapore's Changi Airport for the second leg of its flight, an engine exploded, forcing the crew to return to Changi Airport and attempt an emergency landing.

The episode was rated #1 Best episode of Air Disasters from 2 votes.

#2 - Soccer Tragedy

8.50

Season 13 - Episode 9

LaMia Flight 2933, carrying Brazil's Chapecoense soccer team, is approaching Medellin, Colombia to play for the prestigious Copa Sudamericana championship when its crew suddenly declares a fuel emergency. Before air traffic control can clear a path, the plane loses power and crashes to the ground, killing all but seven passengers. Investigators discover no leaks and are mystified over how the experienced pilots could fly a plane with an insufficient amount of fuel. As they pore over the evidence, they ultimately uncover a deadly gamble.

The episode was rated #2 Best episode of Air Disasters from 2 votes.

#3 - Target is Destroyed

8.40

Season 2 - Episode 2

Korean Airlines Flight 007 is shot down by a fighter jet when it enters Soviet airspace.

The episode was rated #3 Best episode of Air Disasters from 5 votes.

#4 - Mistaken Identity

8.33

Season 6 - Episode 6

A Navy cruiser in the Persian Gulf must determine if an incoming plane is friend or foe.

The episode was rated #4 Best episode of Air Disasters from 3 votes.

#5 - Carnage in Sao Paolo

8.33

Season 9 - Episode 6

Not far from Congonhas Airport, a Sao Paulo neighborhood is in flames. It's a scene of devastation caused by TAM Airlines Flight 3054, a plane that crashed just seconds after takeoff in July 2007. With a shocked nation watching, investigators from the Brazilian Air Force join forces with the National Transportation Safety Board to learn what happened. After combing through more than a hundred parameters in search of a lead, they determine a series of malfunctions caused the accident, coupled with a mechanical failure so rare that pilots had received no training for it.

The episode was rated #5 Best episode of Air Disasters from 3 votes.

Air Disasters - S4E1

#6 - Fight for Control

8.25

Season 4 - Episode 1

The Lockheed Electra was the workhorse of Reeve Aleutian Airways, one of the few links from Cold Bay, Alaska, to the outside world. But on June 8, 1983, the plane nearly plunged 19,000 feet into the Pacific Ocean after one of its propellers tore from the aircraft and cut a hole through the cabin. Join us as we document this incredible story of survival, from the cockpit to the cabin, with witness accounts, official records, and dramatic recreations.

The episode was rated #6 Best episode of Air Disasters from 8 votes.

Air Disasters - S3E2

#7 - Mayday Munich

8.25

Season 3 - Episode 2

Manchester United football team's plane crashes while returning from Yugoslavia, killing 23 aboard.

The episode was rated #7 Best episode of Air Disasters from 4 votes.

#8 - Cleared for Disaster

8.20

Season 2 - Episode 10

An air traffic controller's mistake causes two planes to collide on the runway.

The episode was rated #8 Best episode of Air Disasters from 5 votes.

#9 - Fight for Your Life

8.00

Season 6 - Episode 4

FedEx employees fend off an attack by a coworker.

The episode was rated #9 Best episode of Air Disasters from 2 votes.

#10 - Communication Breakdown

8.00

Season 14 - Episode 1

Some of the deadliest air disasters in history have been caused by simple miscommunications. A tiny error in the cockpit brings tragedy to Quincy Airport in Illinois. A moment of confusion turns a routine flight in Sumatra into chaos. And a runway mix-up on the island of Tenerife sends two jumbo jets on a collision course. Watch these disasters unfold and see how safety investigators responded to prevent human misunderstandings from triggering future catastrophes.

The episode was rated #10 Best episode of Air Disasters from 1 votes.

#11 - Fatal Friction
8.00
Season 14 - Episode 2

Passengers place their lives in the hands of pilots on every flight. While pilots are highly trained to handle a wide variety of emergencies, it is often personal problems like impatience, arrogance, and incompetence that can lead to tragedy. Witness three air disasters caused by human flaws and tension in the cockpit, including the 1972 crash of a British Trident, a Minnesota commuter plane that slammed into a hillside, and a Colorado flight doomed by a hungover captain.

The episode was rated #1 Best episode of Air Disasters from 1 votes.

#12 - Hero Pilots
8.00
Season 14 - Episode 3

An airliner leaving LaGuardia Airport in New York is crippled after flying through a flock of birds. A Canadian flight crew faces disaster when their Boeing 767 loses power and becomes a very large and heavy glider. A violent thunderstorm wreaks havoc on a Boeing 737 flying over the Gulf of Mexico. These three crises would have led to fatal accidents if it weren't for the heroic efforts of the pilots in the cockpit. Witness some of the most remarkable landings in the history of commercial aviation and meet the pilots who pulled them off.

The episode was rated #2 Best episode of Air Disasters from 1 votes.

#13 - Explosive Clues
8.00
Season 14 - Episode 5

When civilian airliners explode in the sky, rumors involving terrorist plots and enemy acts often follow. It's up to investigators to gather the evidence they need to determine if they are examining a plane crash or a crime scene. Three commercial flights became targets over the Sinai Desert, the Sea of Japan, and a combat zone in Eastern Ukraine. See the impact these crashes had on the world and the changes they triggered in the aviation industry.

The episode was rated #3 Best episode of Air Disasters from 1 votes.

#14 - Killer In The Cockpit?
8.00
Season 14 - Episode 6

A 737 cruising above an Indonesian jungle suddenly plummets from the sky. An Airbus A320 crashes into the French Alps. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanishes over the Gulf of Thailand. At first, these accidents perplex investigators, until surprising findings suggest the pilots could be to blame. See how these acts forced the industry to be more proactive in monitoring the mental health of their pilots.

The episode was rated #4 Best episode of Air Disasters from 1 votes.

#15 - Missing Pieces
8.00
Season 14 - Episode 7

When a flight ends in disaster, investigators must determine what, and sometimes who, caused the accident. Some cases are easy to solve, but others require unrelenting diligence and Sherlock Holmes-level powers of deduction. See what it took to solve three plane crashes that stumped examiners, one in the Florida Everglades, another in the small Scottish village of Lockerbie, and a miracle emergency landing at London's Heathrow Airport.

The episode was rated #5 Best episode of Air Disasters from 1 votes.

#16 - Deadly Disturbance
8.00
Season 14 - Episode 9

From takeoff to landing, pilots face countless tasks, each one of vital importance. Any distraction, no matter how minor, can turn a routine flight into a disaster. Revisit three tragedies caused by diversions in the cockpit, including a casual conversation that led to a fiery accident in Dallas-Fort Worth, an attempt to fix a failed indicator light that sent a plane into the Florida Everglades, and a demonstration that led a brand new Russian Sukhoi Superjet into a mountain south of Jakarta.

The episode was rated #6 Best episode of Air Disasters from 1 votes.

#17 - Fire on Board
8.00
Season 14 - Episode 10

When a fire breaks out on a plane, an emergency situation can escalate to a deadly disaster in seconds. In Manchester, a holiday flight bursts into flames before leaving the runway. A joyous return home to Nigeria from Saudi Arabia turns tragic when smoke overtakes the aircraft. And small batteries in the cargo hold create a massive blaze aboard a UPS jet. Revisit the final moments of these tragic flights and see how the crashes led to major changes in the aviation industry to make flying safer.

The episode was rated #7 Best episode of Air Disasters from 1 votes.

Air Disasters - S4E8
#18 - Focused on Failure
8.00
Season 4 - Episode 8

Just minutes before touching down in Portland International Airport, all four engines of a DC-8 mysteriously flame out. With the aircraft dropping 3,000 feet per minute, the pilots realize they have no option but to crash land in the middle of a major American city. Witness the harrowing emergency landing of United Airlines Flight 173 in Portland, Oregon, and uncover the shocking reasons for its massive engine failure.

The episode was rated #8 Best episode of Air Disasters from 9 votes.

#19 - Dead Weight
8.00
Season 1 - Episode 5

Just after take-off, Air Midwest Flight 5481 plummets to the ground, killing all on board.

The episode was rated #9 Best episode of Air Disasters from 4 votes.

#20 - Phantom Strike
8.00
Season 1 - Episode 10

A Legacy business jet collides with a Boeing 737 in mid-air over the Amazon Rain Forest.

The episode was rated #10 Best episode of Air Disasters from 1 votes.

Last updated: nov 20, 2020

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A little about me ๐Ÿ‘‹ I am a marketing student in Paris. I love spending afternoons with friends in a cafe or a park.

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