25 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

Air Disasters - S5E11

#1 - Titanic in the Sky


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 from 2 votes.

Air Disasters - S13E9

#2 - Soccer Tragedy


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 from 2 votes.

Air Disasters - S2E2

#3 - Target is Destroyed


Season 2 - Episode 2

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

The episode was rated from 5 votes.

Air Disasters - S6E6

#4 - Mistaken Identity


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 from 3 votes.

Air Disasters - S9E6

#5 - Carnage in Sao Paolo


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 from 3 votes.

Air Disasters - S4E1
#6 - Fight for Control
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 from 8 votes.
Air Disasters - S3E2
#7 - Mayday Munich
Season 3 - Episode 2

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

The episode was rated from 4 votes.
#8 - Cleared for Disaster
Season 2 - Episode 10

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

The episode was rated from 5 votes.
#9 - Fight for Your Life
Season 6 - Episode 4

FedEx employees fend off an attack by a coworker.

The episode was rated from 2 votes.
#10 - Communication Breakdown
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 from 1 votes.

Last updated: jun 14, 2021

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