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Air Disasters

Cast of 'Air Disasters'

  • Bill Ratner

Air Disasters

Statistically, traveling by airplane is safer than driving and other forms of transportation, but when something goes wrong during a flight, it can be catastrophic with potentially hundreds of lives at stake. This series examines some of the world's worst air disasters, using official reports, transcripts and interviews with people involved to tell the stories of midair mishaps and discover what went wrong in each case. Episodes include a discussion of how the weather affects flights -- including stories of aviation disasters and near-misses -- and a New Year's Eve flight that fell from the sky into the Florida Everglades.

Premiere:
May 15, 2011
Original Network:
Smithsonian HD Network
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All Upcoming Times for Air Disasters

Episode Air Date Channel

Hanging By a Thread

S04, E16  (First Aired: Sep. 13, 2015)
A roof tears off a plane at 24,000 feet in the sky of an Aloha Airlines 737.
  • Sat 8/19
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Nowhere to Land

S03, E11  (First Aired: May. 12, 2013)
Pilots of TACA Flight 110 make a remarkable landing on a narrow levee, but investigators must find out why the engines in a brand new plane failed.
  • Mon 8/21
  • 8:00AM-9:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Attack Over Baghdad

S04, E15  (First Aired: Sep. 6, 2015)
A surface-to-air missile cripples a cargo plane after it takes off from Baghdad International Airport.
  • Mon 8/21
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Fire Fight

S05, E15  (First Aired: Mar. 27, 2016)
A mechanical problem aboard an Air Canada plane turns into an all-out emergency six miles in the air.
  • Tue 8/22
  • 4:00PM-5:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Missed Approach

S05, E16  (First Aired: Apr. 3, 2016)
A plane crash lands in Guam after losing sight of the airport in a storm.
  • Tue 8/22
  • 5:00PM-6:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Vertigo

(First Aired: Oct. 2, 2016)
An examination of the crash over the Red Sea in January 2004.
  • Tue 8/22
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
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  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Fire Fight

S05, E15  (First Aired: Mar. 27, 2016)
A mechanical problem aboard an Air Canada plane turns into an all-out emergency six miles in the air.
  • Wed 8/23
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Missed Approach

S05, E16  (First Aired: Apr. 3, 2016)
A plane crash lands in Guam after losing sight of the airport in a storm.
  • Wed 8/23
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Nowhere to Land

S03, E11  (First Aired: May. 12, 2013)
Pilots of TACA Flight 110 make a remarkable landing on a narrow levee, but investigators must find out why the engines in a brand new plane failed.
  • Wed 8/23
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Subtle Incapacitation

S04, E11  (First Aired: Aug. 17, 2014)
The 2010 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 sparks rumors of terrorism.
  • Thu 8/24
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Seconds to Survive

S04, E12  (First Aired: Aug. 24, 2014)
Santa Barbara Airlines Flight 518 disappears in the Andes Mountains.
  • Thu 8/24
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Titanic in the Sky

S05, E11  (First Aired: Sep. 20, 2015)
An emergency landing is forced by pilots after an engine explodes.
  • Thu 8/24
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Grand Canyon

S04, E06  (First Aired: Jun. 8, 2014)
The 1956 midair collision between two commercial planes over the Grand Canyon.
  • Thu 8/24
  • 2:00PM-3:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Subtle Incapacitation

S04, E11  (First Aired: Aug. 17, 2014)
The 2010 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 sparks rumors of terrorism.
  • Fri 8/25
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Seconds to Survive

S04, E12  (First Aired: Aug. 24, 2014)
Santa Barbara Airlines Flight 518 disappears in the Andes Mountains.
  • Fri 8/25
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Nowhere to Land

S03, E11  (First Aired: May. 12, 2013)
Pilots of TACA Flight 110 make a remarkable landing on a narrow levee, but investigators must find out why the engines in a brand new plane failed.
  • Sat 8/26
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Attack Over Baghdad

S04, E15  (First Aired: Sep. 6, 2015)
A surface-to-air missile cripples a cargo plane after it takes off from Baghdad International Airport.
  • Sat 8/26
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Fight for Control

S04, E01  (First Aired: Apr. 27, 2014)
The emergency landing of a Reeve Aleutian Airlines plane over the Pacific Ocean.
  • Mon 8/28
  • 8:00AM-9:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Fire in the Hold

S04, E02  (First Aired: May. 4, 2014)
A plane crash into the alligator-infested Florida Everglades.
  • Mon 8/28
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Hidden Danger

S05, E17  (First Aired: Apr. 10, 2016)
After getting lost in a storm, a plane crash-lands in Guam.
  • Tue 8/29
  • 4:00PM-5:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Panic Over the Pacific

S05, E18  (First Aired: Apr. 17, 2016)
A miraculous rescue is launched after a 747 plummets toward the Pacific.
  • Tue 8/29
  • 5:00PM-6:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Ghost Plane

(First Aired: Jun. 28, 2007)
Investigators try to solve the mystery of a plane whose captain and co-pilot are missing.
  • Tue 8/29
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  •  
  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Hidden Danger

S05, E17  (First Aired: Apr. 10, 2016)
After getting lost in a storm, a plane crash-lands in Guam.
  • Wed 8/30
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Panic Over the Pacific

S05, E18  (First Aired: Apr. 17, 2016)
A miraculous rescue is launched after a 747 plummets toward the Pacific.
  • Wed 8/30
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Fight for Control

S04, E01  (First Aired: Apr. 27, 2014)
The emergency landing of a Reeve Aleutian Airlines plane over the Pacific Ocean.
  • Wed 8/30
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Vanished

S04, E13  (First Aired: Aug. 31, 2014)
Air France Flight 447 vanishes over the Atlantic in 2009.
  • Thu 8/31
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Fight to the Death

S05, E01  (First Aired: Feb. 8, 2015)
A poisonous cockpit may have caused the 1972 crash of British European Airlines Flight 548.
  • Thu 8/31
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Hanging By a Thread

S04, E16  (First Aired: Sep. 13, 2015)
A roof tears off a plane at 24,000 feet in the sky of an Aloha Airlines 737.
  • Thu 8/31
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Vanished

S04, E13  (First Aired: Aug. 31, 2014)
Air France Flight 447 vanishes over the Atlantic in 2009.
  • Fri 9/1
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Fight to the Death

S05, E01  (First Aired: Feb. 8, 2015)
A poisonous cockpit may have caused the 1972 crash of British European Airlines Flight 548.
  • Fri 9/1
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Fight for Control

S04, E01  (First Aired: Apr. 27, 2014)
The emergency landing of a Reeve Aleutian Airlines plane over the Pacific Ocean.
  • Sat 9/2
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Fire in the Hold

S04, E02  (First Aired: May. 4, 2014)
A plane crash into the alligator-infested Florida Everglades.
  • Sat 9/2
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD