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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

Impossible Landing

S03, E04  (First Aired: Mar. 24, 2013)
A shocking look at the fate of United Airlines Flight 232 which crashed into Sioux City's runway in 1989 causing a subsequent explosion that left 111 people dead.
  • Tue 8/30
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  •  
  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Cracks in the System

S02, E01  (First Aired: Jun. 17, 2012)
Chalk's Ocean Airways flight 101 crashes just after take-off from Watson Island in Miami on December 19, 2005, killing 20 people.
  • Wed 8/31
  • 6:00AM-7:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Terror in Paradise

S05, E10  (First Aired: Apr. 12, 2015)
A seven-minute island-hop from Moorea to Tahiti ends in disaster.
  • Wed 8/31
  • 7:00AM-8:00AM
  • 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 8/31
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Cracks in the System

S02, E01  (First Aired: Jun. 17, 2012)
Chalk's Ocean Airways flight 101 crashes just after take-off from Watson Island in Miami on December 19, 2005, killing 20 people.
  • Thu 9/1
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Target is Destroyed

S02, E02  (First Aired: Jun. 24, 2012)
During the Cold War, Korean Air Lines Flight 007 is shot down by a fighter jet when it violates Soviet airspace.
  • Thu 9/1
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 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.
  • Thu 9/1
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Cracks in the System

S02, E01  (First Aired: Jun. 17, 2012)
Chalk's Ocean Airways flight 101 crashes just after take-off from Watson Island in Miami on December 19, 2005, killing 20 people.
  • Fri 9/2
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Target is Destroyed

S02, E02  (First Aired: Jun. 24, 2012)
During the Cold War, Korean Air Lines Flight 007 is shot down by a fighter jet when it violates Soviet airspace.
  • Fri 9/2
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Impossible Landing

S03, E04  (First Aired: Mar. 24, 2013)
A shocking look at the fate of United Airlines Flight 232 which crashed into Sioux City's runway in 1989 causing a subsequent explosion that left 111 people dead.
  • Sat 9/3
  • 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.
  • Mon 9/5
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Turning Point

S03, E05  (First Aired: Mar. 31, 2013)
A Northwest Airlines flight cruises above the Bering Sea before problems develop and pilots must make an emergency landing in Anchorage.
  • Mon 9/5
  • 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  • Tue 9/6
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  •  
  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 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 9/7
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Cruel Skies

S02, E03  (First Aired: Jul. 1, 2012)
The U.S. Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City, Mo., and the importance of accurate weather forecasting to the aviation industry.
  • Thu 9/8
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Panic on the Runway

S02, E04  (First Aired: Jul. 8, 2012)
On August 22nd, 1985, 55 people died aboard British Airtours flight 28M when its engine catches fire as it accelerates.
  • Thu 9/8
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 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.
  • Thu 9/8
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Terror in Paradise

S05, E10  (First Aired: Apr. 12, 2015)
A seven-minute island-hop from Moorea to Tahiti ends in disaster.
  • Thu 9/8
  • 2:00PM-3:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Getting Out Alive

S05, E09  (First Aired: Apr. 5, 2015)
Air accident survival stories; keeping passengers and crews alive when disaster strikes.
  • Thu 9/8
  • 3:00PM-4:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Cruel Skies

S02, E03  (First Aired: Jul. 1, 2012)
The U.S. Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City, Mo., and the importance of accurate weather forecasting to the aviation industry.
  • Fri 9/9
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Panic on the Runway

S02, E04  (First Aired: Jul. 8, 2012)
On August 22nd, 1985, 55 people died aboard British Airtours flight 28M when its engine catches fire as it accelerates.
  • Fri 9/9
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Turning Point

S03, E05  (First Aired: Mar. 31, 2013)
A Northwest Airlines flight cruises above the Bering Sea before problems develop and pilots must make an emergency landing in Anchorage.
  • Sat 9/10
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Cracks in the System

S02, E01  (First Aired: Jun. 17, 2012)
Chalk's Ocean Airways flight 101 crashes just after take-off from Watson Island in Miami on December 19, 2005, killing 20 people.
  • Mon 9/12
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Break up Over Texas

S03, E06  (First Aired: Apr. 7, 2013)
Near the end of its flight, Continental Express Flight 2574 suffers wing damage and goes into a dive falling out of the sky.
  • Mon 9/12
  • 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD