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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

The Final Blow

S02, E09  (First Aired: Aug. 12, 2012)
An Air Inter flight crashes into the Vosges Mountains while attempting to land killing most of the 96 passengers.
  • Fri 9/30
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
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Cleared for Disaster

S02, E10  (First Aired: Aug. 19, 2012)
An air traffic controller's mistake causes a Boeing 737 to land on a runway already occupied by another aircraft.
  • Fri 9/30
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
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The Invisible Plane

S03, E08  (First Aired: Apr. 21, 2013)
SAS Flight 686 takes off from Milan's Linate Airport and moments later collides with a Cessna on the runway.
  • Sat 10/1
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Hockey Team Tragedy

S04, E09  (First Aired: Aug. 3, 2014)
The plane crash that wiped out one of Russia's most popular hockey teams.
  • Sun 10/2
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
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Kid in the Cockpit

(First Aired: Feb. 28, 2016)
A pilot's decision to let his 15-year-old son fly has disastrous consequences on a commercial flight.
  • Sun 10/2
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
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Vertigo

NEW
An examination of the crash over the Red Sea in January 2004.
  • Sun 10/2
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
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  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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  • Mon 10/3
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
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Bad Attitude

S03, E09  (First Aired: Apr. 28, 2013)
Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509 crashes shortly after take off from London Stansted Airport on December 22, 1999.
  • Mon 10/3
  • 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • 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 10/4
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

The Invisible Plane

S03, E08  (First Aired: Apr. 21, 2013)
SAS Flight 686 takes off from Milan's Linate Airport and moments later collides with a Cessna on the runway.
  • Tue 10/4
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  •  
  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Bad Attitude

S03, E09  (First Aired: Apr. 28, 2013)
Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509 crashes shortly after take off from London Stansted Airport on December 22, 1999.
  • Wed 10/5
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

The Plane That Flew Too High

S02, E11  (First Aired: Aug. 26, 2012)
West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 crashes down killing 160 people in 2005 ultimately leading to the bankruptcy of the troubled airline.
  • Thu 10/6
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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Deadly Reputation

S02, E12  (First Aired: Sep. 2, 2012)
On July 17, 2007, TAM Airlines Flight 3054 slides off runway 35L at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, Brazil, and crashes at high speed into a warehouse adjacent to a petrol station killing nearly 200 people.
  • Thu 10/6
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Bad Attitude

S03, E09  (First Aired: Apr. 28, 2013)
Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509 crashes shortly after take off from London Stansted Airport on December 22, 1999.
  • Thu 10/6
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Vertigo

(First Aired: Oct. 2, 2016)
An examination of the crash over the Red Sea in January 2004.
  • Thu 10/6
  • 9:00PM-10:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  • Fri 10/7
  • 12:00AM-1:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  •  
  • 11:00AM-12:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

The Plane That Flew Too High

S02, E11  (First Aired: Aug. 26, 2012)
West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 crashes down killing 160 people in 2005 ultimately leading to the bankruptcy of the troubled airline.
  • Fri 10/7
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Deadly Reputation

S02, E12  (First Aired: Sep. 2, 2012)
On July 17, 2007, TAM Airlines Flight 3054 slides off runway 35L at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, Brazil, and crashes at high speed into a warehouse adjacent to a petrol station killing nearly 200 people.
  • Fri 10/7
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Bad Attitude

S03, E09  (First Aired: Apr. 28, 2013)
Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509 crashes shortly after take off from London Stansted Airport on December 22, 1999.
  • Sat 10/8
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Vertigo

(First Aired: Oct. 2, 2016)
An examination of the crash over the Red Sea in January 2004.
  • Sat 10/8
  • 10:00PM-11:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  • Sun 10/9
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  •  
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Split Decision

S03, E10  (First Aired: May. 5, 2013)
Arrow Air Flight 1285 with 248 American soldiers on board crashes seconds after refueling in Newfoundland.
  • Mon 10/10
  • 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Bad Attitude

S03, E09  (First Aired: Apr. 28, 2013)
Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509 crashes shortly after take off from London Stansted Airport on December 22, 1999.
  • Tue 10/11
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  •  
  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Split Decision

S03, E10  (First Aired: May. 5, 2013)
Arrow Air Flight 1285 with 248 American soldiers on board crashes seconds after refueling in Newfoundland.
  • Wed 10/12
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Blind Spot

S03, E01  (First Aired: Mar. 3, 2013)
In 1978, PSA Flight 182 collides with a Cessna and crashes into a San Diego residential area killing everyone on both planes and seven people on the ground.
  • Thu 10/13
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Mayday Munich

S03, E02  (First Aired: Mar. 10, 2013)
A plane with members of the Manchester United football team crashes while heading home from Yugoslavia, killing 23 aboard.
  • Thu 10/13
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Split Decision

S03, E10  (First Aired: May. 5, 2013)
Arrow Air Flight 1285 with 248 American soldiers on board crashes seconds after refueling in Newfoundland.
  • Thu 10/13
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD