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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

Massacre Over The Mediterranean

S05, E07  (First Aired: Mar. 22, 2015)
An Italian passenger plane is blown out of the sky.
  • Thu 12/8
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
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Blind Landing

S04, E05  (First Aired: Jun. 1, 2014)
After a violent hailstorm brings down a plane in the middle of the Amazon, the investigation is compromised by local villagers.
  • Fri 12/9
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
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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.
  • Fri 12/9
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
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Massacre Over The Mediterranean

S05, E07  (First Aired: Mar. 22, 2015)
An Italian passenger plane is blown out of the sky.
  • Sat 12/10
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 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.
  • Sat 12/10
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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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.
  • Mon 12/12
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Imperfect Pitch

S05, E08  (First Aired: Mar. 29, 2015)
A passenger plane plunges into the sea during an in-flight test.
  • Mon 12/12
  • 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Catastrophe at O'Hare

S04, E07  (First Aired: Jul. 20, 2014)
The 1979 crash in Chicago nearly grounded DC-10's forever.
  • Tue 12/13
  • 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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Imperfect Pitch

S05, E08  (First Aired: Mar. 29, 2015)
A passenger plane plunges into the sea during an in-flight test.
  • Wed 12/14
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Catastrophe at O'Hare

S04, E07  (First Aired: Jul. 20, 2014)
The 1979 crash in Chicago nearly grounded DC-10's forever.
  • Thu 12/15
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Focused on Failure

S04, E08  (First Aired: Jul. 27, 2014)
A DC-8's four engines flame out just miles from its destination.
  • Thu 12/15
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Imperfect Pitch

S05, E08  (First Aired: Mar. 29, 2015)
A passenger plane plunges into the sea during an in-flight test.
  • Thu 12/15
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Catastrophe at O'Hare

S04, E07  (First Aired: Jul. 20, 2014)
The 1979 crash in Chicago nearly grounded DC-10's forever.
  • Fri 12/16
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Focused on Failure

S04, E08  (First Aired: Jul. 27, 2014)
A DC-8's four engines flame out just miles from its destination.
  • Fri 12/16
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Imperfect Pitch

S05, E08  (First Aired: Mar. 29, 2015)
A passenger plane plunges into the sea during an in-flight test.
  • Sat 12/17
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 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.
  • Sat 12/17
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

I'm the Problem

S03, E03  (First Aired: Mar. 17, 2013)
Moments before Pacific Southwest Flight 1771 crashes on a cattle ranch in California, gunshots are heard in the cabin.
  • Mon 12/19
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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Getting Out Alive

S05, E09  (First Aired: Apr. 5, 2015)
Air accident survival stories; keeping passengers and crews alive when disaster strikes.
  • Mon 12/19
  • 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Focused on Failure

S04, E08  (First Aired: Jul. 27, 2014)
A DC-8's four engines flame out just miles from its destination.
  • Tue 12/20
  • 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

Getting Out Alive

S05, E09  (First Aired: Apr. 5, 2015)
Air accident survival stories; keeping passengers and crews alive when disaster strikes.
  • Wed 12/21
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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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.
  • Thu 12/22
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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Death of the President

S04, E10  (First Aired: Aug. 10, 2014)
The air disaster that claimed the President of Poland's life, Lech Kaczynski.
  • Thu 12/22
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 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 12/22
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD