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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

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.
  • Tue 5/24
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
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  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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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.
  • Wed 5/25
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
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Focused on Failure

S04, E08  (First Aired: Jul. 27, 2014)
A DC-8's four engines flame out just miles from its destination.
  • Thu 5/26
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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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 5/26
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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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 5/26
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 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 5/27
  • 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.
  • Fri 5/27
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
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  • Sun 5/29
  • 10:00PM-11:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
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  • Mon 5/30
  • 1:00AM-2:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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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 5/30
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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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.
  • Mon 5/30
  • 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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  • Tue 5/31
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
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  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
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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.
  • Wed 6/1
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 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 6/2
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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Subtle Incapacitation

S04, E11  (First Aired: Aug. 17, 2014)
The 2010 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 sparks rumors of terrorism.
  • Thu 6/2
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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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.
  • Thu 6/2
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Hidden Danger

S05, E17  (First Aired: Apr. 10, 2016)
After getting lost in a storm, a plane crash-lands in Guam.
  • Thu 6/2
  • 5:00PM-6:00PM
  • 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.
  • Fri 6/3
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
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Subtle Incapacitation

S04, E11  (First Aired: Aug. 17, 2014)
The 2010 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 sparks rumors of terrorism.
  • Fri 6/3
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Vanished

S04, E13  (First Aired: Aug. 31, 2014)
Air France Flight 447 vanishes over the Atlantic in 2009.
  • Sun 6/5
  • 10:00PM-11:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
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  • Mon 6/6
  • 1:00AM-2:00AM
  • 163
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Out of Control

S04, E14  (First Aired: Aug. 30, 2015)
A simple error years prior causes the deadliest single-plane crash in history.
  • Mon 6/6
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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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.
  • Mon 6/6
  • 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
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