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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

Into the Eye of the Storm

S05, E06  (First Aired: Mar. 15, 2015)
Hugo, a Category 5 hurricane, threatens to rip a plane apart.
  • Sun 6/26
  • 10:00PM-11:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  • Mon 6/27
  • 1:00AM-2:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Mistaken Identity

(First Aired: Aug. 9, 2015)
The captain of a Navy cruiser must quickly determine if an approaching plane is friendly.
  • Mon 6/27
  • 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Pilot vs. Plane

S02, E07  (First Aired: Jul. 29, 2012)
Air France Flight 296 fails to regain altitude after performing a flyby during an air show at Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport.
  • Mon 6/27
  • 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • 163
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD
  • Tue 6/28
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
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  • 780
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  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Mistaken Identity

(First Aired: Aug. 9, 2015)
The captain of a Navy cruiser must quickly determine if an approaching plane is friendly.
  • Wed 6/29
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Queens Catastrophe

S05, E05  (First Aired: Mar. 8, 2015)
A plane crash in New York just two months after 9/11.
  • Thu 6/30
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Into the Eye of the Storm

S05, E06  (First Aired: Mar. 15, 2015)
Hugo, a Category 5 hurricane, threatens to rip a plane apart.
  • Thu 6/30
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Mistaken Identity

(First Aired: Aug. 9, 2015)
The captain of a Navy cruiser must quickly determine if an approaching plane is friendly.
  • Thu 6/30
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Helicopter Down

(First Aired: Feb. 14, 2016)
A helicopter carrying oil workers to an offshore drilling platform crashes.
  • Thu 6/30
  • 5:00PM-6:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Queens Catastrophe

S05, E05  (First Aired: Mar. 8, 2015)
A plane crash in New York just two months after 9/11.
  • Fri 7/1
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Into the Eye of the Storm

S05, E06  (First Aired: Mar. 15, 2015)
Hugo, a Category 5 hurricane, threatens to rip a plane apart.
  • Fri 7/1
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

System Breakdown

S02, E08  (First Aired: Aug. 5, 2012)
Five aviation disasters and the changes they have forced air-traffic controllers to make.
  • Tue 7/5
  • 8:00PM-9:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  • 780
  • SMTHHD
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  • 11:00PM-12:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Helicopter Down

(First Aired: Feb. 14, 2016)
A helicopter carrying oil workers to an offshore drilling platform crashes.
  • Wed 7/6
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
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  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Massacre Over The Mediterranean

S05, E07  (First Aired: Mar. 22, 2015)
An Italian passenger plane is blown out of the sky.
  • Thu 7/7
  • 2:00AM-3:00AM
  • 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 7/7
  • 3:00AM-4:00AM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Helicopter Down

(First Aired: Feb. 14, 2016)
A helicopter carrying oil workers to an offshore drilling platform crashes.
  • Thu 7/7
  • 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD

Massacre Over The Mediterranean

S05, E07  (First Aired: Mar. 22, 2015)
An Italian passenger plane is blown out of the sky.
  • Fri 7/8
  • 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • 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.
  • Fri 7/8
  • 7:00PM-8:00PM
  • 163
  • SMITH
  •  
  •  
  • 780
  • SMTHHD