Mayday: Air Disasters
This series takes a detailed look at aviation disasters to discover what went wrong using actual recordings, reports, and eyewitness accounts.
S10:E01 - Cockpit Failure
Making a routine one-hour journey from Berlin, Crossair Flight 3597 is on its final approach to Zurich. It is one of the last planes scheduled to land before the airport shuts down for the night. But just minutes before landing the pilots cannot find the runway. They decide to abort the maneuver and apply full power to all four engines in order to get their jet to climb. But they are too late.
S10:E02 - The Heathrow Enigma
Approaching the end of its ten-hour journey from Beijing, British Airways Flight 38 is preparing to land in Heathrow. But just as the pilots take over the controls, and only two minutes before it touches down, the aircraft is inexplicably crippled by double engine failure. Quickly falling out of the sky and with just seconds to react, the captain raises the plane’s flaps to reduce drag.
S10:E03 - Pilot Betrayed
Scandinavian Airlines Flight 751 is mired in snow and slush at Stockholm airport. The DC-9 is de-iced twice to ensure it’s safe for take-off. Despite the winter conditions, the aircraft takes off smoothly. But within seconds, the engines begin emitting a series of rapid-fire booming noises, smoke begins filtering through the cabin, and less than two minutes later, both engines fail.
S10:E04 - Dead Tired
Two hours behind schedule and nearing the end of its 53-minute trip from Newark, New Jersey, Continental Connection Flight 3407 is approaching Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. Flying through snow and strong winds, the pilots can see the lights of the city below, but as they lower their landing gear and extend the flaps to slow the plane, the control column suddenly starts to shake.
S10:E05 - Hudson River Runway
Just minutes after taking off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, United Airlines Flight 1549 collides with a flock of birds. Both engines suddenly lose all thrust, and the Airbus A-320 begins falling from the sky. The crew desperately tries to restart their engines, but can’t. With New York on one side and New Jersey on the other, Captain Chesley Sullenberger is running out of options.
S10:E06 - Who’s in Control?
Arriving from Istanbul, Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 is on its final approach to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The crew is following instructions from the control tower that will line up their Boeing 737 with the runway. In the final seconds of the flight, however, the plane suddenly falls from the sky and crashes into a muddy field just north of the airport.