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Air Disasters

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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.

Latest episodes

VOD available
When a commercial airliner goes down in eastern Ukraine in 2014, examiners must conduct an investigation in the middle of a war zone.
airs in 11 days
When a modified WWII fighter plane crashes into the crowd at a Nevada air show, investigators struggle to find the cause.
airs in 2 days
Three flights headed for disaster are saved at the last moment by heroes in the cockpit.
VOD available
Two similar plane crashes in Ontario and New York prompt an investigation which determines that the source of the crashes was due to a design flaw on the wings of the planes, both Fokker F28s.
VOD available
A 1988 commercial flight crashes just moments after liftoff and erupts in flames.
airs in 8 days
When an airbus A330 loses both engines, its pilots must think of a solution before they crash into the South China Sea.
VOD available
The investigation into the 2014 crash of a TransAsia flight uncovers a systemic problem with the airline.
VOD available
A high-stakes demonstration flight in Indonesia turns catastrophic when a Russian jet slams into a mountain.
aired 4 days ago
Human flaws cause three plane crashes in England, Colorado and Minnesota.
VOD available
Pilots attempt to land their Boeing 737 in an Indonesian river after losing their engines and electrical power.
VOD available
When an American cargo plane crashes moments after takeoff, investigators uncover a systemic problem with aircraft maintenance.
VOD available
An investigation into Continental Airlines Flight 1713, which crashed on takeoff from Denver during a snowstorm in 1987, changes commercial flight forever.
VOD available
Investigators struggle to understand the unusual flight path and Himalayan crash site of Thai Airways Flight 311.
VOD available
When an A300 stalls and crashes just before landing in Japan, fears arise about the plane's complex automated systems.
VOD available
A shocking error in the cockpit causes the crash of a 737 on takeoff and leaves an entire nation reeling.
VOD available
An Alitalia airliner crashes into a forested hillside just a few miles from a Zurich runway.
VOD available
The two-man crew of a UPS cargo jet must attempt an emergency landing when a fire in the cargo hold fills their cockpit with smoke.
VOD available
When a plane carrying Russian tourists crashes in Egypt, investigators face political tensions and terrorist claims in their search for the truth.
VOD available
A computer glitch causes a highly automated Qantas Airways flight to nearly fall out of the sky.
VOD available
The dashcam of a passing car captures stunning footage of the final moments of a Taiwanese commuter aircraft as it banks steeply, clips an elevated highway and nosedives into the river; investigators find no signs of pre-impact malfunction.
aired 11 days ago
A look at three deadly air disasters that were caused by misunderstandings between pilots and air traffic controllers.

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