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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

airs in 3 days
A commercial airliner crashes minutes after taking off from an airport in Bucharest causing suspicions to rise.
VOD available
Almost immediately after taking off from Madrid International Airport, Spanair Flight 5022 banked to the right, slammed into a creek and burst into flames.
VOD available
TAM flight 402 slammed into a residential neighborhood and burst into flames, just seconds after lifting off from Congonhas airport in São Paulo, Brazil, killing all 95 people on board and three people on the ground.
aired 1 day ago
An anonymous tip helps uncover the cause of a cargo plane crash in Miami.
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.
aired 8 days ago
When a DC-8 cargo jet crashes on approach to a U.S. naval base in Guantanamo, investigators wonder if Cuba played a role.
VOD available
An investigation into Continental Airlines Flight 1713, which crashed on takeoff from Denver during a snowstorm in 1987, changes commercial flight forever.
aired 13 days ago
When an A300 stalls and crashes just before landing in Japan, fears arise about the plane's complex automated systems.
VOD available
An Alitalia airliner crashes into a forested hillside just a few miles from a Zurich runway.
aired 15 days ago
A false warning in the cockpit triggers a series of pilot errors, sending a commuter plane crashing by the runway of an Amsterdam airport.
VOD available
A computer glitch causes a highly automated Qantas Airways flight to nearly fall out of the sky.
aired 18 days ago
A Virgin Galactic commercial spacecraft, the VSS Enterprise, crashes during a 2014 test flight to the outer reaches of the Earth's atmosphere.
VOD available
A high-stakes demonstration flight in Indonesia turns catastrophic when a Russian jet slams into a mountain.
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.
VOD available
A 1988 commercial flight crashes just moments after liftoff and erupts in flames.
aired 22 days ago
When a modified WWII fighter plane crashes into the crowd at a Nevada air show, investigators struggle to find the cause.
VOD available
The investigation into the 2014 crash of a TransAsia flight uncovers a systemic problem with the airline.
VOD available
When an American cargo plane crashes moments after takeoff, investigators uncover a systemic problem with aircraft maintenance.
VOD available
Investigators struggle to understand the unusual flight path and Himalayan crash site of Thai Airways Flight 311.
VOD available
A shocking error in the cockpit causes the crash of a 737 on takeoff and leaves an entire nation reeling.
VOD available
When a plane carrying Russian tourists crashes in Egypt, investigators face political tensions and terrorist claims in their search for the truth.

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