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Why Planes Crash

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Taking to the sky in an airplane can be dangerous when the weather doesn't cooperate. This documentary series investigates aviation accidents and how the elements contributed to them. Interviews with witnesses and survivors, testimony by experts, and data from the plane's black box aid in exploring each incident. The FAA's case files are used to create animations to diagram what happened before each crash. Fog, haze and hail are some of the weather conditions responsible for the disasters.

Latest episodes

aired 774 days ago
There is little room for mistakes in the cockpit of a small plane, where bad weather, poor visibility or distraction can be deadly.
aired 774 days ago
Aircraft collisions including a corporate jet and a 737 and a collision between a 727 and a Cessna that's caught on film.
aired 774 days ago
Helicopters are the choice vehicle for remote rescues and rapid responses, but they have their own set of dangers.
aired 774 days ago
Exploring terrifying airplane disasters, beginning with a look at why pilots risk ditching in water, and a hijacked 747 that was forced into the ocean.

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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.
Advanced computer graphics, forensic science, eyewitness accounts, interviews with experts, archival footage and re-enactments piece together in great detail the events that led to some of the biggest disasters of modern time.