Smithsonian Channel to Air MALAYSIA 370: THE PLANE THAT VANISHED, 4/6

Related: Smithsonian Channel
Smithsonian Channel to Air MALAYSIA 370: THE PLANE THAT VANISHED, 4/6

Smithsonian Channel explores one of the great aviation mysteries of our time in the upcoming one-hour special MALAYSIA 370: THE PLANE THAT VANISHED premiering Sunday, April 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. At a time when speculation is rife, the special dives deep into the detail of the Boeing 777, the technologies involved in the search, and aviation procedures that may be transformed in The Aftermath of this disaster.

Smithsonian Channel, the home to a number of series that look at the world of aviation including AIR DISASTERS, DANGEROUS FLIGHTS, MIGHTY PLANES and TERROR IN THE SKIES, calls on experts from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. MALAYSIA 370:THE PLANE THAT VANISHED pares away the speculation to examine the hard evidence of the case.

How - in this day and age - can a commercial airliner and its 239 passengers just vanish? Are modern aircraft not equipped with cutting-edge communications technology, tracking and recording every minute detail of a flight's progress? MALAYSIA 370: THE PLANE THAT VANISHED uses the disappearance to examine the inner-workings of today's and tomorrow's aircraft.

What has an industry so reliant on its Science and technology learned from the major air catastrophes of recent years? This special looks at innovations that grew out of lessons learned from these other air disasters, from Black Box tracking technology, to airport security scanners, from the newly invented live-relayed data systems, to the latest in air traffic control science.

Among those interviewed in MALAYSIA 370: THE PLANE THAT VANISHED are:

Bob van der Linden, Chair of Aeronautics Department, National Air and Space Museum, who discusses possible sources of the problem: "Highly unlikely that an aircraft would be changing its direction as it did without some Intervention from somebody........someone turned off the equipment.......someone programmed the computers to fly the plane in a different direction. Airplanes don't do that themselves."

Roger Connor, Curator, Curator of Vertical Flight, Instruments and Avionics, National Air and Space Museum, who discusses potential future technology: "There's now a lot of interest in having a new generation of systems where possibly the aircraft will actually eject a recording unit before impact. So the aircraft would have some sort of system that would recognize that there's an excessive rate of descent and a crash would be imminent and then it would eject a unit... as well as a recording of the critical advance of the aircraft before impact."

Andrew K. Johnston, Geographer, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, National Air and Space Museum, who explains the limitations of satellite imagery: "The problem with looking for pieces of debris in the open ocean is that you have an area that is not high contrast... You have got objects that are maybe floating in the ocean that might be just beneath the surface, you have got sun reflecting off the waves, so it's not an environment where it is really easy to pick out small objects that might be floating there."

MALAYSIA 370: THE PLANE THAT VANISHED is produced by ITN Productions for Smithsonian Channel. Producers are Dick Bower and Karen Walsh. Executive Producer for ITN is Ian Russell. Executive Producers for Smithsonian Channel are David Royle and Charles Poe.


Smithsonian Channel(TM), owned by Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, is where Curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of Showtime(R) with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian, to create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture. Among the network's offerings are series including Aerial America, L.A. Frock Stars, Secrets, Mighty Ships, Mighty Planes and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include Civil War 360, 9/11: The Heartland Tapes; MLK: The Assassination Tapes and The Day Kennedy Died. Find out more at

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