Smithsonian Channel to Premiere New Series TERROR IN THE SKIES, 9/29
TERROR IN THE SKIES, a gripping new series that investigates terrifying near-disasters in air travel using user generated content (UGC) from passengers and eyewitnesses, premieres Sunday, September 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.
Rapid growth in global air travel has put increasing strains on the aviation industry, and as more people take to the skies, they're taking phones and camcorders with them. And in moments of crisis, they are capturing it all on video. TERROR IN THE SKIES gives unique insight into these alarming events. The series uncovers gut-wrenching stories of imminent disaster, told by survivors, witnesses and air-accident investigators.
By most measures, air travel has never been safer. But UGC reveals serious concerns, including pilots asleep in the cockpit and terrifying close calls caused by careless maintenance errors. TERROR IN THE SKIES uses these amateur videos as a new forensic tool - combined with genuine air traffic audio recordings, expert analysis and detailed CGI deconstructions - to examine what happened in each incident and how airlines and the industry have responded.
TERROR IN THE SKIES: PILOT ERROR - Premieres Sunday, September 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Pilot error lies at the heart of nearly 70% of today's aircraft accidents. This episode reveals incidents where human limitations threatened lives. In 2012, a man flips out mid-flight and is wrestled to the ground by passengers. It's a lucky escape for all on-board because the distressed individual is no ordinary passenger - he's the captain of the plane. An incident at Hamburg Airport in 2008 illustrates how computers can sometimes contribute to pilot error, not reduce it. Footage by survivors of a Turkish Airlines flight that crash-landed at Amsterdam airport in 2009 raises the question of whether computers are overwhelming pilots at key moments, causing them to make simple errors. A teenager's cell phone captures the blazing inferno caused by Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashing into a house in western New York. The lead investigators and former pilots provide chilling details behind the lifestyle of American regional airline pilots, where flying tired is just part of the job. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the heroic pilot who crash-landed USAIR flight 1549 in the Hudson River, provides eye-opening insight into the state of aviation industry with regard to pilot training and experience.
TERROR IN THE SKIES: TECHNICAL MELTDOWN - Premieres October 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Passengers aboard a packed Airbus A320 are watching a TV news story about a plane in serious trouble - only to realize it's their plane. The front wheels are stuck at a 90 degree angle, and no one knows what will happen when the plane tries to land. A pilot's quick thinking and skill averted a bigger disaster at London Heathrow Airport in 2008. As his Boeing 777 comes in to land, it loses power in both engines simultaneously and begins to fall through the air, giving the pilots less than 30 seconds to react. Shortly after the highly anticipated release of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, disaster strikes in Japan when pilots detect a harsh odor in the cockpit and make an emergency landing. One week earlier, smoke had been detected on another 787, and a fire had broken out. Investigators look to the one thing that makes the Dreamliner unique: its batteries. Just four minutes into a flight on board Airbus' new superjumbo, the A380, one of the engines explodes. All of these incidents reveal how even minor technical glitches can have disastrous consequences.