When a plane crashes, the world is left wondering what happened. Amid the tragedy of lost life and confusion surrounding these catastrophic accidents, experts are there to determine what went wrong and how these disasters can be prevented in the future. Smithsonian Channel’s popular and long-running series AIR DISASTERS follows the stories of these fatal crashes and the investigators on the scene who must search for the clues in the aircraft’s final descent. The premiere episode, AIR DISASTERS: HIGH RISE CATASTROPHE, airs Sunday, October 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.
Each episode of AIR DISASTERS features exclusive eyewitness accounts, captivating reenactments, state-of-the-art CGI and final interviews with lucky survivors and the investigators who ultimately determined what went wrong.
AIR DISASTERS: HIGH RISE CATASTROPHE chronicles the crash of El Al Flight 1862. En route to Tel Aviv, El Al Flight 1862 took off from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport laden with a heavy load of cargo. Moments later, a sudden jolt rocked the plane, and it began rolling violently to the right and into a 10-story suburban apartment complex. Investigators combed through the Netherlands’ worst ever aviation disaster, discovering a potentially lethal problem threatening every 747 in the sky.
Ensuing episodes of AIR DISASTERS:
Premieres October 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Shortly after taking off from Dubai, an alarm warned of a fire on board UPS Flight 6. With smoke filling the cockpit, two pilots went blind and the captain’s oxygen system failed, leaving the first officer alone at the controls to land the massive 747. The only way to land was to improvise an emergency procedure, but shaky communications with controllers and poor visibility inside and outside the plane made for a nearly impossible landing.
CARNAGE IN SAO PAOLO
Premieres November 5 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Just seconds after lifting off from Congonhas airport in São Paulo, Brazil, TAM flight 402 slammed into a residential neighborhood and burst into flames, killing all 95 people on board and three people on the ground. Investigators from the Brazilian Air Force joined forces with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board to uncover a series of events that led to the unlikely catastrophic aviation accident.
Premieres November 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Almost immediately after taking off from Madrid International Airport, Spanair Flight 5022 banked to the right, slammed into a creek and burst into flames. With 154 dead, it was Spain’s worst aviation disaster in decades. Investigators quickly zeroed in on a cause until contradictory evidence from the cockpit recorder suggested otherwise, sending everyone scrambling for answers.
Premieres November 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
When the crash of a commuter plane in Georgia killed a NASA astronaut, a four-term U.S. senator and 21 others, the disaster grabbed headlines around the world. Investigators soon came up with a theory to explain the crash. There was just one problem – the manufacturer said it was impossible. Gambling on a hunch, one investigator put his reputation on the line to uncover the startling truth about what brought down Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2311.
EDGE OF DISASTER
Premieres November 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Atlantic Airways Flight 670 was shuttling a group of oil company employees to work when the plane careened off the runway and down a steep embankment. With one engine still roaring, several exits blocked and a plane engulfed in flames, 16 passengers on board scrambled for their lives. With almost no wreckage left to examine, a mysterious substance found on the runway seemed to hold the key to understanding the cause of the deadly crash.
Premieres December 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
A United Nations DC-6 transport plane was flying a top-secret mission over central Africa with U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld on board. Just moments before touchdown, the plane mysteriously crashed a few miles from the runway. Rhodesian government investigators eventually concluded that pilot error was to blame for the tragedy, but when evidence of an organized attack surfaced 50 years later, a new investigation shined light on the controversial aviation mystery.