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Terror in the Skies   

Series 1: 4x60 | HD | 2013
Production Company
Arrow Media
Primary Broadcaster
Channel 4 / Smithsonian Channel

Flying is a state-of-the-art cutting edge industry: The planes are better designed, the pilots are better trained and the computers are more intelligent. It should be safer than ever before… but still things go wrong.

From the unrivalled experts in ‘disaster TV’, Terror in the Skies brings the genre bang up-to-date. We’ll explore the new, 21st century reasons that there are so many frightening near-misses. From bored and distracted pilots, as automated technology puts them in the back seat, to our desire to fly anywhere at any time for rock-bottom prices, regardless of the weather - this is the scary reality of modern day flying. 

Episode 4

Despite increasingly sophisticated forecasts, real-time modeling of weather systems, and stunningly precise radar, storms, fog, rain, lightning and hurricanes are still one of the leading causes of place crashes.
As flying becomes ever more of an everyday event for millions of people around the world, pilots and airlines sometimes forget to be frightened of the weather. With fast-turnaround low budget airlines needing to keep their assets in the air for every possible moment of flying time, the pressure is on to turn a blind eye to the threat – but the weather all too often bites back.

Episode 3

A modern airplane is one of the most complex machines mankind has ever created. Built out of advanced materials, with thousands of miles of wiring and hydraulics, and cascades of computer power controlling everything from cabin pressure to wing shape, they are a miracle of modern engineering. But lighter, untested materials are prone to unexpected failures, from cracks in the wings to bits of fuselage flying off at 30,000 feet. Increasing technology in planes also means that many pilots are becoming overly reliant on the complicated computer systems to save them. So, if something goes wrong and the computer doesn’t notice, it’s an anatomy for disaster…

Episode 2

No matter how much training a person can undertake no one can hold off the need for sleep. As the pressure mounts ever higher, to get there faster, on-time and at all hours of the day, flight staff are getting tired and it shows - From forgetting where they are going, falling asleep on the job to full-blown mental breakdowns mid-flight. When airlines come under pressure to be the most profitable and popular with stretched resources, it inevitably leads to mistakes.

Episode 1

We may have better planes that can fly longer and with greater reliability, but that doesn’t improve the human in the front seat and passengers’ lives are still in the hands of the pilots in the cockpit. Despite their rigorous training, pilots are easily distracted or bored, especially given all the automation in a modern plane. A series of recent terrifying incidents show this is one of the greatest threats to travel – from mistakes that can be shrugged off, to disastrous errors and actions that cause catastrophe.