Air Crash Confidential

8:30pm Tuesday, October 18 on TV One

The remarkable and revealing Air Crash Confidential continues tonight, investigating air disasters from around the world.

This episode explores the link between pilot error and horrific air crashes.

It details how the tragic results of poor relations between a pilot and his flight crew which may have led to an air crash on the outskirts of London in June 1972.

How, in January 1989 inadequate training led the crew of a British Midland 737-400 to shut down their only working engine, causing the plane to crash near the Leicestershire village Kegworth.

And how, in November 2001, equally inadequate training led the pilot of an American Airlines A320 Airbus to manipulate the rudder controls so violently, the rudder sheared off and the plane crashed into the New York suburb of Queens. Both accidents led to improvements in training.

But by the late ’90s aircraft manufacturers had a new idea. Airbus, in particular, pioneered a new computer-controlled aircraft that virtually eliminated the need for a pilot. Yet in reducing the role of the pilot, the airline industry may have created a new problem.

There’s the little-known story of Qantas Flight 72, an Airbus A330 that suddenly plunged out of control over the Pacific Ocean in 2008. Seven months later, a similar Air France A330 mysteriously disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. 228 people died. Both incidents have been attributed to faulty equipment. Pilot error may have been replaced by equipment error.

Missed an episode of Air Crash Confidential? Full episodes are available online. Go to www.tvnz.co.nz and click ‘on demand’.

8:30pm Tuesday, October 11 on TV One

The remarkable and revealing Air Crash Confidential continues tonight, investigating air disasters from around the world.

In this episode, the series explores the deadly game of cat and mouse between terrorists and airline security.

From hijackers to suicide bombers, international terrorists see airliners as their perfect targets, bringing hundreds of potential victims and instant worldwide publicity.

Explosives disguised as fruit drinks, bombs hidden in shoes, in radios, even in underpants. To counter the threat, airlines have introduced new technology, increased intelligence and constant vigilance.

Back in the 1970s, the Metal Detector Arch targeted hijackers with concealed guns or knives. So the terrorists switched tactics and planted bombs in bags in the hold. The disaster at Lockerbie was the terrible result. Only then was the loophole closed and all checked bags are now scanned for explosives before they reach the hold.

Then came micro bombs smuggled into the passenger cabin. In the Philippines, Al Quaeda bomb expert, Ramzi Youssef shows how a liquid bomb can evade detection by airport scanners.

In France, Richard Reid hid his explosives in his shoe. Neither bomb succeeded in bringing down an airliner but after 9/11 no-one can doubt the global threat.

Missed an episodes of Air Crash Confidential? Full episodes are available on line. Go to www.tvnz.co.nz and click ‘on demand’.

8:30pm Tuesday, October 4 on TV One

Beginning tonight on TV ONE Air Crash Confidential investigates air disasters from around the world. Each episode deals with a particular theme – from terrorism and pilot error and engineering error, to extreme weather and fires.

Tonight’s episode discovers that collisions between aircraft are among the most deadly accidents in aviation history. Billions of dollars have been spent finding solutions to them. Yet every time one problem is solved another appears. Air Crash Confidential draws key connections which explain why collisions still happen.

It also shows how a collision over Zagreb in the 1970s led to the better regulation of air traffic controllers. But other problems soon emerged.

Poor communication between pilots and air traffic controllers led to the world’s worst air disaster – the collision between a KLM and a Pan Am jumbo jet in Tenerife in 1977. Over 580 people died. Two survivors tell their extraordinary story.

A decade later another collision, this time over LA, drives home the message that communication between aircraft is still a problem. As a result, the airline industry introduced new technology in an attempt to improve the situation.

But this technology, in turn, lead to new problems, and as a result, in 2002 a plane carrying 48 Russian school children smashed into a cargo aircraft.

The episode also features an exclusive interview with Russian father, Viktor Kaloyev, who lost his two children and his wife in the crash. Kaloyev later flew to Switzerland, hunted down the air traffic controller he believed responsible for the accident and stabbed him to death. He is now back in Russia where he is the construction minister for the Russian Republic of North Ossetia.

Missed an episodes of Air Crash Confidential? Full episodes are available on line. Go to www.tvnz.co.nz and click ‘on demand’.