Panic in the Skies!

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Panic in the Skies!
Panic in the Skies!.jpg
Genre Drama
Written by Rick Rosner (story)
Robert Hamilton (story)
Robert Hamilton (teleplay)
Directed by Paul Ziller
Starring Kate Jackson
Ed Marinaro
Erik Estrada
Music by Todd Hayen
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Paul Colichman
Mark R. Harris
Stephen P. Jarchow
Rick Rosner
Producer(s) Dan Paulson
Rosanne Milliken
James Shavick
Jeffrey Schenck (associate producer)
Dann Harris (associate producer)
Alice Andrade (associate producer)
Location(s) Vancouver
Cinematography Rod Parkhurst
Editor(s) Jeffrey Reiner
David B. Thompson
Running time 120 min.
Production company(s) Daniel L. Paulson Productions
Libra Pictures
MTM Entertainment (in association with Regent Entertainment, Rosner Television and Shavick Entertainment)
Distributor The Family Channel
Original network The Family Channel
Original release
  • October 13, 1996 (1996-10-13)

Panic in the Skies! is a television film directed by Paul Ziller premiering on The Family Channel in 1996. The film stars Kate Jackson, Ed Marinaro and Erik Estrada.


During takeoff for a flight to Europe, Flight 115, a Royce Air International Boeing 747 flying from New York to London is struck by lightning. Although the flight continues, the lightning strike has killed the flight crew and disabled the radio communications to the ground. Laurie Ann Pickett (Kate Jackson), the senior flight attendant, enlists the aid of passenger Brett Young (Ed Marinaro), and together, they determine that the autopilot can bring the aircraft in for a landing.

The autopilot that they rely on, begins to malfunction, homing in on airfield transponders at random, even airports that are too small to accommodate the large jetliner. Both Laurie and Brett realize they may have to find a way to land the aircraft by themselves. Veering to a completely new heading, the airliner turns from its flightpath over the Atlantic Ocean to fly to the Pacific Coast of North America.

On the ground, federal officials who have lost radio contact with the 747, start a debate as to when the aircraft should be shot down to prevent a more disastrous crash in a heavily populated area. Tensions begin to come to a head on board the stricken airliner, with a landing at Vancouver, British Columbia, becoming their only option.


  • Kate Jackson as Laurie Ann Pickett
  • Ed Marinaro as Brett Young
  • Erik Estrada as Ethan Walker
  • Maureen McCormick as Tukey, Walker's Assistant
  • Billy Warlock as F.A. Matt Eisenhauer
  • Robert Guillaume as Rob Barnes
  • Marilyn Norry as Donna Preston
  • Howard Dell as Charles Buckman (credited as Howard G.H. Dell)
  • Robert Maloney as passenger
  • Brandy Ledford as F.A. Charlene Davis
  • Kehli O'Byrne as Tukey, Walker's Assistant
  • Robert Guillaume as Rob Barnes
  • Michael Buie as Darryl (credited as Mike Buie)
  • Ken Camroux as Derek Green
  • Marc Baur as Ed Handler
  • Brett Stone as Lydia Chambers
  • Michael Gelbart as Joel Rose


Principal photography on Panic in the Skies took place in Vancouver, British Columbia.


While not reviewed by critics in mainstream media, Panic in the Skies did garner some interest from internet bloggers and other film critics. Film reviewer Sergio Ortega noted the "unfortunately bad movie ...", was filled with continuity and "unbelievable" aerial errors on the Boeing 747.[1]


  1. ^ Ortega, Sergio. "Review: 'Panic in the Skies'.", February 1, 2000. Retrieved: December 29. 2015.

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