Survival in the Sky

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Survival in the Sky (United States title, known as Black Box in the United Kingdom) is a British series of six one-hour episodes produced by Darlow Smithson Productions for The Learning Channel and Channel 4. Narrated by Will Lyman (US) or Sean Barrett (UK), the series primarily concentrated on commercial aviation accidents and the investigations related to them. They were first aired as a series of only four episodes in late 1996. Two additional episodes were produced and premiered in 1998.

The series is notable for being produced with the cooperation of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), and interviews many of the investigators and survivors of air crashes.

A book also entitled Black Box (ISBN 0760304009) was published in 1996 as a companion to the series.


Episode 1 - Blaming the Pilot (1996)[edit]

As aviation technology improves, pilot error is determined to be the cause of two out of every three crashes.

Incidents Covered:

Episode 2 - Deadly Weather (1996)[edit]

Worldwide, weather contributes to one-third of all plane crashes.

Incidents Covered:

Episode 3 - A Wing and a Prayer (1996)[edit]

Improper maintenance, undiscovered design flaws and other structural failures.

Incidents Covered:

Episode 4 - Crash Detectives (1996)[edit]

Presents original footage of NTSB investigators filmed at the crash site of ValuJet Flight 592 in the Everglades.

Incidents Covered:

Episode 5 - TWA 800: The Investigation (1998)[edit]

A special episode produced after the official findings of the TWA 800 investigation were released.

Incidents Covered:

Episode 6 - Sky Crimes (1998)[edit]

The final episode, produced over two years after the original run of the series, examines incidents involving either international terrorism or disgruntled airline employees.

Incidents Covered:

  • a. PSA Flight 1771 on Dec 7, 1987; a disgruntled employee uses a handgun to kill the pilots and crash the aircraft.
  • b. Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec 21, 1988; a terrorist bomb explodes and destroys a Boeing 747 aircraft over Lockerbie in Scotland.
  • c. FedEx Flight 705 on April 7, 1994; a disgruntled FedEx employee attempts to hijack a McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 that he is travelling on as a deadheading passenger, then crash the aircraft for the purpose of insurance fraud, only to be subdued by the severely-injured crew.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]