The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) Poster


The plane they leave on at the end of the film was to be a C-82 Boom. The stunt of taking off was too dangerous, so legendary stunt pilot Paul Mantz was asked to merely come in low, run his landing gear along the ground, then take off again, simulating a take-off. On the second take the plane crashed and was destroyed, killing Mantz. As all main footage had already been shot, a North American O-47A observation plane from the Air Museum was substituted for the remaining close-ups.
The Tallmantz Phoenix P-1 was designed by Otto Timm and built by Tallmantz Aviation Inc. for the film. It had the following characteristics:
  • Length: 45'

  • Wingspan: 42'

  • Engine: a like-new Pratt & Whitney R-1340 nine cylinder radial engine of 650 hp, taken from a T-6, as were the wheels and various other parts.

  • Wings: wing panels taken from a T-11 (civilian conversion of an AT-11 which is a Beechcraft 18 type )

  • The apparent wing, tail, and undercarriage wire bracing was made out of clothesline, and was intentionally made to look flimsy.

  • The fuselage and empennage were all hand-built from scratch - plywood over a wood frame.

  • The cockpit was shallow and makeshift. The pilot sat down. Another person stood behind the pilot and was strapped to a stringer.

At least one of the aircraft used once flew for the US Marine Corps. The passenger information board inside the fuselage shows VMR-253, a USMC transport squadron, and R4Q-1, the military type designation, and the military serial, BuNo, 126580.
Director Robert Aldrich's son (William Aldrich) and son-in-law (Peter Bravos) are the first two casualties in the film, killed by falling cargo during the opening credits as the disabled plane is descending for its crash-landing.
Three Fairchild C-82 Packet cargo planes were required for filming and were located at Long Beach Airport, CA. They were all operated by Steward-Davis Inc., and were registered as N6887C, N4833V and N53228.
Dummies on the wings were found to blank the control surfaces, so silhouettes of the wing-passengers were used instead.
In the Italian version the song "Senza fine" is the original one, sung by the singer Ornella Vanoni.
Robert Aldrich wanted Barrie Chase to do her exotic dance topless, but she refused.
Brief footage of the crash that killed Paul Mantz is shown near the end of the documentary "Cinerama Adventure".
"Senza Fine" means "without an end" or "never ending".

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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