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Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (1983)

TV Movie  -   -  Sci-Fi | Thriller  -  27 February 1983 (USA)
4.7
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Ratings: 4.7/10 from 522 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 7 critic

The fictional story of the first "hypersonic" commercial passenger plane, which can make the flight from New York to London in a mere four hours. On the maiden flight of this plane, a minor... See full summary »

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Title: Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (TV Movie 1983)

Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (TV Movie 1983) on IMDb 4.7/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Captain Cody Briggs
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Josh Gilliam
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Erica Hansen
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Q. T. Thornwell
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Nancy Gilliam
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Bowdish (as George Di Cenzo)
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Janet Briggs
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Freddie Barrett
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Laurie Hansen (as Heather Mc Adam)
Michael Sacks ...
Pete
Gary Bayer ...
Martin
Pat Corley ...
Joe Pedowski
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Felix
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Mrs. Harvey
Diane Stilwell ...
Betty
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Storyline

The fictional story of the first "hypersonic" commercial passenger plane, which can make the flight from New York to London in a mere four hours. On the maiden flight of this plane, a minor disaster occurs resulting in the plane actually leaving the Earth's atmosphere and orbiting around the globe. A lack of heat-resistant tiling prevents the plane from simply re-entering the atmosphere. With oxygen (and therefore time) running out, the crew of the plane and the crew on the ground must figure out a way to return the plane and it's passengers to safety. Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

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Plot Keywords:

passenger | oxygen | nasa | disaster | orbit | See more »

Taglines:

A special plane . . . not built for outer space . . . suddenly it's there! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

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Release Date:

27 February 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Starflight One  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The movie is loosely based on the novel "Orbit" by Thomas H. Block, from 1982. In the novel, a hypersonic plane on a cruise from New York to Sydney excesses its cruise altitude due to sabotage by a revenge-seeking company engineer. See more »

Goofs

Refueling of Starflight One from Columbia takes an implausibly short period of time. See more »

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User Reviews

Starflop One
9 March 2002 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I'll admit it: I used to love this movie as a kid. But that was when I thought anything was possible. Now that I'm older (and have seen the Airport Movies), I realize just how bad this movie really was.

First, it should have been called Airport '83, since it has a nearly identical plot to the rest of the Airport series (especially The Concorde: Airport '79, where technical malfunctions screw up the Concorde).

Second is the truly abominable acting. Lee Majors, the Six Million Dollar Man himself, stars as the plane's captain, who is married but shacking up with the head stewardess (Lauren Hutton, which explains why she is given a first-class seat out of the plane at the end). Hal Linden plays the designer and head engineer of Starflight One, who seems very uncomfortable in his role. The rest of the cast was too terrible to mention as their parts didn't even get off the ground, so to speak.

Third are the obvious mistakes, scientific errors, and plot holes that are large enough to fly a Star Destroyer through. For example: -Starflight was equipped with a flange that allowed an airlock to be fitted over it. But if it was never designed to operate in a vacuum (like outer space), why have it there in the first place? -Captain Briggs mentions that everything still worked, including the engines. If the engines worked, and they were in a decaying orbit, why not just transfer to a higher orbit? -In this movie, NASA service techs seem to be recruited from NASCAR, since they are able to service and launch the Space Shuttle Columbia several times in two days (which is physically impossible, and why didn't that second shuttle help out sooner?). -It was mentioned that Starflight was not built with a heat shield. Bt at the speeds that it was designed to operate at, kinetic heating and friction would necessitate SOME kind of protective layer on the aircraft.

-How come we never see the blonde female astronaut's face? -Starflight uses scramjets to provide thrust, but these engines cannot operate from a stand-still as they are shown to do; they must be in motion before they can operate. -An aircraft that is designed to operate at Mach 6 and higher speeds would not likely have such huge wings in proportion to its body, or even be spindle shaped; in fact, its actual design would most likely be a lifting body.

And now for the good stuff: why I liked this movie. John Dykstra, who came up with the ships for Star Wars and Firefox, was the one who designed Starflight One; the plane, while not believable, still looks very good. Also, Lalo Schifferin's score was very good and dramatic. In all, about a 6 out of 10.


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