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Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac (1984)

Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac is a true story based on the crash of Air Florida flight 90 on January 13, 1982 in Washington D.C. This movie follows the main players throughout the day,... See full summary »


Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Patricia 'Nikki' Felch
Burt Hamilton
Joe Stiley
Priscilla Tirado
Roger Olian
Arland Williams
Marilyn Nichols
Richard Beauchamp ...
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Donna Olian
Carole Biggs
David Frank
James Whitmore Jr. ...
Captain Larry Wheaton
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dishevelled Man
Richard Backus ...
Larry Nichols


Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac is a true story based on the crash of Air Florida flight 90 on January 13, 1982 in Washington D.C. This movie follows the main players throughout the day, with a lot of care taken to re-create what actually went wrong, who died, and who survived. There is a lot of actual footage from the day, as well as accurate representations of aircraft type and airline. Written by Trent Nickson <callisto@zip.com.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE TRUE STORY. [Video] See more »




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Release Date:

1 April 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flight No. 90  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Incorporated original television footage of the survivors as they clung to wreckage and chunks of ice in the freezing water of the Potomac. See more »


Some close-up shots of the parked Boeing 737 in Miami show its registration as being N81AF. The real registration of the aircraft was N62AF, accurately depicted in the flight deck. See more »


[fatal take-off scene]
Washington Air Traffic Controller: Palm 90, cleared for take-off.
Captain Larry Wheaton: Palm 90, cleared for take-off.
Washington Air Traffic Controller: No delay on departure if you will. Traffic's two and a half out for the runway.
Captain Larry Wheaton: Okay.
First Officer Roger Pettit: [referring to the engine gauges] God! Look at that thing. That doesn't seem right does it? Ah, that's not right!
Captain Larry Wheaton: Yeah it is.
[referring to the airspeed indicator]
Captain Larry Wheaton: There's 80.
First Officer Roger Pettit: Nah, I don't think that's right.
See more »


Edited from Lost Flight (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

Very accurate of the events of the Day
25 November 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I remember this day, 13 January 1982, vividly. I had been working the day shift for AT&T at 30 E St S.W. in Washington DC. We received warning that the weather was turning extremely bad, and the company made a safety decision to close and have people go home early in order to beat the dangerous weather predicted. I was a member of a car pool traveling from Washington DC to Woodbridge, VA where we lived. As we started to leave DC, the snow began coming down so fast that it was like traveling in fog. Visibility was very poor. As we approached the 14th Street bridge, we became aware of something serious happening. There was a lot of commotion and emergency vehicles everywhere. The traffic was stopped on the bridge, and at first we weren't aware of what happened. As the traffic was not moving, we all exited our vehicle to see what the problem was. We were about mid span on the bridge when it was closed. It was a horrific scene that greeted us. There was the Airliner in the water/ice with only the tail showing. Watching the movie brought this scene back to me. The water froze over almost as soon as the ice was broken. I remember seeing someone in what looked like a gray flight suit frozen in the river. This still haunts me to his day. This film was very true to the events of that incident, and had it not been for a few heroic individuals, especially the clerk who dove in the freezing water to rescue the stewardess, and an awfully good National Parks Service Helicopter Pilot, whose helicopter skids actually touched below the water, I don't think anyone would have survived. It was sad to see all the emergency responders on the shoreline in confusion as they were not able to communicate with one another. Their emergency frequencies were all different. This movie definitely deserves the Emmie's it was nominated for, and should be out on DVD.

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Why was it not released on DVD? filmsfan38
well made movie for its time skitzoette

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