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Flight of the Phoenix (2004) Poster

Goofs

Character error 

The Captain is hailed as an extraordinary pilot who manages to save an aircraft that "not many pilots could save". However, at the time of the initial engine failure, he takes absolutely no action to shut down the engine or to feather the propeller.
When speaking to Elliot, Captain Towns refers to the engine as having "more than 2,000 pounds of thrust". The C-119 has reciprocating radial engines, which are not rated in pounds of thrust as jet engines are. The C-119 had either the Pratt & Whitney R-4360-20 engine producing 3,500 Horsepower, or the Wright Cyclone 3350-85 engine producing 2,500 horsepower. No professional pilot would confuse the two.

Continuity 

Jeremy's eye patch alternates between very dirty and sweaty to fairly clean looking during several points in the movie.
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After the crash, the crew poke a hole in the top of the plane to let in some air because the plane is totally covered by sand. Yet during the burial in the next scene the plane is mostly uncovered.
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When Rodney gets shot, he is shot on the right side of his chest. However, when they lay him on the cargo box and tear his shirt to reveal it, the wound is on the left side of his chest.
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When Elliot is first introduced, Towns is wearing his jacket. But the reverse shot, Towns is wearing a short-sleeved shirt and no jacket.
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When the plane is crashing, only one wheel has been torn off in some shots and in other shots both wheels have been torn off.
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The registration number of the C119 at the beginning of the movie is H0180-H. This changes to H0181-H in some shots during the storm.
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Crew or equipment visible 

About halfway through the film, when Rady is telling the cook, Sammi, a joke about a Rabbi and a Priest, a crew member is clearly visible walking up and standing behind some webbing to the left of the screen (inside the plane).
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Factual errors 

If the "nomads" / arms dealers had been using the crash victim's body for target practice (as suggested by the captain), the spent shells would have been found near where the shooters had been standing - not near the body as depicted in the film.
Though the C-119 used in this film is a direct descendant of the C-82 used in the original, the engines of the C-119 were started by power from an APU, not using the Coffman cartridge start system of the original.
When the left engine fails, the torque gauge falls well below zero instead of stopping on it. A short time later, the hydraulic gauge is shown also to drop below zero, and actually spins down below the 4000 and 3000 PSI marks.
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After the storm caused the aircraft to go inverted. Frank brought it to upright. As he did this a quick view of the artificial horizon showed it nearly wings level. The instrument in a C-119 would not do this. On older aircraft the gyro in the artificial horizon "tumbles" with the degree of roll exceeding 70 degrees of roll and the line in the horizon would end up in either the upper right or left corners of the instrument face. It would not in any case show a near wings-level attitude.
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When the rear cargo doors come off after hitting the terrain, the contents of the cabin, as well as a passenger, are shown to be violently 'sucked out'. The aircraft is not pressurized, so this could not be due to a great pressure differential between the cabin and the outside atmosphere. The mere fact that the door is open does not create a massive suction or draft, as is evident by military cargo and paratroop drops made from rear exit aircraft. Thus, while it might get noisy, and things might get shaken out, they would not get sucked out in this manner.
If the outside surface wind were indeed between seventy and one-hundred miles per hour as stated, the C-119 would almost be at a standstill at touchdown. Even with a relatively greater than normal airspeed speed, the wind the aircraft is facing into would reduce the planes groundspeed by that amount. In spite of this massive wind, the aircraft touches down at a high rate of speed and slides along for a considerable distance.
The nomads spoke Cantonese, a dialect only prevalent in southern China, and yet the location is the Gobi desert near Mongolia, where they speak Mongolian, not Chinese (let alone Cantonese).
The pistol used to shoot Rodney is a Webley Mk IV chambered in .38 S&W, one of the most anemic service rounds ever foisted on an unwilling army (by the British). There is absolutely no way it would cause a full-grown man to fly back fifteen feet as is depicted in this film. (There are documented cases of it failing to penetrate military greatcoats at even closer ranges.)

Miscellaneous 

When I leave my car out on a fairly sunny day, the metal parts of the seatbelt and the outside of the car become very hot. The temperatures and sunlight in this condition is nowhere near that of the Gobi Desert. There is no way they would be touching and sitting on the metal plane that had been sitting in the desert exposed to the blazing sun for weeks.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

After the crash when Kelly is resting on the side of a sand dune and hears two shots behind her, it is still daytime. When the others take a look, it is nighttime as you can see some stars behind them in the sky and of course the darkness about them. They seemed to be eager to go, yet it couldn't have taken them that long to get up there. They had to wait until dark to watch with their binoculars. In sunlight, the glare off the lens of the binoculars would give their position away. When Rodney gets shot it's still nighttime, yet when they bring him back to the plane afterward it's like midday.
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Revealing mistakes 

The wind outside after the crash is said to be 70 mph, but just before the planes topped we saw clear weather and the dust cloud form the crash hardly moving in the wind.

See also

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

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