An Airbus A300 flying for DHL is struck by a ground-to-air missile on the left wing tip, shortly after take-off from Baghdad. With damage that included loss of all hydraulics, the aircraft crew struggles to land safely.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Narrator (voice)
...
Captain Eric Genotte
...
Steve Michielsen - Co-pilot
Hrant Alianak ...
Mario Rafoil - Flight Engineer
...
ATC Controller
...
US Firefighter (as Mathew Robert Willson)
Sean Clement ...
Apache Pilot
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Claudine Vernier-Palliez
George Ghali ...
Abu Abdallah
Kevork Arslanian ...
Iraqi Fixer / Translator
Nir Maman ...
Iraqi Soldier
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dennis E. Fitch ...
Himself - Former Training Captain, United Airlines (as Dennis Fitch)
Eric Gennotte ...
Himself - Captain, DHL
Dave Hayes ...
Himself - Airline Pilots Association
Steeve Michielsen ...
Himself - First Officer DHL
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Storyline

An Airbus A300 flying for DHL is struck by a ground-to-air missile on the left wing tip, shortly after take-off from Baghdad. With damage that included loss of all hydraulics, the aircraft crew struggles to land safely.

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Release Date:

21 September 2005 (USA)  »

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At the start of the program the wrong aircraft is seen taking off. The plane shown is an L-1011, not an A300. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wonton Destruction
11 March 2017 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

A DHL cargo plane takes off from Baghdad Airport carrying three crew and thousands of letters from military personnel during the Iraqi war. The Iraqi Army, whom we have just liberated from the yoke of Saddam Hussein, were faced with improvised terrorist groups and fled, leaving their arms behind in multiple caches worth millions of dollars.

The terrorists now use one of the shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles on the DHL cargo plane. They are overjoyed when they're able to clip the trailing edge of the left wing just after take off. The wing stays on but some leaking fuel burns modestly. Worse, the airplane loses all its hydraulic fluid, which enables the pilot to manage the control surfaces.

With no hydraulics the airplane does whatever it wants to do, so to speak, and begins a series of sinoidal climbs and dives. The crew discover that they can roughly control the airplane using nothing but the thrust of the two engines. Under a pressure that can only be imagines, they are able to turn the airplane around and land it on the runway, although they run off the pavement and plow through the sand at the end, No one had ever safely landed an airplane with no hydraulics before. It's a magnificent feat of airmanship and the crew is properly rewarded.

Almost as interesting as the stricken airplane are the terrorists who shoot it down. The incident was filmed by two French journalists who though it was a bluff. The airport was occupied by what they considered enemy troops (American and Australian) but they had no idea who or what the target airplane was. It was an opportunistic shot. (They later fired a second missile and missed.) The terrorists boast about the hundreds of enemy they've killed. (They're lying.) What's required to solve this problem is not aviation experts but social scientists.


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