A gigantic Boeing 747 Series 400 with more than 300 passengers is almost half way from Anchorage to Narita Airport in Japan, when the airplane suddenly lurches to the left and fails to respond to the usual controls. It's determined that half the rudder has turned hard left and locked in position. The rudder governs directional control -- which way the airplane is flying. It's a critical unit.
It takes all the determination, physical strength, and imagination of the flight crew to dream up a tricky and fragile way of slowly turning the airplane around towards Anchorage. Landing at the airport is successful but extremely stressful.
It's not a terribly satisfying resolution. The investigators quickly determined how and why the rudder control failed but they can't replace the faulty part on all the 747s now flying because it would ground the entire fleet. So engineers improvise a way of stopping the rudder from flipping and locking. It's as if Sherlock Holmes had caught the robbers but Professor Moriarty had never been taken. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much. There are few programs so suspenseful.
It's done, as they all are, with newsreel footage, reenactors, and the prudent us of splendid CGIs.
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