On 9 October 2002, Northwest Airlines flight 85 is cruising at 35,000 feet (10,668 metres) above the Bering Sea on its way to Tokyo, when its lower rudder suddenly deflects to the left.

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Narrator (voice)
Peter Maxwell ...
Captain Geib
...
Captain Hanson
Philip Shepherd ...
First Officer Fagan
Karin Coulter McPherson ...
Flight Attendant
...
Air Traffic Controller
Deborah Merrick ...
NTSB Investigator
Mike Petersen ...
John Doherty
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On 9 October 2002, Northwest Airlines flight 85 is cruising at 35,000 feet (10,668 metres) above the Bering Sea on its way to Tokyo, when its lower rudder suddenly deflects to the left.

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Release Date:

29 December 2011 (Canada)  »

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Goofs

The reconstruction shows the plane landing on runway 14 whereas in reality, the flight landed on runway 6R. See more »

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User Reviews

 
No Turns Allowed.
30 August 2016 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

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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