7 user 5 critic

Mayday at 40,000 Feet! (1976)

The co-pilot and engineer of a passenger jet struggle to keep the plane airborne until it can reach an open airfield after a killer aboard the plane fires a gun at an engine and pilot of the plane.


Robert Butler


Austin Ferguson (teleplay), Dick Nelson (teleplay) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
David Janssen ... Captain Pete Douglass
Don Meredith ... Mike Fuller
Christopher George ... Stan Burkhart
Ray Milland ... Dr. Joseph Mannheim
Lynda Day George ... Cathy Armello
Margaret Blye ... Susan Mackenzie (as Maggie Blye)
Marjoe Gortner ... Greco
Broderick Crawford ... Marshal Riese
Tom Drake ... Harry Jensen
Christopher Norris ... Cindy Jensen
Hari Rhodes ... Belson (as Harry Rhodes)
Warren Vanders Warren Vanders ... Glen Meyer
Shani Wallis ... Terry Dunlap
Jane Powell ... Kitty Douglass
William Bryant ... Kent (as Bill Bryant)


A Boeing 727 airliner belonging to Transcon Airways is scheduled to depart from Los Angeles en route to New York via a pit stop in Salt Lake City. Flight 602 is under the care of Captain Pete Douglas, First Officer Stan Burkhart and Second Officer Mike Fuller. The overall atmosphere on the flight is upbeat, despite Captain Pete Douglas' absent-mindedness due to his worries about his wife's upcoming surgery. Her doctors want to remove a lump in her breast before it becomes malign. The captain also worries about the announced snow storm that prompted some airports to close. He hopes to arrive to his destination in New York before the storm intensifies. The airplane makes its scheduled stop in Salt Lake City where it's refueled and takes on a few more passengers. Among the new passengers are an extradited prison inmate and his U.S. Marshals escort who are also traveling to New York. The aging Marshal has heart problems but is otherwise strong as a bull and is well armed. After leaving ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A crippled plane. A crazed convict.... See more »


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Was theatrically released in France. See more »

User Reviews

Great Actors At 40,000 Feet.
2 July 2020 | by StuOzSee all my reviews

Routine disaster movie but with a knockout cast.

With a couple of exceptions, I know the whole cast of this film from other productions of the 60s or 70s - be it be QM's The Fugitive or Earthquake or whatever! That is the appeal of this film. I joyfully walked down memory lane and turned a blind eye to some of the film's dull areas (before they all get on the plane).

But if you don't know and love the cast like me - you mind this flick too routine in plot to bother with?

My vote for most memorable character is the grumpy old doctor (played by Ray Milland).

It looks like 1976 was David Janssen's year of disaster movies as he appeared in the cinema released Two-Minute Warning in the same year.

The film features a brief racist remark that I never expected in a 70s network TV movie.

Directed by Robert Butler and this is the main talking point I have about this film. In the 60s Butler directed pilots and episodes of some of TV's greatest shows (Adam West Batman, Star Trek, QM's The Invaders) so whenever I see his name at the start of a film/show - I expect massive fireworks from what is to come. When we only get mild fireworks (as is the case here) I feel a little short changed.

Mayday at 40,000 Feet is okay.

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Release Date:

12 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Boing 707 - Panikos stous aitheres See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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