14 user 2 critic

Flight from Hell (1993)

Mercy Mission: The Rescue of Flight 771 (original title)
A pilot ferrying a crop duster aircraft, from the United States to Australia, gets lost over the south Pacific Ocean and the pilot of a commercial airliner is his only hope of being found.


Roger Young




Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Loggia ... Gordon Vette
Scott Bakula ... Jay Parkins
Rebecca Rigg ... Ellen
Alan Fletcher ... Frank
Mike Bishop Mike Bishop ... First Officer Mann (as Michael Bishop)
Kit Taylor ... Capt. Warren Banks
Suzie MacKenzie Suzie MacKenzie ... Vanessa Cross (as Suzie Mackenzie)
Steven Tandy Steven Tandy ... Operations Officer Hudson
Robert Benedetti Robert Benedetti ... Harry Hanson
Sarah Kemp Sarah Kemp ... Hillary Vette
Ingrid McKillop Ingrid McKillop ... Teacher
Peter Kent Peter Kent ... Enthusiastic Man
Sean Sturgess Sean Sturgess ... Nervous Man
Eddy Sentosa Eddy Sentosa ... Doctor
Lafe Charlton Lafe Charlton ... David


Jay is ordered to fly Cessna flight 30771 from the States to Sydney, with stopovers at Honolulu, Pago Pago and Norfolk Island. He's joined by Frank, who flies another Cessna. Frank crashes while taking off at Pago Pago, so Jay has to find Norfolk Island on his own. He gets lost and almost runs out of fuel. He contacts Gordon Vette by accident, the pilot of the ANZ 308, a plane with 88 passengers on board. He and his crew are the only ones who can save Jay. But to save him, they first have to find him... Written by Tony Kessen <rhkessen@cs.vu.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The Flight Engineer of the DC-10 jet later lost his life in an aircraft accident on a tourist sight-seeing flight in Antarctica. Captain Gordon Vette (the captain of this search flight) wrote a book about his colleague's death entitled "Impact Erebus", published in 1983 See more »


When the sunset check is done by Jay in the aircraft and Auckland Center members outside the tower, they don't take into account the altitude/elevation of the aircraft and the ATC members. The aircraft appears to be less than than 100' above the water while the ATC members are at some undetermined height (looking from a railing part way up the control tower). Not checking beforehand could induce a significant error when the time was checked. See more »


Gordon Vette: 771, this is 308. What are your vital statistics?
Jay Parkins: I've gotten down to take a look at the ocean. Fuel gauge is low. Airspeed 110 knots. All I can see is... water and sky. I've been up there for 14 hours. Everything is starting to look the same.
Gordon Vette: Hang in there, 771. We're going to find you. Just call us on 121.5 every two minutes so we can determine whether we're within 200 miles of each other.
Jay Parkins: Will do, thanks. Listen, 308? You're not really out there for search and rescue, aren't you? I mean... no ...
See more »

User Reviews

A tense rescue drama made for aviation buffs.
11 June 1999 | by Larry-98See all my reviews

Mercy Mission: The Rescue of Flight 771 is a tense rescue drama, made-to-order for aviation buffs! The movie starts off by introducing the main character, Jay Parkins, (played by Scott Bakula), as a kind of a rogue, itinerant pilot, unwilling to settle down to the daily grind of an airline cockpit, and preferring to take on risky flying jobs where and when he can find them. Jay and his friend Frank (Alan Fletcher), take on the task of ferrying two Piper Ag Cats, which are crop dusting aircraft, on a long-haul over the Pacific Ocean all the way from San Francisco to Australia. Obviously, the premise is ridiculous, but the movie is supposed to be based on a true story, so somewhere, there had to be two pilots crazy enough to actually try this stunt!

Predictably, problems plague the mission. First, Frank cracks up on take off from Pago Pago, leaving Jay to continue the rest of the trip alone. Then, through a combination of mechanical failures and poor judgment, Jay gets over the Pacific Ocean on the last leg of the trip. Fortunately, both his HF and VHF radios still work, and he calls for help from an Air Traffic Control center in New Zealand. This is where Captain Gordon Vette, played by bad-guy Robert Loggia in a refreshingly non-type cast role, comes to the rescue. Utilizing a very plausible air-to-air search procedure, Capt. Vette and his Air New Zealand flight crew locate Jay, and ultimately help navigate him to safety. I won't give away any more of the plot details, but suffice it to say that as a highly critical aviation movie buff, this movie did very little to annoy me, or insult my intelligence as someone with more than a passing knowledge of aviation. Technical assistance was very good.

The "goofs" note the transformation of the ANZ commercial aircraft from a B-737 to a B-767, but that sort of continuity problem is common and pretty much must be overlooked, since stock footage is cheaper than setting up a location shot just to depict a jet airliner take-off.

The thing I enjoyed most about this film is the likeability of the characters, which were developed just enough to let us get to know them enough to care about them. The real Capt. Vette, an American Ex-Air Force pilot stationed in New Zealand after marrying a local girl, seems to be the ideal of the individualistic, capable, yet compassionate airline Captain -- someone into whose hands you would gladly trust your life. This is what film does best -- portray the human condition in a manner which makes the viewer identify with the characters and the situation. The rest of the plot elements -- Jay's long-suffering wife, who would prefer the financial security of her husband's boredom in an airline cockpit, Jay's side-kick Frank, who wasn't thrilled about the "mission" in the first place, and the people on the ground and aboard the Air New Zealand flight who work together to make the rescue mission work -- are all done just right, and greatly help the viewer enjoy the film!

I give this movie 3 1/2 propeller blades out of four! It is a very interesting movie which I recommend to all aviation enthusiasts!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 14 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



Australia | USA



Release Date:

13 December 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flight from Hell See more »

Filming Locations:

Australia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed