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Mayday: Air Disasters (2003)

Greg Lanning , Bryn Higgins  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Greg Lanning, Bryn Higgins, Gary Lang, Bernard Vaillot
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: E1 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009
  • Run Time: 312 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,307 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mayday: Air Disasters" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

As seen on National Geographic Channel as “Air Emergency”

Hold on to your seat! Each episode of this white-knuckled, thrilling series features a detailed re-enactment of a real-life air emergency. Using cockpit voice recorders and air traffic control transcripts, as well as eyewitness accounts and interviews with aviation experts, Mayday: Air Disasters provides an exciting and compelling look at the critical moments before, during and after these catastrophes and near-misses.

Includes Six Gripping Episodes:

“Unlocking Disaster” – At an altitude of 33,000 feet, the cargo door of Flight 811 opens, ripping a huge hole in the 747 and taking out five rows of seats and nine passengers.

“Racing the Storm” – At the height of thunderstorm season in Arkansas, American Airlines 1420 slips off a wet runway, down an embankment and breaks apart.

“Fire on Board” – The pilot of Swissair Flight 111 smells smoke in the cockpit. Minutes later, fire and complete electrical failure cause the MD11 to crash into the Atlantic.

“Flying Blind” – As Aeroperu Flight 603 takes off from Lima, its airspeed and altitude indicators jam. The flight crew is flying blind and heading for disaster.

“Cutting Corners” – Shortly after Air Alaska Flight 261 takes off, the stabilizer malfunctions. The pilots struggle to control the nose-diving plane before it crashes into the ocean.

“Flying on Empty” – An Air Transat Airbus runs out of fuel over the Atlantic and has to glide to a power-free landing, narrowly avoiding catastrophe.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to further releases... September 28, 2009
Verified Purchase
Hurray! I've been a huge fan of this series for a number of years (it also airs under alternate names like Air Crash Investigations in various countries). This is the first "season" of the series, which currently has 6 seasons of episodes, with something like 60 or so episodes. This is one of my all-time favorite documentary series featuring nice analytical and engaging storytelling and excellent production quality (typically far better than the average documentary). While later episodes would feature somewhat more advanced production quality, this first batch is still excellently produced.

Later episodes of the series aired in HD, but I don't ever recall seeing these earlier episodes in HD. An extra bonus for this set is that it's in anamorphic widescreen. Having only seen these early ones in their 4x3 aspect ratio, it was nice to see them in their full 16x9 aspect ration.

To the folks at Koch and National Geographic, PLEASE continue releasing this series. I'll absolutely purchase them all. And heck, it'd be extra cool to get the ones produced for it released in high def.

UPDATE: These episodes on the DVD's are definitely extended from the aired versions I've got previous recordings of. The couple episodes I compared had some 6+ more minutes on this DVD version (interview clips with family & survivors less important to the narrative seem to be a favorite for cuts). Each episode clocks in at 52 minutes, give or take a few seconds.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mayday Air Disasters March 15, 2010
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I have watched the National Geographic series about Air Disasters for sometime now and it is done in a superb manner. This DVD set depicts well documented and very accurate information about these disasters as well as reports of post-air disaster information and how there were settlements by Airline Companies relative to what had occured. The series is done so well that you actually feel a part of the flights because of so much detail and how it is presented. I really don't find these accidents interesting except for the NTSB facts and the accuracy of how they were presented. It was as much of a learning experience for me as well as an unbelieveable way to stay completely glued to to watching a documentary. It is fascinating to watch.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars very basic DVDs, but a good show September 15, 2012
Verified Purchase
There are two Mayday DVD sets available in the USA right now - this one (which contains six episodes - season 1 - of the series), and a 10-DVD set that contains 23 episodes - seasons 3 and 4.

The two-DVD set reviewed here is very basic. The packaging for the DVDs in a regular two-DVD case containing only the DVDs and an advertisement for other DVD sets. The DVDs themselves are also quite plain. There are no subtitles or closed captions, alternate languages, or extra features - merely an opening menu and three episodes per DVD. The image quality of the episodes is not particularly good - which could either be the transfer or simply the quality of the source material.

Comparing the 10-DVD set to this one, the 10-DVD set is a better value for the money. For barely twice the price of the two-DVD set, you get nearly four times the episodes. The episodes in the 10-disc set are from later in the series when the production values had improved. The video quality of the 10-dvd set is noticeably better than the video quality of the two-disc set.

I'd recommend a purchase of this set if you already have the 10-disc set and want some more episodes to watch. if you don't have the 10-disc set, get that first.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAYDAY AIR DISASTERS February 22, 2009
A Kid's Review
Mayday air disasters is my favoritw tv show it is also known as air emergency or air crash investigation its shown on natgeo and this website is the only place you can get it. its fun its educational anyone who like planes will enjoy this show!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you on the edge of your seat February 7, 2011
Verified Purchase
This couldn't get better! I always loved watching this show on Nat Geo. Anyone with an interest in aviation should watch this show. It's all about what happened in the past and how they made aviation so safe today. My favorite episode isn't on these discs: Mystery Crashes. Mystery crashes is about how three random 737 jets rolling randomly on their sides. After 2 crashes, the third jet to roll over lands safely. Ten years from the first crash they discover that a cold rudder control unit and hot hydraulic fluid would cause the rudder to jam and sometimes reverse! After this discovery, all 737 jets have been modified to fix this and all pilots are trained on the possibility of this ever happening again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS WAS VERY EXCELLENT!! January 2, 2011
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nightmares that came true August 20, 2010
Verified Purchase
These are six accidents of commercial jetliners worthy of re-creation and analysis. For me the most fascinating was the "Flying Blind" episode, where, prior to the flight, a mechanic had taped over the static ports of the Aeroperu 757 to clean the aircraft but then forgot to remove the tape. After takeoff, the tape caused flight instrumentation to generate erratic data and the pilots could not deduce the problem before descending into the ocean. A critical link in the error chain was the fact that the pilots relied on the air traffic controller for their altitude, a measurement that was actually generated by the airplane's own faulty readings and transmitted to the controller, who read it back to them. The black, moonless night literally kept the pilots in the dark about their real altitude until it was too late.

For all flight crew reenactments, the screenplays are taken verbatim from the cockpit voice recordings and are rendered with chilling realism. At times you feel like you're in the cockpit with the crew, helplessly watching them make crucial decisions that seal the fate of all souls onboard.

One other thing of note: The final, 80-second dive of Alaska Airlines flight 261 was, in all likelihood, even more terrifying than the reenactment as shown in "Mayday." According to the captain of a Skywest jet that was in the area at the time (see the NTSB's "Operations/Human Performance" report for the accident), flight 261, at one point, curved up until "it appeared to nearly stop, and then the nose fell back to the horizontal, leaving the airplane inverted," and then it "did an indescribable maneuver during which it appeared to tumble end-over-end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Job
Great stories and well produced.
Published 7 days ago by Fly757Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend
Again another one of the mayday series that keeps one on the chair to watch till the end. Very well done.
Published 7 days ago by LAW
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie !
Very good movie for those who cherish aviation safety; it brings to light how something seemingly insignificant has ended in tragety ! Some of these were surely miracles ! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Milton Anguyo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great REAL information on airline disasters and the causes. Very informative, especially for any aviation buff!
Published 2 months ago by pdrblb
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic movie
It has six episodes and they are all true stories, this film is so fantastic I bought for my special friends as gifts for Christmas. All keep you at the edge of your seat. Read more
Published 6 months ago by J.C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie.
i prefer the uk version.
but then again it was a great product. I hope you guys can carry the uk version.
Published 7 months ago by SonicTheHedgehog
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
It is as advertised, very interesting, and it came in great condition. It was a good read and an easy read.
Published 8 months ago by Linda Hoare
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lessons
If only life were more like this, where we studied our mistakes learned from them and passed on that wisdom. The world would be a much better place.
Published 8 months ago by M. Reardon
5.0 out of 5 stars Must watch
I travel for work, hence fly on a weekly basis. I still wanted to have a look at this DVD, its an awesome piece of collection of various crash episodes. Read more
Published 8 months ago by iknaappan
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Collection!
This collection and the other Mayday collection are must-haves. Personally I find this series the best out of all productions. DVD quality is great, as is production values.
Published 8 months ago by DLRamos
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