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Mayday: Air Disasters

4.7 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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(Apr 07, 2009)
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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.


Special Features

None.

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.)
  • 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 (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PCNZHM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,423 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mayday: Air Disasters" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Guy G. Gordon on 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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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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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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A Kid's Review on February 22, 2009
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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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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Mayday: Air Disasters is exactly as described and expected. No doubt most people here have seen at least one episode on television so no need to go into details about the content itself. The picture quality is good, the same good quality dramatizations, etc. are all still here. Anyone who is into passenger aviation or air disasters will love this set. I only wish they would put out more of the series on DVD.
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Mayday, a.k.a. Air Emergency or Air Craft Emergency, is a simply amazing and fascinating series that recreates some of the most maddening and disastrous airplane crashes and incidents in history. My personal favorite on this 6-episode set is "Racing The Storm", showing how pilot decisions plus bad weather plus changing conditions equals a ghastly crash that could have been avoided if even ONE of the links in the chain had been skipped. (For those unfamiliar: The ultimate cause of the crash was the cockpit crew forgetting to arm the plane's wing spoilers--flaps that "spoil" the airflow over the wings and transfer weight to the landing gear--thus dooming their already-dicey landing on a wet runway during a thunderstorm with wind shear.) The last 30 minutes of the flight, where everything changes from calm to chaotic, is recreated from the CVR and FDR and brilliantly re-enacted.

My one gripe is that the DVDs themselves seem to be fairly cheaply made--my first set scratched up with just a handful of transfers in and out of my laptop's DVD player. It's a testimony to how good the series is that I'm willing to buy a new set just to get these episodes again.
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