Channel 4 Crashes Passenger Plane For TV Documentary

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A Boeing 727 passenger jet has been crash-landed in a Mexican desert as part of a scientific experiment for a documentary co-production between Channel 4, The Discovery Channel US and Pro Sieben in Germany.

The pilot ejected from the 170-seat aircraft just minutes before the collision after setting it on a crash-course. Dozens of cameras recorded the crash from inside the aircraft, on the ground, in chase planes and even on the ejecting pilot's helmet.

The resulting programme is being made by British production company Dragonfly Film and TV, and is provisionally referred to as simply ‘Plane Crash’.

According to Channel 4, “the project aims to recreate a serious, but survivable, passenger jet crash landing with a real aircraft in order to allow an international team of experts to study the crashworthiness of the aircraft's airframe and cabin as well as the impact of crashes on the human body, plus possible means of increasing passenger survivability and evaluating new ‘black box' crash-recording technology”.

The Mexico location was chosen after an extensive international search to find a suitable location offering the perfect conditions for this project.

Channel 4 senior commissioning editor, David Glover adds: "This is a ground-breaking project, allowing a team of leading scientists and crash investigators the first chance for a generation to study the crash of an entire passenger jet to investigate what really happens to the airframe and cabin of a crashing plane, as well as the effects on the human body, plus the programme asks ‘how can we make crashes more survivable?'."

Executive Producer, Sanjay Singhal, from Dragonfly says: "NASA were the last people to attempt a crash test of a full passenger jet three decades ago. Now, with the improvements in filming and remote control technology we felt that the time was right to do it again. It's never been safer to fly, but we want to use this as an opportunity to provide scientific data that might help to improve passenger safety in those extremely rare cases when a catastrophic aircraft accident does occur.”

Singhal called it “an extraordinary feat of organisation, involving up to 300 people on location, including the production team, pilots, experts, risk management, plus local crew, military, fire teams and police. This is the culmination of four years of planning and hard work."

The crash and the results of the research will be shown later this year in a feature-length documentary.


Will this programme lead to scientific developments?

Have you ever worked on a filming project that comes close to this in terms of high velocity destruction?

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