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Though these days flying has never been safer, everyday, somewhere in the world, there is an aviation near miss. In Channel 4′s new series Terror in the Skies, aeronautical engineer Brendan Walker brings his expert eye to amazing footage of aviation incidents and near misses, as he asks what do they tell us about safety in the sky? Brendan focuses on some of the most amazing stories of aviation survival and bravery from the last couple of years, and uncovers some shocking incidents. These include times that pilots and air traffic controllers have fallen asleep as well as planes that have been struck by lightning or volcanic ash.
|S01E01||Pilot Error||09/06/2013||Pilots can make mistakes, but as planes become more complex and automation becomes more advanced, they're making different kinds of errors. As more and more incidents are caught on camera by passengers, what's being discovered behind the cockpit door can be shocking: pilots falling asleep, having breakdowns, sometimes forgetting to land; and some of them don't have the experience to know what to do when things go wrong. These are the people we trust with our lives every time we board a plane, but they're more and more reliant on computers, and sometimes too tired to fly safely. Is flying becoming more pressurised and are we asking pilots to do the impossible? As well as examining shocking video and audio footage, Brendan visits some of the world's leading aviation research centres to take part in hands-on experiments that give an insight into the near misses that can put passengers' lives in danger.|
|S01E02||Technical Meltdown||16/06/2013||This opening programme asks: as planes get more and more technologically complex, have we reached the point where there's always a chance that something could go wrong? In recent years, two new airliners have been grabbing the headlines and not always for the right reasons. The Boeing Dreamliner and the Airbus A380 have both suffered disastrous technical failures. The Dreamliner is the first plane to be grounded for safety reasons in 30 years. Amazingly, the batteries that have been causing all the problems are considered so dangerous that they cannot be carried in the hold; the only problem is that they are essential to power the plane's systems. Meanwhile, the A380 has suffered engine explosion, tyre burst and wing cracks, all within weeks of coming into service. As fail safes fail, and tried and tested designs break down in unexpected ways, are airplanes now too complex ever to be 100% safe?|
|S01E03||Small Mistakes||23/06/2013||It doesn't just take a pilot and his crew to fly a plane. From air traffic control to maintenance, beyond the cockpit there is a complex network of many people and processes required to maintain aircraft and keep them in the air. And things can go wrong. This episode examines the problems that might condemn a flight before it even leaves the ground.|
|S01E04||Nature Strikes Back||30/06/2013||Professor Brendan Walker looks at what happens when we fly into hazards thrown up by nature, from lightning to invisible wind shear, bird strikes and volcanic ash. As well as examining what happens when a bird hits an engine, Brendan finds out how planes deal with lightning, how difficult it can be to predict turbulence when flying over the ocean, and what measures are in place to prevent the next massive volcano-induced shutdown of global aviation. Today, we fly as if nature isn't an issue, but nature continues to strike back.|