Back to Squawk list
  • 38

Discovery Channel Crashes a Boeing 727 to Create a Documentary

The Discovery channel crashed a Boeing 727 into the Sonoran Desert in Mexico as part of their new documentary series titled "Curiosity". They are looking to "re-create a serious, but survivable, passenger jet crash landing with a real aircraft," Discovery said in a statement. The plane was loaded with crash test dummies and cameras to examine impact.This groundbreaking project features an actual crash of a passenger jet and explores the big questions about how to make plane… ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

jstillwell1 9
More interested in the ejection of the pilot from a 727
preacher1 3
I'd reall be interested in that. the 720 that NASA did years back was Radio controlled, and yeah, DB did it, so maybe he went out the back door
99NY 3
Hey DB Cooper did it!
Turnip579 2
Robert Goczan 3
They should have invited the FAA + FTSB. It would have been more useful. Go DB !
SunCountry737 4
It was a Champion bird too, miss seeing those in MSP...
Joan Murdock 2
What a sad way for such a fine aircraft to go or any plane for that matter. The FAA and NTSB did this years ago with a B720 but the test was a failure, one of the goals of the test was to see how a fuel additive that was supposed to reduce the atomization of jet fuel to reduce the after crash fire that will usually result after a crash. In actuallity the fire was more intense than what was anticipated ending up in a huge fireball. In regards as to who flew the last B727 this aircraft is still in service mostly in air cargo operations and also as private jets. The 727 was one of the best aircraft Boeing has ever built and economics of high fuel costs is what did it in. But has anyone ever looked into re-engining them to more fuel efficient turbofans instead of the JT8-D turbojet?
My thoughts...
Every airframe has a finite lifespan, mostly due to the economics of of upkeep, and also because commercial planes experience much more stress than even a flight school C172. For example, how many Ford Tri-motors are in flying condition today. I dare you to fly commercially from, let's say Chicago to N.Y. in one.

Re-engining? Have you ever put a Chevrolet engine in a Ford? There is not any logical reason to do so.

Still think it's a waste of an airframe? If the last test of this nature occured in the 1980's on an aged airframe of perhaps, 20 years old, that data becomes partly insufficient on airframes made last year. In a search, I found a 2007 CNN article saying the NHTSA conducts 200 vehicle crash tests every year. Didn't see anyone cry over a busted-up Kia.
Ray Zimmermann 2
N293AS . . . more info on this aircraft on Kent Wien's blog.
John Grace 2
Neat to watch. Have they calculated the carbon footprint? How are they cleaning up the crash site.

Catching up on Mayday episodes has taught me that flyby's with passengers is not a good idea, especially at an airport you're never been too with a maneuver you haven't practiced.

And are there any differences between aluminum and composite fuselage survival?

Always take the windew seat!
prancer 1
Ejected? Can anyone explain how that worked?
Eject; To throw out forcefully; expel.
preacher1 1
dat's whut I'm talkin' 'bout.
Will Randell 1
Anyone have the tail number or air-frame history of who last flew the 727...
hayes bartlett 1
Im sure that the plane was controlled by remote. Thats how NASA did there tests of some planes.
George Haksch 1
Of course, Discovery is an unassailable (liberal) channel, not like the bad.bad Fox.
abc123ucm here a video of the crash
Roland Dent 1
Pictures paint billions of words and I suppose the tests prove something. As I rmbr the 707 tube was tough and quite a few 737s part into three distinct pieces on impact these days. Maybe this is a roundabout way of convincing people that an extra ton or so of reinforcement is worth the penalty. The new composites open doors. I am not sure the market knows which ones they should open though, and the FAA of latter days has not been tough enough to bar entry on some of them. We live in hope.
What a waste, so sad, such stupidity.
Drew Archer 0
Such a waste :(
Isia Maria 1
Not getting why this is a waste? Planes are awesome but they are only objects. Ones that serve a purpose. People dying is a waste. I mean, what else would this 727 have been doing? Flying between Houston and Atlanta till it gets dismantled?

The articles mention that a) the components/materials will be collected/cleaned up and salvaged and that b) technology has improved since the 1980's. It's likely that many parties will get some data out of this that will be useful, even if it is only in regards to crash reconstruction techniques.

Too bad the costs are so high for such an experiment and clean up. There's a line of thought that thinks they should be crashed more routinely in various environments to mimic real world scenarios and figure out how to improve and analyze on disintegration, crumpling, sheering, fire suppression etc.

There's some things that computer simulations and materials and component testing just can't "see".
99NY -1
Sad ending for a 727, especially when I imagine that there isnt much more that can be gleaned from this crash than what was accomplished during the CID (Controlled Impact Demonstration) NASA carried out at Edwards with a B720 way back when.
Dubslow 3
If you gotta go, may as well go out in style (by crashing into the desert!)
Ken Jackson 0
The photo is not a Boeing 727. It's an MD-80 variant.
Kevin McEvoy 1
Last time I checked, the MD-80 family didn't have a center engine..... take another look!
linbb -1
Odd damage done in this crash unlike most that are not done when landing almost looks like it was landing when it happened rather than, one might say, falling out of the sky out of control. But wait the thing had an ejecton seat in it? Get real they used the rear door I bet just like old DB did years ago. Again nothing new learned but some tv show for everyone to pine over.
Roy Kizzia 0
I suppose it wouldn't take a brain surgeon to install an ejection seat...just a rocket scientist. :) It appears there was no fire, so did they just crash land it and get lucky or run it out of fuel first? I have no problem with destroying an old jet if they get some data that might save lives some day. I haven't flown in years. The last time was on a 727 (TWA), so I have a soft spot for them, but it isn't like they destroyed the only one left.
chalet -6
Americans are hell bent on destroying vehicles that are past their useful lifes and the (god-awful) vehicle demolition derby competitions is sickening. Not that much money would have fetched dismantling this 727 but a much cleaner story, yes. I am susprised that the Mexicans allowed all this crap strewn around in their desert.
Isia Maria 3
Since this was a joint BBC venture I can't help but wonder if the Top Gear guys were in on it. ;) They do love to destroy their caravans.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
This website uses cookies. By using and further navigating this website, you accept this.
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.