Published on August 9th, 2016 | by Chris O'Connor
Air Crash Investigation Season 14 DVD Review
Summary: If CSI was about air travel.
My wife is fascinated with Air Crash Investigations… she watches it almost without fail. So when the chance to review season 14 popped up… I would be foolish to let the opportunity pass me by.
Air Crash Investigations is a very interesting show… it essentially takes a forensic look into air traffic incidents (I say that rather than crashes because sometimes there aren’t crashes… just big issues that need looking into). Typically the show starts with a segment of re-enactment, this then continues to play out throughout the episode as we start to see the investigations begin.
Where possible the investigations take place starting at the location of impact with the most important items to be recovered being the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) and the flight data recorder. With these two items the investigators can get an insight into what was happening in the cockpit between the pilot and crew and with any luck also what was happening with the instruments.
The next important pieces of evidence are the remains of the plane itself. Even the smallest part can yield invaluable information that can help solve the question of what happened.
Season 14 contains some episodes that stand out more than others, simply because of who is involved. Nikki Lauda and his airline feature in one episode. The tragic death of John F Kennedy Jr along with his wife and sister in law. The begining of the end for Concorde also features.
Whilst watching Air Crash Investigation (as it is known locally though many of the episodes feature their Canadian name of Mayday), it could be easy to get fearful of flight. Seeing all the different ways planes can come down, from freak weather events to pilot disorientation. But you could take the approach my father does. Though his exposure to Air Crash Investigations has primarily been through books, he takes the approach that every flight that goes down and is investigated, leads to improvements in safety in the air travel industry and he is right. If you find yourself getting a bit nervous about the idea of flying after watching the bulk of an episode… pay close attention to the end. The summary for episodes tends to go over what has happened since the given crash or incident. Things such as changing instrumentation to avoid confusion to changing the way shifts are handled for pilots, the investigations really delve as deep as they can to discover what went wrong and why and then to set about fixing the problems so that the problem never happens again.
The re-enactments in the series are also to be commended, the actors are always very natural in their performances and help to bring the stories to life. I have started a bit of a game with my wife however with regards the actors in the NTSB and similar buildings… there are some who are clearly only being paid as “background talent”… if they were to speak they would be classed at a higher pay rate so it’s fun to watch just how “emotive” they can be with their faces or hands. If you’re watching an episode… watch the investigators in their office… typically there will be one speaking performer and then one or two “featured” extras who get a lot of screen time but are never heard.
It’s also interesting to hear how often and how easy it is to lose orientation when flying at night or in poor weather conditions. I was fortunate enough recently to review a new flight sim that gives you control of the environment and similar factors and I was able to program some of these situations in to it and see what it was like… I can confirm that without good visibility it is very easy to lose your bearings and I can readily understand how someone could end up very quickly in a situation they can’t get out of.
If you like investigation shows or want to feel safer about air travel (if you can view it the right way)… this is a great set to get… it’s a hint under 500 minutes long too so there’s plenty of viewing to be had for the price.