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DVD Reviews: Frontiers of Flight Vol. 3

The Final Say!

Review Score
Reviewed by Alex Gowan
Review Date: 15 January 2003
Distributed by: Magna Pacific
Running Time: 210 Minutes

“Hello passengers this is your captain speaking, please fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride as we journey into the exciting world of airborne pursuits”.  Well that is probably not what you would hear on your next flight to Sydney but if you are to view this DVD, especially with Dolby Surround speakers you too would feel the exhilarating rush of taking to the skies that is shown to great extravagance in this package.  The most surprising aspect of this product is the wealth of knowledge that can be gleamed from the experience of slapping this in your shiny DVD player. 

To give you a cross section of what is contained on this DVD I will go through giving an overview and then discuss the highlights of these chapters in order from start to finish.  Then I will say whether or not they are worth your attention as either an educational tool or just as pure entertainment value. 

At the start of each chapter there is a short interlude to tantalise the taste buds.  These are only a view through a keyhole at the abundant amount of information that is to be seen in the subsequent chapters.   

Chapter 1 “The Sound Barrier” shows the steps taken during the early 1950’s to work towards blasting through the sound barrier.  Chuck Yeagar is the pilot in this exciting but dangerous undertaking and is interviewed at length.  Adding to some of the most important archives in history.  The aircraft had to be jet powered, have a narrow wing and released from the underbelly of a B52.  Highlights include the interviewing of Chuck Yeagar and of course when the speed of sound is breached.  This chapter is very informative and did not suffer the guillotine like movement of my thumb on the fast forward or stop button. 

Chapter 2 “The Jet Airliner” exhibitions the refinement and development of the latter by the spearheading team at Boeing.  Tex Johnston makes a return into the series and was one of the first pilots to test these “birds”.  Boeing poured one quarter of its worth into a demonstration model to take the lead in the world as passenger freighting machines.  Highlights include when Tex Johnston does a barrel roll over Washingtons Lake in a Boeing 707, a fairly illustrious aircraft, angering the powers that be at Boeing’s head office.

This chapter while slightly less interesting than the first, was still intriguing and worth watching for most of the duration of the feature. 

Chapter 3, “The Threshold of Space” looks back behind the cockpit of time to see new aircraft break more records in air-bound achievements.  Speeds reach twice the speed of sound and beyond.  There is a new phenomenon called “Inertia Coupling” which threatens to halt progress in the avenue of high speed flight by rendering the controls of the aircraft temporarily useless when flying at these high speeds.  Spinning out of control became a common occurrence but soon this problem is rectified and once again velocity begins to reach new heights.  The fastest plane featured, the Orbital X15, reaches Mach 6.7 or a speed of 4500 mph. This section is a great inclusion and really makes us land lovers want to jump into an aeroplane and experience it all for ourselves.  Good educational value also.


Chapter 4 “Space and Back” In this chapter, Mason Adams the narrator takes us back to 1966 when the U.S.A was testing craft that would take man into outer space.  In 1966 The M2 F2 the first vehicle designed to fly into outer space and back under manned control was tested.  These test machines were the basis of design for the Space Shuttle “Enterprise” and had no wings.  Instead the body of the fuselage was designed to act as an aerodynamic lifting structure.   There were many problems NASA had to overcome including control and landing issues.  Highlights include the rolling out of the Enterprise, the first space shuttle that we are all now familiar with.  This shuttle was designed to take man to outer space and back safely.  We are shown the first successful launch on its maiden debut.  A curious fact of these launches were that even though the rockets are launched straight up with immense power, the pilot only experienced 1 or 2 G’s, contrary to what we see in TV shows and film.  This chapter was without a doubt an incredibly interesting segment in the series and we still have not discussed chapter 5, which is even more intriguing.  The educational value was also good for young aviators.


Chapter 5 “The Last World Record” was about the latter achieved in a wide light, flimsy, aeroplane with only two engines.  This chapter shows the trials and tribulations of the couple that set out to achieve this amazing feat.  After encountering many issues including technical, weather, fatigue problems Dick and Yeanna Yeagar (no relation to Chuck) flew for many days non-stop, non-fuelled around the world.  This was an extremely moving experience for the ones involved and is an entertaining watch.  This was probably the most interesting chapter thus far.  It is full of romance, tenacity and hardship for those involved.  It will move you at about 10 G’s and really make you want to jump in an aeroplane to experience it all for yourself. Highly recommended!.

Frontiers of Flight Vol. 3 Features

  • Scene Selections
  • Dolby Digital 2.1


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