Dozens of cameras record a Boeing 727 passenger jet deliberately crash-land in a remote Mexican desert as part of a scientific experiment which will be shown on Channel 4.
The pilot ejected the 170-seat aircraft just minutes before the collision – there were no injuries or damage to property.
The plane did not have any passengers on board but was filled with scientific experiments, including crash test dummies.
Dozens of cameras recorded the crash from inside the aircraft, on the ground and on the ejecting pilot’s helmet.
The project aimed 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 ways of increasing passenger survivability and evaluating new ‘black box’ crash-recording technology.
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. Sanjay Singhal, Dragonfly Film and Television Productions
The plane was crashed in a remote and unpopulated part of the Sonoran Desert of Baja California, Mexico on Friday. The experiment followed a full safety review by the highly-qualified pilots and commanders as well as the Mexican authorities.
Head of Factual at Channel 4, Ralph Lee, said a number of factors were considered when deciding on the location: “We had to have the right conditions – the right environment, the right kind of ground surface and a place amenable to hosting it.”
He told Channel 4 News that the scientists involved were “really excited” about the outcome: “They’re working through all the data to see what they can learn from it.”
Nasa were the last people to attempt a crash test of a full passenger jet almost 30 years ago.
Executive Producer, Sanjay Singhal, from Dragonfly Film and Television Productions said that with improvements in filming and remote control technology it was felt that the time was right to do it again.
He added: “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.
“This has been 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 accompanying research will be shown later this year in a feature-length documentary on Channel 4 in the UK, Discovery in the US, plus Pro Sieben in Germany.