terror in the skies

In an age of aviation, where technological advances have decreased the number of accidents in the sky, these very contributions have enabled access to an influx of footage and first hand experiences through the increased use of mobile phones and video cameras to record disasters.

Terror in the Skies is one of the many tele-documentary series that aim to shine a light on aeroplane disasters. Through a combination of real footage, passenger testimonials, and delving into the science behind various causes, the series seeks to explore the stresses and struggles of the aviation industry, and how these affect accidents in the sky.

terror in the skies plane crash

What differentiates Terror in the Skies from counter-part series such as Air Crash Investigation (Mayday 2003) or Seconds from Disaster (2004) is its clinical approach. Each episode focuses on a variety of case studies, as opposed to the usual single case study, which are characterized by a single theme, for example, pilot error, nature, or plane malfunctions. By avoiding re-enactments the series appears less dramatized, which is further supported by the inclusion of real life footage taken by passengers or eyewitnesses. Several times I found myself in a perpetual tense state, either because of the lead up to an impending disaster, having already had the necessary information regarding the accident imprinted on my mind, or by listening to the first hand experiences of passengers and seeing the accident through their eyes, in essence.

terror in the skies nature

The aim of the Terror in the Skies is clearly education over entertainment, which is exemplified through candid interviews with credible sources from Air Traffic Control, National Transport Safety Board, and a mixture of scientists, reporters and pilots. The series avoids the unwelcome label of ‘disaster porn’ by steering clear of particularly morbid cases, and instead focusing on incidents with a high survival rate. The show is designed for those with an interest in aviation, while the faint-hearted should avoid, as it will do nothing to alleviate ones fear of flying.


Prd: Charles Poe, David Royle, Jill Fullerton Smith, Tom Brisley, Thomas Viner

Cast: Jullian Gillard, Brendan Walker

Country: UK/USA

Year: 2013

Episodes: 4

Total Runtime: 180 mins

Terror in the Skies will be released on DVD by Simply Media on 3rd October 2016. Watch the trailer below.