"Mayday" investigates both high-profile and little-known air disasters to uncover how and why they happened. Mayday takes viewers on board ten different flights in trouble, recreating the tension and the pressure in the cockpit and cabin.
1. Invisible Killer Delta 191 (L-1011 Tristar)...August 2 1985 - Delta Airlines Flight 191 is preparing for a landing at Dallas Fort Worth. The plane is rocked violently to the right and finally, 47 seconds after the first hint of trouble, it's slammed to the ground.
2. Gimli Glider Air Canada 143 (Boeing 767)...July 231983 - Air Canada flight 143 is on its way to Edmonton from Montreal. The plane is running out of fuel. As it descends it loses 3 both engines. A faulty computer processor disabled the plane's fuel gauges.
3. Behind Closed Doors American Airlines 96 and Turkish Airlines 981 (DC-10)...June 12 1972 - The crew of American Airlines flight 96 is preparing their new DC-10 for the short flight from Detroit, to New York. Within minutes of take-off, an explosion rips a gaping hole in the cabin. Paris, France. March 31974. Turkish Airlines flight 981 is ready to fly to London. When the aircraft reaches 11,000 feet, a huge explosion blows out the plane's cargo door.
4. Fanning the Flames South African Airlines 295 (Boeing 747 combi)...November 271987 - A South African Airlines 747 is on a routine flight from Taiwan to Johannesburg when the cabin begins filling with smoke. The flight disappears without a trace. Without further information, investigators accept that the complete story will forever remain a mystery.
5. Dead Weight Air Midwest 5481 (Beech 1900)...January 8 2003 - A small commuter aircraft prepares for a half-hour flight from Charlotte to Greenville, North Carolina. The plane clips a packed US Airways hangar and explodes. As a result of the investigation industry weight averages were adjusted.
6. Southern Storm Southern Airways Flight 242 (DC-9)...April 4 1977 - A DC-9 takes off in heavy rain for a flight from Huntsville to Atlanta, Georgia. The flight crew is expecting turbulence, but is unprepared for the increasingly dangerous weather. Suddenly the aircraft loses electrical power, and then, both engines fail.
7. Explosive Evidence Air India Flight 182 (747)...June 23 1985 - Air India Flight 182 is cruising over the Atlantic Ocean. Within hours, pieces of the aircraft and bodies are scattered on the ocean surface. Investigators suspect the aircraft was brought down by mid-air explosion caused by a sudden decompression...or by a bomb.
8. Mixed Signals Birgenair Flight 301 (Boeing 757-225)...February 6 1996 - The Dominican Republic, German tourists are waiting to board their flight to Frankfurt. Mechanical problems ground their plane - and the airline substitutes the aircraft with a Birgenair Boeing 757. The cockpit fills with the sound of the most distressing alarm known to flight crews - the stick-shaker alert. Less than five minutes after take off it slams into the Atlantic Ocean.
9. Fatal Distraction Eastern Airlines Flight 401 (Lockheed Tristar L-1011)...December 29 1972 - Eastern Airlines Flight 401 is preparing to land in Miami. The crew can't be sure their landing gear is locked. The jet crashes into a remote part of the Florida Everglades. The investigators discover that Captain Loft unintentionally disengaged ' the auto-pilot.
10. Phantom Strike Embraer Legacy 600 Business Jet I Gol Flight 907 (Boeing 737)... September 29 2006 - A sleek Legacy business jet is being delivered to New York. Passengers are horrified to see part of the plane's wing has been sheared off. Another plane, a Boeing 737 with 154 people on board has crashed nearby. Are the events on the Legacy and the crash of the GOL flight related, but how?