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Television Transportation Science Technology

Discovery Channel Crashes a Boeing 727 For Science Documentary 281

Posted by samzenpus
from the crashing-for-ratings dept.
conner_bw writes "A Boeing 727 passenger jet has been deliberately crash-landed. The pilot ejected just minutes before the collision. The plane was packed with scientific experiments, including crash test dummies. Dozens of cameras recorded the crash from inside the aircraft, on the ground, in chase planes and even on the ejecting pilot's helmet. All of this was done for a feature length documentary to be shown on the Discovery Channel later this year."
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Discovery Channel Crashes a Boeing 727 For Science Documentary

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  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:04AM (#39842347)

    First cool thing Discovery Channel has done in like... 10 years?

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garfnodie (683999) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:24AM (#39842419)
    I know. I've been watching Discovery and other channels like it since before it was cool to watch that kind of stuff, but now the main channels are mostly full of stupid reality crap. You have to go to Science, H2, NatGeo, Green, BBC, Bio, etc to find good stuff, and not all cable or satellite providers offer all of those newer networks, much less offer them on the lower packages.
  • Re:Decadence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Firethorn (177587) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:40AM (#39842461) Homepage Journal

    It's not a 747, it's a 727. A quick search of www.aviatorsale.com shows you can get one for ~$5M, not $800M. Some prices are less than a million, but I figure those are for non-operational planes. Production stopped in 1984, so you know they didn't bust up a new one. I figure they used a plane equivalent to the junker cars mythbusters and such destroy regularly.

    Then you turn around and contact various agencies to get them to 'sponsor' the crash, allowing them to place scientific experiments(like the crash test dummies) on board for a share of the overall cost.

    Done right, Discover could have gotten it's cost of the documentary down to the cost of the film crews.

  • Re:Decadence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomePgmr (2021234) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:44AM (#39842467) Homepage
    I assumed the same. And they're not new to this. If they were going to lose big money on it, they wouldn't have done it.
  • Series name (Score:5, Insightful)

    by David Gerard (12369) <slashdotNO@SPAMdavidgerard.co.uk> on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:36AM (#39842635) Homepage

    "BECAUSE WE CAN: Doing Cool Shit Just Fucking Because."

  • Re:Decadence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:46AM (#39842673) Journal

    We've already done that. The US, USSR, French and British have all exploded nuclear bombs, and the footage is available on YouTube. The USA even seriously irradiated a Japanese fishing vessel in one of these explosions, and some of the crew died from radiation sickness.

  • by locopuyo (1433631) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:47AM (#39842679) Homepage
    Probably because it would cost more, hasn't been tested for this particular craft, and there are regulations that make it illegal.
  • by binarstu (720435) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:51AM (#39842697)
    You mean to tell me that the Discovery Channel is producing a new show that is something other than watching fisherman, lumberjacks, gunsmiths, gold miners, auctioneers, motorcycle builders, or used car salesmen as they go about their daily jobs and argue with one another??? I'll believe it when I see it.
  • Here's a thought (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:53AM (#39842701)
    Rather than worrying about how to survive a crash retire planes after their projected life has been reached. A disturbing number are still in the air years and in some cases decades after their operational life has been reached. They do receive major overhauls but the airframe is the same and they do get stress fractures. Weakening structure has caused some dramatic failures including large sections of the fuselages tearing out mid flight. A large number of planes still in the air are older than most people on this web site. The fact some of these planes haven't been built in decades should be your first clue.
  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by isorox (205688) on Monday April 30, 2012 @02:58AM (#39842713) Homepage Journal

    I know. I've been watching Discovery and other channels like it since before it was cool to watch that kind of stuff, but now the main channels are mostly full of stupid reality crap. You have to go to .. BBC ... to find good stuff, and not all cable or satellite providers offer all of those newer networks, much less offer them on the lower packages.

    Dunno what country you're in, but the BBC is broadcast OTA in my country, and it's full of stupid reality crap. There's the occasional gem, but you can say the same about any channel.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Monday April 30, 2012 @04:27AM (#39843047) Homepage Journal

    Better to spend time and money doing specific stress tests.

    When it comes to planes, it's more along the lines of doing specific stress tests to make sure that component failures don't cause a crash in the first place. Cars barely make crashes at 65mph survivable. Survivable crashes at around 10 times that speed just aren't achievable.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday April 30, 2012 @04:55AM (#39843145)
    Even the BBC has gone downhill, though for different reasons. The other channels all chased each other to the bottom seeking higher ratings (That reality crap is very popular, as are pseudo-docs like Ancient Aliens and Most Haunted) to keep the cash coming in. The BBC followed shortly after out of a concern of becoming irrelivent - fear that it could become 'that snobby producer' that no-one watches because it's full of boring programs about some medieval king that no-one cares about any more. So they started making reality crap too, trying to up ratings to maintain their status as a british institution rather than just to get the money coming. They have at least managed to resist the temptation of the pseudo-doc.
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Monday April 30, 2012 @06:25AM (#39843403) Journal

    A plane crash has got to have the huge potential to leak all kinds of harmful substances into the local ecosystem. Jet fuel, oil, hydraulic fluid, and the combustion remnants of the plastics, fiberglass, aluminum, and other things... none of it could have been good for the local plant and wild life.

    Did Discovery do their due diligence to study such potential impacts, and perform a proper cleanup after the crash? What are they doing now to ensure there are no long-term adverse effects?

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Monday April 30, 2012 @06:50AM (#39843453) Homepage

    The BBC's Horizon programme used to be the gold standard for documentaries. Go download some episodes from the 70s and 80s. The presenting, the clear and deep explanations and the lack of gimmickry is incredibly refreshing.

    It all started to go wrong in the 90s. Instead of a documentary it became a drama, setting up artificial rivalries between scientists and going for a sense of bemused wonder at the pretty graphics and throaty voice-over instead of pleasurable enlightenment.

    Brian Cox said words to the effect of "people don't want the science, they want a story, they want the journey". Call yourself a scientist and educator?

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asdf7890 (1518587) on Monday April 30, 2012 @07:34AM (#39843703)

    They have at least managed to resist the temptation of the pseudo-doc.

    They do plenty of "docu-drama" stuff, which tries to both educate and entertain but manages to do neither well, and some of the proper documentary output has falling in quality over they years. Their overall output is significantly better then the commercial channels though, IMO.

    The other channels all chased each other to the bottom seeking higher ratings (That reality crap is very popular, as are pseudo-docs like Ancient Aliens and Most Haunted) to keep the cash coming in.

    Most of it isn't as popular as it seems, it is just rammed down your throat so much that you assume everyone is watching otherwise it would not justify the advertising budget. But with parts of the advertising industry suffering (and it not mattering on the BBC anyway as they are just plugging their own content and not competing against commercial interests for the air time used) that air time comes dirt cheap. But the shows don't have to be massively popular: they are incredibly cheap to make compared to just about every other variety of TV content so they pay their way with only a mediocre following. There are a few examples that draw in many many viewers of course, but the rest just potter along in the "meh" ratings category, using airtime that they'd otherwise have to make/license something more expensive to fill.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday April 30, 2012 @08:02AM (#39843945) Homepage Journal

    Brian Cox said words to the effect of "people don't want the science, they want a story, they want the journey". Call yourself a scientist and educator?

    I'd call him a realist.

  • Re:Piloted plane? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Monday April 30, 2012 @10:00AM (#39845279) Homepage Journal

    Not at all. We used remotely-controlled BQ-7 Aphrodite drones (converted B-17s) packed with explosives to crash into U-boat pens during World War II, albeit unsuccessfully.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday April 30, 2012 @10:09AM (#39845391)

    I know this will be unpopular, but I actually rather like the Discovery Channel. It also doesn't hurt that when I watch the shows, they are 20% shorter and have no commercials, so that makes me happier about them (watching TV online FTW).

    Mythbusters is by far one of the most fun-without-thinking shows I have seen. It explores critical thinking, which is more than I can say about pretty well any other show on television. There are always a couple times I'm shouting at the screen "You did it wrong! Your science is bad!" but more often than not I'm just entertained by how far they will go for a fan's forum question.

    Shark Week is also another favorite of mine. Sure, it has become pretty binaural with "here's what to do if a shark attacks you" and "sharks won't attack you, look, I can swim with them!" but there are still a lot of cool programs about specific species of sharks interspersed. I have to say, every time I watch Shark Week I want to fly to Florida and hop in the ocean for a quick dive.

    Shows that present less-well-known aspects of North American life such as Flying Wild showing the bush pilots in Alaska. Sure, there is a lot of unnecessary drama, but it still shows me an aspect of America I may never get to see. I'm not watching it to follow the characters (even if Ariel Tweto is hot...), I'm watching it to see what it's like to fly a plane in the Arctic in some of the worst weather in the world.

    Anything with Michio Kaku is awesome. That guy is like the pop-scientist of our generation (sorry Bill, sorry Niel). He may be less science and more speculation, but he makes it seriously entertaining, and puts it in terms that my whole family can follow. I'd rather they watch even a dumbed-down science show than Jersey Shore or 16 and Pregnant.

    I know a lot of people who love Deadliest Catch, but I personally hate the shit out of that show. Eight seasons? For fucking real? They're pulling cages full of crab out of the ocean. That is all that happens. Oh no, someone got clocked by a piece of ice. Why don't you put the cameras on a coast guard ship so at least you can see something besides dudes on a boat hanging out and hauling rope around?

    Our whole society is becoming VERY dumb. The popularity of functionally-retarded-oriented shows like ____ Housewives of ______, underage pregnancy shows, moronic frat-tards running into walls and getting drunk, catty women fighting over men who don't deserve it: please, leave the Discovery Channel alone. If you need to attack a network, aim at History. Toddlers and Tiaras? Little People in a Big World? Ancient Aliens? Hunting for Sasquatch? Give me a fucking break. Shut that shit down.

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