UK indie Dragonfly has crash-landed a Boeing 727 passenger jet in a remote part of the Mexican desert (pictured) as part of an experiment for a forthcoming doc set to air on Channel 4 (C4) in the UK, Discovery Channel in the U.S. and ProSiebenSat.1 in Germany.
C4 first announced the ambitious plans to crash the plane two and a half years ago, and the scheme has now come to fruition, with a feature-length documentary set to air later this year.
According to Discovery Channel, “the pilot ejected the 170-seat aircraft just minutes before the collision after setting it on a crash course; it was then flown remotely from a chase plane. The crash went according to plan and there were no injuries or damage to property.”
The plane was crashed in a remote and unpopulated part of the Sonoran Desert of Baja California, Mexico. The network added that the plane was packed with scientific experiments, including crash test dummies. Dozens of cameras recorded the crash from a number of angles, including inside the aircraft, on the ground, in chase planes and on the ejecting pilot’s helmet.
In a statement, Discovery Channel said the doc would air in the U.S. as part of its ‘Curiosity’ strand. “This ground breaking project features an actual crash of a passenger jet and explores the big questions about how to make plane crashes more survivable,” said Eileen O’Neill, group president of Discovery and TLC Networks.
“It’s the ideal premiere episode for our ‘Curiosity’ series that stirs the imagination of our audience, bravely asking questions and fearlessly seeking answers. This latest production captures that audaciousness perfectly.”
Dragonfly Film and Television Productions’ exec producer Sanjay Singhal added: “NASA were the last people to attempt a crash test of a full passenger jet three decades ago. Now, with the improvements in filming and remote control technology we felt that the time was right to do it again.
“This has been an extraordinary feat of organization, 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. We’re particularly grateful to the Mexican authorities for their assistance and support.”