A team of scientists and crash investigators working for the Discovery Channel (in collaboration with British and German broadcasters) have deliberately downed a Boeing 727 in Mexico’s Sonoran Desert. Experts studied the plane’s “crashworthiness,” advances in black-box technology, and the effects upon its crash-test dummy passengers — who didn’t even get to enjoy complimentary snacks or an in-flight movie before presumably getting all beat up and blown apart. (Of course, you’ll have to watch the special to see their fate in detail, if not high definition.) The culmination of four years’ work, the project is billed as an “unprecedented international television documentary,” and will air as part of Discovery’s new “Curiosity” programming series later this year.
Fox planned a similar special back in 1999, with its proposed Jumbo Jet Crash: The Ultimate Safety Test. But at the time, criticism from both government and military officials meant the idea didn’t, um, fly.