cedarjet
Posts: 8101
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:33 am

It is my pleasure and very great honour to introduce to you the best airline movie ever made: The Pilot, the story of an airline pilot and his battle with booze. A physical copy is rarer than rockinghorse shit, I paid a fortune on eBay for a clapped-out ex-rental VHS tape in NTSC format, but worth every penny (also look for movie posters, they seem to appear more often than the actual tapes).

There was a thread on here a few weeks back about Airport and it's accuracy, and yes, Airport is pretty accurate. But the inflight sequences were shot with pretty silly looking models and there were other things missing eg checklists, any flight-related dialogue.

The star and producer / director of The Pilot is Cliff Robertson, a great aviator as well as one of Hollywood's longest serving actors and a man of great bravery and personal courage in the face of a blacklist by a crooked Hollywood exec (read his story at http://www.cliffrobertson.com ). His career was badly damaged by the blacklist, and The Pilot was made during that period, in 1980.

The book, by Robert P Davis, is a classic of airline literature (you can find a copy on http://www.abebooks.com, also look for Control Tower, a novel about an inflight emergency after a Concorde has a midair with a small plane over Miami, and any other book that has ever been missing from your aviation bookshelf).

The film was made by Robertson, who added a DC8 typerating to his license and flew all the air-to-air sequences himself. The cameraship was flown by none other than Clay Lacy, and the results are some of the most beautiful airliner footage ever screened. The whole 90 minutes reeks of authenticity, for instance the other pilots up front may have SAG cards (or not, given Robertson's relationship with Hollywood at the time) but they're really his real-life pilot buddies, and this film is like, "I've written this script, let's hire a DC8 for two days and make a REAL airline disaster movie."

Secondhand ex rental VHS copies turn up occasionally on eBay, and it's worth keeping an eye out for it - a landmark in aviation movie history. I'm going to work out how to transfer my VHS onto DVD for some close friends (feel free to email me through this site if you'd like to be part of that select group).

Meanwhile here is the trailer, incorportating the best of the flying action and emergencies. Enjoy!


It's hi res, so it takes ages to load. Be patient, pause it so it can load up, you want to watch this all the way through. Here's the link if you want it in it's own window: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9k-_mLZ_zA
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
MCOflyer
Posts: 7068
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RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:39 am

The links you posted are not valid.

Hunter
Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
 
kellmark
Posts: 542
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RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:42 am

Interesting. Part of the film was made inside the office where I used to work, the Eastern Airlines System Operations Office in Miami.
 
oznznut
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RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:36 am

I bought my copy in 1984 and watch it about 2 or 3 times a year. Just love the sequence where they reverse the 2 inboard engines on the DC-8 inflight! Yes, it could be done!

Dave
 
OPNLguy
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RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:39 am

Quoting Kellmark (Reply 2):
Interesting. Part of the film was made inside the office where I used to work, the Eastern Airlines System Operations Office in Miami.

I thought those Raytheon CRTs looked familar...  Wink
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
L1011
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 8:02 am

RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:58 am

This movie was obviously made to be shown in theatres, since it was filmed in the CinemaScope aspect ratio. I know it never played in theatres in the Richmond area, because I was a projectionist for 30 years, and as an aviation buff I would have been first in line to see it. I have the VHS version, which is in pan-and-scan. I would love to see it released on DVD in a wide screen version so we could get full value out of those air-to-air shots. I agree that it is a great movie.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
 
Olympus69
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Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2002 11:21 pm

RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:19 am

My Leonard Maltin Movie and Video Guide says the title of the Video version was "Danger in the Skies". Maybe that's why it's hard to find.
 
Aleksandar
Posts: 2937
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2000 11:43 pm

RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:29 am

There is only one movie about aviaton that I can't get out of my memory. I've seen it ages ago, it was made in 70s. About young air traffic controller (in fact, he's still aprentice and there are scenes of him at classes), his girl-friend who's flight attendant (there was a scene when she sleeps in a hoptel room and wakes up. He says to her "even 707 didn't wake you up). Unfortunately, I can't remember the movie's title, but if someone knows more about it, I'd like to know at least the title of that movie.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
 
UAL Bagsmasher
Posts: 1839
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RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:49 am

You are thinking of "Crisis in Midair" starring George Peppard (The A-Team) and Desi Arnaz, Jr. It is set in LAX. Another good movie. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079009/

[Edited 2007-08-21 20:50:50]
 
Aleksandar
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RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:56 am

Quoting UAL Bagsmasher (Reply 8):

Yep, it seems like that movie. Thanks a lot, mate  bigthumbsup . Can it be found on DVD?
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
 
DAYflyer
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RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Wed Aug 22, 2007 4:03 am

It is a interesting movie. I have a DVD of The Pilot and I watch it maybe twice a year. The pre-taxi checklist is interesting and so is some of plot. Definately a "B" movie though if there ever was one. The most interesting yet perhpas unknown fact about the movie is that Cliff Robertson is or was in fact an ATC rated pilot back in the 1960's and 70s. I think that his aviation knoweledge shows a little in the film.
One Nation Under God
 
cedarjet
Posts: 8101
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Sun Aug 26, 2007 2:23 am

Quoting Olympus69 (Reply 6):
My Leonard Maltin Movie and Video Guide says the title of the Video version was "Danger in the Skies". Maybe that's why it's hard to find.

I think that was just one incarnation of the VHS. The Pilot is the more common title (and the title of the novel it's based on).

Quoting UAL Bagsmasher (Reply 8):
You are thinking of "Crisis in Midair" starring George Peppard (The A-Team) and Desi Arnaz, Jr.

Ah yes! I'd forgotten about Desi Arnaz. I remember George Peppard. The titular crisis is when some escaping criminal shoots a bullet into the engine of a jet taking off (which might be a Convair 880 or 990? I'm not 100% certain it's a seven-oh). Cue that disaster movie staple, a flight engineer sweating like a marine about to take a spelling test.

Quoting DAYflyer (Reply 10):
I have a DVD of The Pilot

Official copy? Or pirate? I'm ready to break a few copyright laws and run off half a dozen DVDs from my VHS. Didn't know there was an official DVD release.

Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 1):
The links you posted are not valid.

They work for me; hopefully no-one else has had a problem?
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
highflier92660
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RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Sun Aug 26, 2007 4:01 am

Does anybody know where they got the DC-8 for the movie? Looking at the organ pipes and the ejector ring it must have been an old JT-4 powered 10/20/30/40 version. It's strange that this movie has gotten so little publicity over the years as Cliff Robertson (still current at 82) is one of the better pilot/actors who would have demanded aeronautical accuracy. Why do mind numbing Lindsay Lohan movies go straight to DVD and classic aviation films fade away in VHS?

I keep mixing up The Pilot, which was about an alcoholic captain hiding "spookers" in the lavatory with Robert Serlings The Left Seat about a guy who ends up crashing a DC-7 at Idlewild.
 
nema
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RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:48 am

Quoting Cedarjet (Thread starter):
Meanwhile here is the trailer, incorportating the best of the flying action and emergencies. Enjoy!

Thanks for the clip, was good to be reminded of this film and the great DC8 of course.
There isnt really a dark side to the moon, as a matter of fact its all dark!
 
cedarjet
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Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

RE: The Other Airline Disaster Movie: "The Pilot"

Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:16 am

Quoting Highflier92660 (Reply 12):
Does anybody know where they got the DC-8 for the movie? Looking at the organ pipes and the ejector ring it must have been an old JT-4 powered 10/20/30/40 version.

I'll have a look when I make the copies as promised, but I'm sure the reg is N, four digits (eighteen-oh-something?) U. Either that or something other clue made me think it was an ex-United bird. Will advise.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz