Here is an excerpt about the original movie. Please refer to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059183/trivia
for the rest.
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
The plane they leave on at the end of the film was to be a C-82 Boom. The stunt of taking off was too dangerous, so legendary stunt pilot Paul Mantz was asked to merely come in low, run his landing gear along the ground, then take off again, simulating a take-off. On the second take the plane crashed and was destroyed, killing Mantz. As all main footage had already been shot, a North American O-47A observation plane from the Air Museum was substituted for the remaining close-ups.
The Tallmantz Phoenix P-1 was designed by Otto Timm and built by Tallmantz Aviation Inc. for the film. It had the following characteristics:
Engine: a like-new Pratt & Whitney R-1340 nine cylinder radial engine of 650 hp, taken from a T-6, as were the wheels and various other parts.
Wings: wing panels taken from a T-11 (civilian conversion of an AT
-11 which is a Beechcraft 18 type )
The apparent wing, tail, and undercarriage wire bracing was made out of clothesline, and was intentionally made to look flimsy.
The fuselage and empennage were all hand-built from scratch - plywood over a wood frame.
The cockpit was shallow and makeshift. The pilot sat down. Another person stood behind the pilot and was strapped to a stringer.