In the series premiere, Mighty Planes joins the crew of the worlds only flying eye hospital for their most challenging mission to date. Orbis travels tirelessly around the globe, offering patients in developing countries precious sight-saving treatments. On the outside, it's a regular DC-10. On the inside, it has been stripped and re-designed to house a state-of-the-art ophthalmic hospital complete with an operating room, a laser treatment facility and a high-tech classroom from which student doctors in host countries can watch surgeries live on 54 video screens.
In 2011, northern Mexico experienced its worst fire season in more than a century. Luckily, Martin Mars, the world's biggest seaplane was there to battle the blaze! Martin Mars has a partner in firefighting - the Sikorsky S76 - which uses HD and infrared cameras, along with state-of-the-art laser technology, to guide the Canadian owned and operated aircraft to a guaranteed bulls-eye with every drop. MIGHTY PLANES joins the four-person aerial crew when they answer the call for help as Mexico's northern states endure countless wildfires that threaten to destroy vast expanses of wilderness.
A revolution in aircraft design, the Airbus A380 is the word's largest passenger airliner. With room for more than 500 passengers, a tail as high as an eight-story building, and a wingspan nearly the length of a football field, this massive commercial airliner is a game changer. But it's also a big gamble for Lufthansa. Take flight on this mighty plane's maiden journey from Frankfurt, Germany to San Francisco, California as they try to win over customers and maximize profits. If the flight is successful, this Airbus may force other airlines to go big or go home.
The Hercules Skibird is the go-to aircraft for tough jobs in frozen places, and it's just 48 hours away from one of its most challenging missions yet. Follow this mighty plane and its dedicated crew to the top of the world as they prepare to evacuate climate scientists from Greenland's icy terrain. This mission will push the team and their powerful cargo plane to the limit as they attempt to fly, land, and take off in a country that holds the record for the worst flying conditions on the planet.
Recently upgraded to "Super Galaxy" status, this heavy-lifting aircraft can fly non-stop to virtually anywhere in the world, delivering cargo too large and too urgent to be shipped any other way. Follow along with the U.S. Air Force onboard this mighty plane on a marathon mission to Bagram, Afghanistan, a 14-hour, 6,200-mile journey requiring dangerous mid-air refueling and a perilous landing in the heart of enemy territory.
The Antonov 124, one of the biggest cargo planes in the world, is on its way to earthquake-ravaged Chile to deliver a massive wind turbine. But before this mighty plane can come to the country's aid, it must first prove it can handle the assignment. Witness the obstacles the Antonov and its crew must overcome to complete this two-day, 7,500-mile mission, including extreme weather and an exhaustive inspection that could reveal flaws too costly to repair. For this massive plane, a pit stop could mean the end of the road and an incomplete mission.
How do you tell one of the world's richest men that his pride and joy is in pieces? That's just one of the challenges facing pilot John Dunkin, captain of Donald Trump's lavish Boeing 757. Follow him and "The Donald" as they fly from Florida to New York to London, with a pit stop in Georgia for an inspection that doesn't go quite as expected. Tight deadlines and a demanding boss will push Dunkin to the limits. But when you work for the man who made the phrase "You're fired" famous, you get used to the pressure.
The C-17 Globemaster III is the most versatile cargo plane in the U.S. Air Force fleet. It's a tireless workhorse, designed to carry more than 170,000 pounds of cargo, yet agile enough to land and take off on short, rough runways. Watch as two of these $200 million jets take off on separate missions. One ventures into an intense war training operation over unforgiving terrain, while the other embarks on a grueling three-day journey to deliver missile launchers from a remote Pacific island to California. Both jobs will push these C-17s to the limit.
Hit the air with flying gas station Omega, a commercial aircraft turned tanker, built to refuel U.S. fighter jets while they are in flight. Follow this modified Boeing 707 as it lends support on a three-day U.S. Navy and Marine Corps exercise. Witness the midair rendezvous between aerial refueling tanker and fighter jet. The slightest bit of turbulence or the smallest human error can prove fatal. On this mission, however, it's a mechanical issue that puts the entire operation, and Omega's reputation, in jeopardy.
Meet a battle-tested Mighty Plane with a nose for adventure and danger. The P-3 Orion Kermit once hunted Soviet submarines but now hunts deadly weather. It slices through the eye walls of hurricanes with one objective in mind: to collect information that will save lives. Loaded up by NOAA with data sensors, recording devices, and airborne radars, this laboratory in the sky is one smart (and tough) cookie. Go where no plane was ever meant to fly as Kermit flies into today's worst tempests, including "Frankenstorm" herself, Hurricane Sandy.
If you're going to take on the universe, you're going to need a Mighty Plane. Enter SOFIA, a Boeing 747 jumbo jetliner that's been converted by NASA into a space observatory in the sky. Manned with a 17-ton telescope, she gives scientists and researchers access to targets that are out of reach to observatories on Earth...that is, when she's airborne. She's currently grounded for upgrade and overhaul maintenance, and four months behind schedule. Follow the race against time to get SOFIA back to work, unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos.
This is your first-class ticket to board the world's most magnificent flying machines. This series explores amazing aircraft and the men and women around the world who build, maintain, shepherd, and fly them. From the aerobatic artistry of the Blue Angels to the bravery of NOAA's hurricane hunters, and from Trump's flying luxury suite to the military's gas station in the sky, each episode is its own engrossing drama about people and Mighty Planes, coming together to tackle momentous missions.
The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules has been the go-to tactical cargo and personnel transporter for the U.S. Air Force and has served 70 countries on multiple missions. And at more than half a century old, she's tougher than ever. Celebrate this champion in times of war and peace as we revisit her history of daring efforts and detail how she continues to serve today. From her painstaking assembly to the challenges she faces on the ground and in the air, get an all-access look at the most heroic airlifter ever.
It's been called one of the greatest submarine hunters in the world, and it's still one of Canada's best kept secrets: the CP-140 Aurora. This Cold War legend remains a state-of-the-art spymaster, flying 17 hours straight to find ISIS targets in Iraq or exposing illegal traffickers around the globe. The Aurora must prove it still has the right stuff in an exercise to search for a mock submarine hiding in the Georgia Straight -- but her flight crew finds some unexpected obstacles.
The T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic marvel. It climbs 30,000 feet per minute, flies at a speed of 858 miles per hour, and rolls up to 300 degrees per second. If you can fly the T-38 with its unimaginable G-forces, you can fly just about anything. Go on a high-altitude mission in the greatest fighter jet trainer in the world and join three student NATO pilots who push the T-38 -- and themselves -- to the limit.
When lives are in peril on Canada's West Coast, the search and rescue plane everyone counts on is the CC-115 Buffalo. This Canadian Air Force legend can turn on a dime inside the dangerously boxed valleys of British Columbia, and take off and land on rugged terrain as short as a soccer field. Because the Buffalo responds to over 200 emergency calls every year, training the crew is vital to success. Follow the Buffalo crew on two training exercises: saving sailors in a sinking vessel at sea and searching for a missing aircraft.
The NASA Super Guppy is a jerry-rigged wonder, built from parts of 1950s planes. But her cargo is anything but retro. She has hauled vital aerospace hardware across the country in her 50+ years of service, including parts of Apollo, the Hubble Space Telescope, and Skylab. Now, after being grounded for eight months for major upgrades and maintenance, she and her dedicated crew are back on the job, picking up and delivering a multi-million-dollar payload on a challenging three-day mission.
She's the "Workhorse of the North," powering through the vast Arctic region, where conditions can turn deadly in seconds. Nolinor Aviation's 737-200 C is a combination cargo and passenger aircraft, delivering essential food, equipment, and workers to Meadowbank, the coldest mine on Earth. The gold mine depends on this super hauler four times a week, but common temperatures of minus 50 degrees often wreak havoc on the aircraft and her missions. Follow her on a typical job, which poses challenges that are anything but routine.
These are the mightiest of mighty planes - aviation's biggest, fastest, strongest, and most innovative aircraft on the planet. Join us as we revisit massive marvels like the A380, supersonic wonders like the Blue Angels, and hospitals in the sky like the Orbis DC-10. From game changers to heavy lifters to frontier-busters, these are the planes that have transformed the way we fly, fight, conduct science, and save lives.
Canada's northwest territories are rich in gold and diamonds, but running a mining operation in extreme Arctic conditions with very few roads can be tremendously challenging. Enter the Twin Otter, the rugged aircraft of choice in remote Canadian communities. Powered by two turboprop engines, the Twin Otter maneuvers like a bird and is capable of landing just about anywhere--on land, sea, and snow. Follow this mighty plane as she handles icy skies and frozen-lake runways on a series of critical missions.