By Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor
A new fictional film, Flight, due for release this November, charts the complicated, mostly post-crash life of an airline pilot played by Denzel Washington, and it comes with a twist. The pilot is made a hero by his actions during a crash landing, but his blood tests positive for alcohol. The cast of the movie includes John Goodman and Don Cheadle, who plays Washington's lawyer. Quotes from the movie's trailer set the stage with, "The FAA placed 10 pilots in simulators, recreated the events ... every pilot killed everybody on board. You were the only one who could do it." And, "You had alcohol in your system; that could be life in prison." Fiction aside, the movie's trailer suggests it may touch on at least one real-life fatal airline crash.
Unrelated to the alcohol issue, it appears other parts of the movie may create the fantasy ending some pilots might have wished for Alaska Airlines Flight 261. The Alaska Airlines MD-83 crashed in January 2000, killing all 88 on board. The NTSB found that the aircraft's stabilizer jackscrew assembly failed, leading to loss of control. As the pilots struggled to keep the jet in the air, they may have sought to stabilize it while flying inverted. The trailer shows Washington's fictional character reacting to an uncontrolled dive by commanding down trim and a roll to inverted. The movie aircraft appears similar to the MD-83. In the movie, "investigators concluded the aircraft failed." A link to the trailer is available at IMDB.com. The movie is due to be released on Nov. 2, 2012, in the U.S.