Planes That Changed the World

Sundays, 9:00 PM ET on Smithsonian Channel

60 minutes

A supersonic spy plane that can reach Mach 3 and the very edge of space. A seven-story, flying double-decker that can carry up to 853 people. And the Holy Grail of aircraft design that revolutionized air travel as we know it today. These are the amazing journeys of three planes that changed the world: the SR-71 Blackbird, the DC-3, and the Airbus A380. Each extraordinary plane has an extraordinary story to match, including big gambles, brilliant minds, maverick figures, and life-threatening challenges.

Sundays, 9:00 PM ET on Smithsonian Channel

60 minutes

A supersonic spy plane that can reach Mach 3 and the very edge of space. A seven-story, flying double-decker that can carry up to 853 people. And the Holy Grail of aircraft design that revolutionized air travel as we know it today. These are the amazing journeys of three planes that changed the world: the SR-71 Blackbird, the DC-3, and the Airbus A380. Each extraordinary plane has an extraordinary story to match, including big gambles, brilliant minds, maverick figures, and life-threatening challenges.

Episodes

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Previous Episodes
It began with a mission to take on Boeing's queen of the skies, the mighty 747. The plan: to build the world's first superjumbo, a double-decker jetliner. Building it would be no small undertaking, and failure could mean the end of the Airbus. This is the story of the A380, from its planning to its building to its first big test. It was a high-stakes gamble, with engineering and logistical challenges on a scale never seen before. Engineers wondered if a plane this size could ever get off the ground, and they risked everything to find out.

5 watches

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s1e3 A380 Superjumbo
August 23, 2015
It began with a mission to take on Boeing's queen of the skies, the mighty 747. The plan: to build the world's first superjumbo, a double-decker jetliner. Building it would be no small undertaking, and failure could mean the end of the Airbus. This is the story of the A380, from its planning to its building to its first big test. It was a high-stakes gamble, with engineering and logistical challenges on a scale never seen before. Engineers wondered if a plane this size could ever get off the ground, and they risked everything to find out.
Season Finale
Wing flaps. A circular fuselage. Swept back wings. A little bit of the historic DC-3 exists in every plane that flies today. This masterpiece of engineering went against all received aviation wisdom when it was created in the 1930s, but the gamble paid off magnificently, and created a revolution. The DC-3 helped boost an economy still reeling from the Depression, played the lead role in the D-Day invasion, and through its versatility, rugged reliability, and economy, changed air travel forever.

6 watches

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s1e2 DC-3
August 16, 2015
Wing flaps. A circular fuselage. Swept back wings. A little bit of the historic DC-3 exists in every plane that flies today. This masterpiece of engineering went against all received aviation wisdom when it was created in the 1930s, but the gamble paid off magnificently, and created a revolution. The DC-3 helped boost an economy still reeling from the Depression, played the lead role in the D-Day invasion, and through its versatility, rugged reliability, and economy, changed air travel forever.
Webtv featured
s1e1 SR-71 Blackbird
August 13, 2015
August 13, 2015
SR-71 Blackbird
Series Premiere
Webtv featured
s1e2 DC-3
August 16, 2015
August 16, 2015
DC-3
Webtv featured
s1e3 A380 Superjumbo
August 23, 2015
August 23, 2015
A380 Superjumbo
Season Finale

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