Mayday: Flight 401

In a nutshell, while distracted, the crew fails to notice that they’ve nudged the flight stick and turned the autopilot off. And they are so distracted they don’t notice the chime that goes off to tell them they’ve moved to an altitude different than that of the autopilot.

  1. I discovered there’s a 1978 made for TV movie with William Shatner covering the events. Excellent.

  2. At no point in the program does anyone say, “They should have more than a GD ‘chime’. There should be an altimeter warning, a redundant warning after the autopilot is off, and something a little stronger than a ‘ding’.” ****ing ‘your lights are on’ warnings on cars are stronger.

I just don’t see how, even in 1972, anyone thought a single chime similar to the ‘fasten seatbelt’ heard for airplanes is enough for a situation like that.

Is that the movie with Ernest Borgnine as the ghost of the pilot, promising “there will never be another crash of an L-1011”?

Nah. Two different movies.

This crash helped to start the discussion of the sterile cockpit rule.

This crash is what lead to it finally being mandated by the FAA:

Stephen Colbert’s father and brothers died on this flight.

I read the title and thought this was going to be about the Buffalo flight that crashed (the anniversary of it was yesterday) as I recall that was also due to distraction in the cockpit but Googling tells me that was Flight 3407.