To indulge Johnny’s wishes here, I’d like to offer my candidate for Worst Airplane Movie Ever Made (and hoo-boy, is there competition). Yes, folks, it’s evidence that Robert Urich had mortgage payments to make even during his cancer treatments, which bloated his face to near unrecognizability. Yes, it’s Final Descent (1997). The only movie I’ve forced myself to watch that made me scream continuously “That is fucking NOT how that works! Aw, geez, they’re not actually gonna do that - aw shit, yes they are”.
Urich is, of course, an airline captain, and of course the copilot is his former girlfriend. Already you know what happens in the final scene and they haven’t even taken off. But once they do, they just happen to collide with a private plane that just happens to force the elevators full up and just happens to force the plane to climb to some godawful altitude. Apparently the collision also jams the throttles at full power so they can’t just trim for slow flight? It must have done that as well as jam all the fuel valves open so they can’t shut down even one engine, and it must also have shut off the bleed air, because there’s a lot of portentous crap about the finite oxygen supply up there.
That leads to a great scene where the flight engineer, played by John “Q” DeLancie, has to go down into an equipment compartment larger than the airplane, and find just the right valve to open more oxygen flow, not knowing that the evil dispatcher wants the oldest and sickest passengers to die to preserve their supply (which is why he recommends moving them aft “for fresher air”). Not one of the crew knows enough about aircraft systems to figure it out or look it up themselves, but they figure it out in time.
Hokey enough yet? Nope. Next, the plan is to move the CG forward by, get this, rendezvousing with a tanker loaded with water, and pumping it into the forward cargo compartment via a hose fed through a smashed cockpit window. Ya know whose job that is? Well, since you know how the movie ends, you know it’s DeLancie again. By the time the plane is back in near-trim, yep, he’s drowning. Inside a 747. At 40,000 feet. But he makes it out.
It works! The plane can descend now! But there’s only minutes of oxygen left, and they can barely make it to 12,500 feet in time! Yes, you can’t breathe at all 1 foot above that, and there’s no trouble at all 1 foot below it. Never mind that that’s a regulatory limit for oxygen use, not a phsyiological one, and in an emergency you can do whatever you have to. But our intrepid crew doesn’t get that either.
Mercifully, it ends right after that, and I already said it’s obvious how. I rate “Final Descent” an unparalleled 5 Turkeys, even beating out “Airport '79: The Concorde”, in which George Kennedy suddenly appears as a Trans Global Airlines captain, instead of the mechanic he was in all the previous Airport movies, just in time to belly-land it on a ski slope.