In "Airport", Joe Patroni mentioned that his wife was named Marie, and he had five children, but in "Airport '75", his wife was renamed Helen and he just had one son. In "Airport '79 - The Concorde", Petroni mentioned his wife had died in a car accident and he only had one son.
When the flight crew commence final checks before attempting to land in Salt Lake prior to the accident, through the window there is a night sky. However, in the very next shot the Boeing 747 is seen flying into clouds in the daylight.
The Beech Baron's ID number is N9750Y, as you can clearly see every time they show the plane in flight, but every time Scott (the pilot) communicates with Air Traffic Control, the plane is addressed as Baron 232Z.
Prior to their losing radio communication with Nancy, we see Patroni and Murdock in Salt Lake Center hunched over a flat horizontal RADAR display. The scene changes to the 747 flying low over the mountains, then cuts back to Patroni and Murdock, only now they are staring at a more standard "upright" RADAR display.
When Sister Beatrice and Sister Ruth chat about Gloria Swanson in the terminal building, a young girl can be seen sitting in the background wearing a red top and long hair, but when Sister Beatrice and Sister Ruth rise from their seats a young boy wearing a blue jacket can be seen in the place the girl was sitting.
The Beechcraft Baron strikes the 747 from the front. This comes after Air Traffic Control has told the Baron's pilot that he is "Number two for landing behind a heavy jet." Even allowing for the Baron's pilot's discomfort & disorientation due to a heart attack, how does the small plane get turned around 180 degrees and on a collision course?
Mr Kelly assists with Gloria Swanson's passage through the Airport terminal building in a large group of reporters. Sister Ruth and Sister Beatrice follow them and the camera shows the back of the group with Mr Kelly clearly visible. However, in the very next shot Mr Kelly is seen walking past an escalator, to answer a telephone call.
When Sister Beatrice and Sister Ruth discuss Gloria Swanson, when sitting down in the airport terminal building. Two women are seen sitting on the left of the shot next to Sister Ruth, but in the very next shot, which shows Sister Beatice and Sister Ruth getting up from their seats, the women disappear.
When Barney says to Mrs Devaney, "He's probably got something on his mind and he's getting it off his chest right now," a flight attendant with blonde hair can be seen walking up the aisle behind him, but in the very next shot she disappears and two flight attendants with black hair can be seen.
When Sister Beatrice and Sister Ruth discuss Gloria Swanson, a man with a brown coat is seen sitting behind Sister Beatrice and his hand remains in shot. In the very next shot he disappears and is replaced with a man with a blue shirt who is reading a newspaper.
In the shot before the impact, a blonde girl is sitting in front of Mrs Devaney. When the impact occurs we see passengers screaming in coach class, however the blonde girl is not in her seat, but then reappears in the following shot.
When we see the pilot of the small plane talking to the tower about redirecting to Salt Lake City, he's wearing something completely different from the white shirt the pilot is wearing in the following exterior shot when the small plane is shown banking to the right.
After the 747 has touched down at the Salt Lake City airport and the crash trucks start to chase after it, you can see the terminal and control tower across the field to the right side of the runway and the landing 747. The 747 then turns to its left when it reaches the end of the runway and stops on that taxiway. In the pullout shot when the end credits start, you see the terminal and control tower right in front and to the left of the 747, exactly on the opposite side and much closer than it should have been according to the location established by the previous shot of the 747 touching down
The air traffic controller radios the 747 that a Beechcraft is at the 747's 12 O'Clock position, but then later tells the Beechcraft pilot that he's following the 747, which would actually place the smaller plane in the 6 O'Clock position of the 747.
The plane takes off from Washington Dulles Airport in complete darkness, in the early hours of the morning. It heads west to Los Angeles, however on the exterior shots of the plane flying west, dawn is seen rising in the west and not the east.
The wife of the Baron pilot is seen at the Salt Lake City airport with a TV reporter. However, according the the plot, she lived in Boise, Idaho, which is more than 300 miles away. If the local airport was closed due to bad weather, there is no way she would be able to make it to Salt Lake in such a short amount of time.
The 747 landing shots alternate between SLC and another airport. In one shot, you can see a huge piece of equipment to the right of the runway and in another shot it's gone etc. After the landing, the evacuation takes place at a completely different airport.
Mr. Kelly tells Janice Abbott's doctor that he has gotten the ambulance special clearance through Gate 4. That means that the ambulance would access the airport field about two miles south of the airport terminal directly from Route 28 - a road that runs North/South parallel to the airport. In a later scene, we see the ambulance stuck in a traffic jam turning south off of East Service Road about a mile North of the Dulles main terminal. A vehicle entering the airport through Gate 4 would have absolutely no business being anywhere near East Service Road.
There is major concern that the little girl who needs the kidney transplant will die because she will be off her dialysis machine too long. A normal dialysis schedule is 4 hours 3 times per week. If the girl was removed from a dialysis machine a few hours before boarding the plane, she would have 2-3 days before her next required treatment with no risk even if she had total kidney failure.
When Captain Stacy was ordered to turn right by air traffic control, he manipulates a knob at the center console. The knob shown is actually the rudder trim knob which is not used to operate the autopilot. The autopilot controls are located at the front panel.
When the 747 is coming in for the landing at Salt Lake City, the passengers are not in the "brace" crash position. As there was damage to the plane, an engine out and problems with braking control, prudence would have dictated that the crew would have had the passengers in the "brace" crash position.
Mrs Abbott and other passengers run in the wrong direction aboard the plane while evacuation is underway. The Exit sign can be seen quite clearly behind them as they run to the front of the Boeing 747 where there is no exit.
During the 747's takeoff run, the flight engineer ('Erik Estrada') leaves his seat and instrument panel to help the pilot advance the throttles. In actuality, a flight engineer always stays in his seat during takeoff and closely monitors his instruments in order to detect any malfunction or emergency condition during this critical phase of flight.
The First Officer requests ATC clearance and mentions "...taxi in five minutes." The next scene is a mobile lounge docking with the plane and the first few passengers boarding the plane. It takes at least 20 minutes to prepare a cabin for takeoff from the time the first passengers boards the plane - and it would be more like 30 to 40 minutes for a Boeing 747.
When the air traffic controller asks Nancy to look at "the third fuel used gauge" on the engineer's panel, she reports "22500 pounds". However, this doesn't indicate a fuel leak, since it's from the fuel USED gauge. The number on the gauge to the right, 24530, is what indicates a fuel leak, as more fuel has been used from that tank than the others.
Shortly after the 747 takes off, Mrs. Petroni hands her son a book and says "Study this chapter and don't move until I get back." The book she hands the boy is the 1963 edition of "Hoyle's Rules of Games", an unlikely source of study material for a pre-teen child.
When Salt Lake looses communication for the second time neither Murdoch or Patroni know this as they are in the Helicopter, so when Nancy is performing a climb Patroni states that she is flying it herself which although is accurate both Patroni and Murdoch would assume that ground control is talking her through it.
When the 2 passengers look out the right side of the 747, they notice fuel leaking from the wing. However when it reaches the rear flaps, some of the fuel simply drips vertically down off the rear edge of the wing, indicating no rearward airflow to the underside of the wing, thus the 747 is motionless.
EVen though the 747 is going at least 140mph ( the helicopter's maximum speed) the cabin does not show signs the 140 mph wind gusts that would be blowing. There are even scenes where Charlton Heston and Karen Black's hair aren't blowing wildly.
After reporting the midair collision to the Salt Lake City tower, Nancy takes off her headset. This leaves her completely out of touch with the tower for a long time, until she puts the headset on again. In a real emergency, she or someone else on the plane would have been on a headset constantly in order to maintain radio contact with the ground.
Alan Murdoch and Joe Patroni leave the air traffic control centre to board the helicopter, in the next shot the plane goes over a mountain top. Following this passengers are shown aboard flight 409 looking directly forward, crew members can be heard in the background giving instructions to the actors. A crew member quite clearly says, "Yeah."
The passengers on board watch the pilot being winched from the jet helicopter into the 747. However, this would be impossible from the angle in which we see the helicopter flying and the position of the passengers seated on board.
The U.S. Air Force dispatcher who talks on the radio to the helicopter crew has his lieutenant bars incorrectly positioned on his shirt collar (they are vertical instead of horizontal). In addition, his hair is longer than allowed by Air Force regulations.
The 747 is shown landing on a runway marked 34R where in real life, that runway is 35 which is to the right of 34R. In fact, you can make out runway 32 in one of the cockpit shots on final approach and you can see a plane holding short (waiting for takeoff clearance).