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Airport '77 (1977) Poster

(1977)

Goofs

Jump to: Continuity (9)  | Errors in geography (1)  | Factual errors (11)  | Miscellaneous (5)  | Incorrectly regarded as goofs (2)  | Revealing mistakes (3)  | Spoilers (1)

Continuity 

When the plane hits the derrick of the oil rig, there is no damage to the wing in the very next shot.
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After the sea rescue, passengers' clothing has dried once aboard the rescue ship. While it might not make sense for the clothing to have dried, few of the passengers' hair was ever wet in the first place, as they walked out the emergency exit directly onto the wing and were transferred into zodiacs.
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Just following the opening titles, Don Gallagher and Stan Buchek walk past the stationary 747 on the tarmac. Stripes are painted along the side and continue right around the nose of the aircraft. When the aircraft is taxiing prior to takeoff at night, the nose cone of the plane is shown painted black (i.e. a different aircraft).
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After hitting the offshore oil rig, the outer starboard engine (#4) is shown failing and taking fire. However, in the cockpit, Engine #3 (inner starboard engine) is shown failing with a skyrocketing EGT indicator (exhaust gas temperature), yet Engine #4's fuel cut-off and fire extinguishers are operated by the pilot.
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When the captain is being rescued, the actors in the zodiac change after they pick him up. The first pair are both dark haired and have facial hair, while one has his shirt off. When they return to the ship with Gallagher (Jack Lemmon), they're both blonde, clean-shaven and wearing shirts.
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When Capt. Gallagher is explaining the need to get the raft to the surface to the group on the plane, he explains that it is designed automatically to trigger its SOS beacon when it reaches the surface. After Gallagher hauls himself aboard the raft, however, the first thing he does is extend the antenna and switch on the beacon.
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At the start of the film when the plane comes into land, it is a Boeing 747 in white coloring and a black nose tip, however later shots show a Boeing 747 in red, white and blue coloring and a grey nose tip.
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When the tail of the 747 strikes the water for the first time, engines 1, 2 and 4 are already missing. Number 3 is still intact and mounted on its wing pylon.
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Gallagher does not inflate his life vest either underwater or after he boards the raft, but when the sailors in the zodiac rescue him, the vest is inflated.
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Errors in geography 

Numerous Naval units shown as well as their hangars bear unit numbers for units located at NAS North Island in San Diego. The film is set in Florida.
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Factual errors 

During take off, a large number of loose items (including a huge fruit buffet set up on a table) are laying about in a way that would be totally unacceptable for any airline. Even after the ditching/crash, the bowl of grapes is sitting proudly and undisturbed on its table!
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When the stewardess puts the laserdisc into the player, she leaves the top door slightly ajar and the laserdisc will not play (even though it does in the movie).
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The sleeping gas canister shows "CR-7". CR is actually a tear gas, not a sleeping gas agent.
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During the first landing, the engine instruments are pointing in random directions; in real life each horizontal line of gauges would show roughly the same reading. The needles don't move when Capt. Gallagher closes the throttles or engages the thrust reversers.
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It's impossible for the plane to have stayed intact after hitting the water multiple times, even if the plane hit the water once it would of broken up, not to mention how rough the plane hit the water too. 110% certain the plane would have broken up.
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Any pilot can turn off the plane's transponder, thus making it impossible for ATC to track the plane. There would have been no need to descend below radar. Of course, not descending would have taken away the cause of the plane to crash.
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If the plane is in more than 100 feet underwater, anyone evacuating to the surface would face decompression sickness. Some people show signs after extended stays at depths of 60 feet. The chances are very high that most of the passengers would suffer permanent injury or even death after being rescued.
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The plane left New York in daylight and travels approximately 1,300 miles to St. George, a fictional island in the Caribbean (by the description, not St. George, Florida). The cruising speed of a 747 is just over 500 miles an hour. Counting ascent and descent, this is a trip of about three hours.

When the plane goes down and the passengers begin to assess the situation and injuries are being treated, and around twenty minutes of story-time has passed, the doctor checks on the pianist. As he does so, he passes a daylight clock, which features a scrolling backlit map. The map shows it to be noon over central Australia. This is approximately ten hours behind the location of the crash. The plane clearly does not take off when at approximately 6:00 p.m., this would bring us to around 9:00 p.m. The plane is shown to crash shortly after dusk. According to the map it is actually 2:00 a.m. local time.
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During the scuba diving scenes showing the wings, there are no aircraft head light detail visible on the wings featured (they appear in later wider shots) On a 747 (& most civil aircraft) the main headlights are situated on the front wing edge just forward of the wing box/fuselage.
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When Capt. Gallagher and Martin Wallace are in the hold, preparing to eject the life raft, and the hold fills entirely with water, neither life vest inflates (which it should do automatically). Even when Gallagher is swimming for the surface, his life vest is deflated.
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The seats on board the executive Boeing 747 have no safety belts.
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Miscellaneous 

When the lift belts begin to fail and the airplane is about to go under, Gallagher takes off his scuba tank before going in the sinking plane to rescue Eve. If he hadn't gotten her out against the odds, they might have drowned for lack of a scuba tank.
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When questioning the copilot, Captain Gallagher doesn't ask the obvious question, which is about the cause of the crash. This omission is unrealistic. If he'd known that the plane had clipped the derrick of an offshore rig, this would have meant that there was a fix on the location and direction of travel. By not asking this question, Gallagher was being wildly incompetent.
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At one point, when the aircraft is on the bottom and not moving, the massive entertainment center simply falls over. An item such as this would not be so massive, as this would be impractical. In addition, this item would have been solidly anchored to that it could withstand anything, including most crashes, without falling.
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If the chronology demonstrated throughout the film is correct, the life raft would not make it to the surface until after sunrise, or sometime between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. This would make it approximately nine to ten hours after the crash. Given the activities seen in the film, this would mean that they would have spent at least six hours doing nothing before starting to figure out the solution. This time can be tracked by the backlit daylight on the wall of the lounge, which has a scrolling plastic map with the lighting indicating the areas of daylight and darkness. When the doctor goes to check on the piano player, which is about twenty minutes after the crash, the map shows it to be noon in central Australia. This would make it about 10:00 p.m. local time.
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While some might think that the 747 does not have emergency doors over the wings, this is incorrect. there is a door towards the back of the wing on either side. It allows passengers to walk onto the wing if necessary but the exit slides go over the trailing edge of the wing with slides that parallel the fuselage.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

After submerging in the Atlantic, the captain said the airplane is "Pressurized". While some might think otherwise, it is possible for a submerged plane could retain air for a period of time. It should be noted that when at altitude, a pressurized airliner maintains internal air pressure that is considerably higher than the outside air. When underwater, the situation is reversed. Because of this, even a perfectly intact airliner would certainly have leaks. As the plane in this situation is only perhaps 100 feet below the surface, the water pressure is 44 pounds per square inch. At cruising altitude the internal pressure is maintained at about 12 pounds per square inch, with is equal to an altitude of 6,000 feet.
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Gallagher is shown swimming upwards without inflating his life vest. He was out of air, which means that he is either trying to pace himself due to compression issues or that it didn't occur to him to inflate his life vest.
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Revealing mistakes 

When the plane is taking off you can see the logo of the airline used in Airport 1975 on the tail of the plane. Columbia Airlines.
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When Gallagher and Buchek are exiting the rear cargo door of the aircraft (while it's being loaded in the hangar), the "American Airlines" logo on the 747 is clearly visible on the rear vertical stabilizer.
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Just before one of the hijackers hits the on-flight security guard on the back of the head, you can see the actor playing the security guard flinch before he is actually hit on the head.
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Spoilers

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Factual errors 

Air-filled balloons, connected by metal flanges to under-slung belts, lift the Jumbo Jet from the sea floor. Some of these metal flanges break. This cannot happen, as the lift provided by a balloon has a certain limit, given by the volume of the balloon. It does not make any sense to use flanges that cannot withstand this force.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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