MH17 episode of ‘Air Crash Investigation’ online

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An episode of the series Air Crash Investigation about MH17 was aired  by National Geographic in the UK at February 15, 2018.

The episode titled “Deadly airspace” is online and can be watched here.  (update: the video has been removed. )

The Canadian producers of Cinexflix , which made many episodes on aviation disasters, show how the Dutch Safety Board investigated the cause of the disaster. Basically the conclusions documented in the final reported of the Dutch Safety Board are being shown in the program. A couple of employees of DSB are interviewed.

The executive producer of Air Crash Investigation, Alex Bystram, explains in this interview that it takes about  30 weeks t0 produce a single episode.  A rough breakdown – 4 weeks research, 7 weeks writing, 2 weeks shooting interviews, 3 weeks to prep/shoot drama and 10-12 weeks editing/post production.

“The studio crew then has about 3 weeks to build the props and the set needed for each episode. Creating the CGI alone takes a team of illustrators and animators more than a month. We have also adjusted the story-telling, so it is more focused on the investigation than on the flight itself.”

Besides some errors like mentioning an incorrect number of Dutch victims, and the reroute to waypoint RND which is not mentioned as  a reroute by the program, it is a fine episode. It shows the viewer with little knowledge on what happened to MH17 how the investigation was done.

The program does not provide any new information for those who know all the details about MH17

Like the conclusions by the DSB, Air Crash  Investigation does not mention who was responsible for the downing. There are no images of the BUK TELAR being transported in Eastern Ukraine at July 17, 2014.


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2 Comments on MH17 episode of ‘Air Crash Investigation’ online

  1. I thought it was pretty good and ticked most of the important boxes. There was a couple of things I could nitpick alright though they don’t hugely affect anything. In the show the ATC in Dnipro sees MH17s target disappear and then he attempts to contact the plane. That would’ve happened almost the other way around. I believe he realised MH17 hadn’t acknowledged his final communication telling them to “expect Direct to TIKNA”. There’s a 70+ second gap there. He then tries twice more with approx 30sec intervals between attempts before RND phone him and DNP ATC asks if they can see MH17 to which RND reply “…it seems their target started falling apart”. So RND can see something at that point and it’s later than that again that DNP says “its disappeared”. But I can imagine it’s difficult to describe all that succinctly in a 40 minute TV show.

    Also I don’t think I’d agree with the way the plans breakup is depicted in the CGI animation. For certain the cockpit was severed as depicted. But I think the tail section would’ve stayed attached for a great deal longer and the plane wouldn’t have fallen away to the left as dramatically as depicted.

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