Airport 1975 (1974) Script

Hey there.

How was Europe? Oh, it's still there.

Except for France. She's not sore at us any more.

I hoped you'd have a couple of hours. I'd like to talk about something.

Honey, in a couple of hours I'll be halfway to LA.

The directors can't wait for these reports.

But, uh... I can do wonders in 30 minutes.

Well, I can't.

We'll have to wait till tonight. What flight are you on?

The red-eye special.

Alan, why don't you wait and fly with me?

I'll have my work all finished by the time you get there.

I was hoping we'd have a chance to talk now.

It didn't feel to me like you were interested in talking just now.

Are you back on that same old kick about us?

If that's what you wanna call it.

Come on. What's all the rush? Rush?

I've been on this particular kick for six years now.

Maybe I'm tired of one-night stands.

Baby, I've only got half an hour. Can't we talk it out when you get to LA?

Don't miss your flight, Murdock. You wouldn't wanna keep that boss of yours waiting.


Will you be returning? I can't tell. My life is a surprise.

You look lovely. Thank you.

Imagine getting gussied up like this to watch a lot of Supreme Court judges chew.

Miss Swanson, what is the secret of your eternal youth?

I take natural food. I will not have poisoned food.

It's not good for anybody.

Just one more question.

Northwest passenger Janet Satterly...

Who is she? Do you recognize her? One of those Hollywood persons.

Oh. You mean an actress? Or worse.

Mr. Kelly, line six, please. Mr. Kelly, line six.

Columbia Airlines Flight 10 for Albuquerque and Denver...

Kelly here. - Dr. Weiner. Jefferson Memorial Hospital.

How are you? Fine, thank you.

We have a patient on the way out there, Janice Abbott.

- She's booked on Flight 409 for LA. Oh, yes. Everything's been set for her.

I wanted to let you know that the ambulance was late in getting away.

No need to worry about that. If we have to delay departure, we will.

Thank you. She's scheduled for a transplant and the kidney's in LA.

She can't be off the dialysis machine too long.

Yes, Doctor...

I want you to understand the urgency.

We'll take good care of her, Doctor. - Thank you.

- Yes, sir? Check Columbia maintenance.

Make sure the arrangements for the kidney patient on 409 are set.

Yes, sir.

You really want to sail a 35-footer all the way to Hawaii?

What's wrong with that? Nothing, if you have an all-girl crew.

My first mate wouldn't dig that.

What's his problem? Hers. The first mate's my wife.

Well, I can dig it.

Oh, that's nice. Nice, nice, nice.

Conserve your energy, Urias. I hear we can expect a bumpy ride tonight.

I knew a stewardess who thought that was sexy.

You're weird. You know that?

How do you get rid of this jet lag? You just do.

Why, are you still tired in the morning? Uh-huh.

Give it a couple of months.

Hey, do we have a sexy crew tonight? I don't check any more.

It'll be a change from Ogallala, Kansas. Isn't everything?

There. See why I love my job so much?

They sure have all the right equipment. But it would be wrong.

How are your, uh... kids and your wife, Julio?

Watch out for that one, Gary. She's got seniority.

What about the teenager? It's Ms Teenager, please.

I'm emancipated and highly skilled in kung fu.

Whatever happened to womanhood?

Hey, that's enough. The convention's over. I want you to taper off. No more.

You should have stuck to Blue Nun.

We got a plane to catch, Sammy boy. We got a plane.

Bartender, another one. All around. Hey, no more, Arnie. We got a...

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to... Excuse me. I meant...

Sammy. I'm sorry. It's my fault.

I'm sorry, ma'am. Can I make amends?

We'd like to buy you a drink. I'd like to buy you a drink.

Maybe a little bourbon on the rocks. You got it.

Nurse, bourbon on the rocks for the lady, please.

With a small beer chaser. Jesus Christ, a boiler maker.

Where's the flight log? Here, sir.

It's clean.

No deferred items? Not a thing.

Crew chief was worried about number three.

It's all taken care of, Papa. Well, ain't that thoughtful?

...contains a concert hall, an opera house...

Hello, Mrs. Patroni. What are you doing here?

We saw a play at the Kennedy Center.

Nice to see you again, Joseph. Thank you, sir.

The decor includes flags of all nations...

This thing'll never get off the ground, never fly.

Young man, you think this thing won't fly?

In 1917 I was flying in something wilder than this.

You know who the pilot was? Wiley Post?

No. Cecil B De Mille.

We flew from Hollywood non-stop to Pasadena.

On the way home we did loop-the-loops so that I could see the moon upside down.

We need emergency assistance at main artery.

Ambulance trying to get to Columbia Airlines Flight 409.

You don't mind turning off that music, do you? Thanks.

Get us clearance.

Dulles Tower, Columbia 409. We're taxiing in five minutes.

Request ATC clearance. - Honor request.

Oh. Go ahead. Thank you.

Are you all right? I'm fine.

We got him. It's all right. I'm OK. I'm all right.

OK, yeah, right back through there.

Hey, is that Spanish one really married? His wife thinks he is.

Oh, well, the other one's just as neat.

Eight years ago, I thought they were all neat.

Thank you. How are you?

Yes? - Hey, mama.

Got a patch on the company wire from LA. Some guy named Al.

I'll be right up. Thanks, Julio.

Arlene, could you help Bette here? OK.

Hello there, Mrs. Patroni. Hi.

Your seats are right over in there.


You better use code. Neat.

Hello, Alan. Hey, honey.

I'm not getting you in trouble? - I don't think so.

That's what I've been trying to do for years, but you're too smart.

Alan, what is it? I didn't like the way we said goodbye.

I don't remember anybody saying goodbye.

Come on, damn it, you know what I mean.

Then why don't you tell me what you mean?

I guess I haven't been too good at that, have I?

- You've had your moments. Yeah.

Look, that talk you mentioned.

We'll have that as soon as you get here. I promise, huh?


- Have a good flight. Thanks.

Hey, I love you. Nancy?

Hey, you don't look happy, baby. I don't know what you mean.

We're seven minutes behind schedule. - I'm aware of it.

What is the word? The ambulance should be close.

I sure hope so.

I got special clearance through gate four. Keep an eye open.

OK, we'll give them a hand. Won't you, Julio?

Yes, sir.

Hold this. I'll take care of Miss Swanson.

Good evening. Right this way, please. Thank you.

Hello. How are you?

Good evening, Miss Swanson. You mean good morning.

Right here, Miss Swanson.

Yes, put it under my feet. Thank you very much.

Pleasure to have you with us. If there's anything I can do, let me know.

Never mind her. Put your ticket away. Yes, Sister.

Sammy, will you sit down? Sammy. Sit down.

I'm twisted! Sit down.

You're a tiny bit nervous, aren't you?

I know.

I've flown thousands of miles and under very difficult circumstances.

I assure you there's nothing to be worried about.

Oh. May I?

He's probably got something on his mind. Probably getting it off his chest right now.

Look, Sister. An ambulance. Oh, I hope it's not serious.

Clear the aisle, please.

Oh, how blessed I am.

Three children, seven grandchildren, and all healthy, thank God.

Put your chair in... Julio, this is fine.


It's a young girl.

Let me take that, sweetheart.

Let me take your coat. Oh, thank you.


You want this? Please. Thank you so much.

Happy to have you aboard, Janice. Thank you.

Yeah, come on...

Gonna be a lot of laughs, I can see that right now.

Here we go, boys. Right around there.

Here we go. The bar's closed till we get to cruising altitude.

Closed? We're not at cruising altitude?

No, not yet. Lookit, didn't I see you guys over in coach?

Yeah. Why don't we go back there and you can fasten your seat belts?

I want a dry vodka Martini on the rocks with a twist of lemon.

Please, Janice, remember what the doctor said. You must lie very, very still.

I know, Mother, but it's so exciting.

The people are so interesting.

You'll have to turn your seat forward for the take-off.

Oh. Uh... thank you.

You just hold tight to that guitar. OK.

Columbia 409, clear for take-off.

We're rolling.

This is it. Count your beads, folks.

I, uh... I hear Rosie Grier does that. Yes, he does.

Here in Gallup and surrounding areas, we can expect a massive cold front moving in from the north.

Heavy turbulence is predicted above 15,000 feet.

Storm warnings are posted over most of northern Utah...

Did you hear that, Scotty? Looks like you're stuck here.

Come back to town with us and try it tomorrow.

I wish I could stay. I've enjoyed being with you fellas.

What's so goddamn important in Boise?

If I miss that meeting, I'll lose about half next year's sales commissions.

The weather's not gonna change. What are you gonna do?

Well, I know I can make it to Elko for refueling.

Maybe the weather will thin out up there.

OK, if you wanna break up this glamorous trio.

Come on. We'll help you untie.

...a massive cold front is moving in from the north.

Heavy turbulence is predicted...

You look a little off-color, Scotty. You feeling all right?

Oh, I'm fine.

Good luck, now.

Departure, Columbia 409 out of 2,000 feet for flight level 240.

Roger, Columbia 409. Radar contact.

Turn right to 300 degrees. Report out at 7,000.

Columbia 409. Turning right to 300 degrees. Will check out at 7,000.

Landing gear. The light's off.

Flaps. Up. Lights off.

Engine ignition. Off.

No-smoking sign. Off.

Departure, 409 checking out at 7,000.

Roger, 409. Contact Washington Center. 128.2.

Roger. 409. Washington Center 128.2.

So long, pal.

Well, we've done it again, Papa.

Once again skill and daring have overcome fear and anxiety.

Study this chapter and don't move anything till I get back.

Nancy, got a couple of aspirin?

What's the matter? You got a headache?

Did you ever take a tour of Washington with a ten-year-old kid who wants to see everything?


You sure you don't want a drink instead?

I'll give these ten minutes.

Which one takes the sugar again? The neat one.

Oh, Julio.

I'll take you into the lions' den. Who's afraid of that? I'm Jewish.

Jewish? From Ogallala?

You've got to see Gloria Swanson. She looks terrific. Oh, hi, Nancy.

Bette, we've missed you. It has been a long time, hasn't it?

Thank you. Nobody misses me any more.

Well, you're onto us, baby.

And I'm not? You're too young to know what I mean.

I know. Yeah, but you're a dirty old man.

We need love too.

How do you put up with them? I've been here so long, I don't hear it.

No wonder you're so good at dodging passes.

She won't rise above her principles.

The trouble with Nancy is she's a one-man girl. Right, baby?

Right, baby. What a waste of talent.

Hey! There's no sugar in this. Oh, I'm sorry.

I'll just... This is it.

Sorry. I like my coffee sweet, Mommy.

See you later. Mm? Huh?

Ay, chico!

Mrs. Devaney? Mrs. Devaney?

There are two empty seats. Would you like to go there?

Oh, that would be nice. Fine.

Plug it in right here.

Down in front, sir. Yes, I... I'll be down.

I'm, uh... I'm in this picture. You're in this picture?

It's a small part, but the producer said the next picture I'll have a bigger part.


Sister Beatrice. It's coming up now.

I'm going to see if I can talk to that young girl.

Pardon me, Sister? Yes?

Don't you like the picture? Oh, I wasn't watching.


Here it comes.

The picture broke. The picture broke?

The only reason I took the flight was because of the picture.

It's all right. I've seen this movie.

Oh, you have? How did I come out? Fine.

I did? Just fine.

Oh, thank you.

Is this a double? That's a double.

Keep 'em coming, will you? Hi.

Excuse me. Could I say hello to the little girl?

Um... I'm not sure... I guess so. Go ahead. OK.

Hi. Hi.

I'm Sister Ruth. I'm Janice.

That's a nice guitar. Thank you.

Do you play? Just a little bit.

What kind of music do you like?

Oh, I like, uh... I like rock music and, uh... folk music. All kinds.

Me too. Would you like to try?


Is it all right if I sit here? Sure.

Oh. Your... your book editor has a query.

In, uh... chapter two, you tell how the studios could tell the contract stars what to do and what not to do.

You had two friends who didn't cave under studio pressure.

They want the names.

That's easy. Carole Lombard and Grace Moore.

I was a rebel too.

Miss Swanson, can I get you something from the bar?

No, thank you. I have my own. Tea.

Miss Griffith? Yes. A Martini, please.

I don't believe it.

Did it again. Who's winning?

You know my son, Diamond Jim. Wins at everything, just like his father.

How long have you been playing that game?

Ever since we took off.

Better keep him away from Vegas.

Hello, Mr. Patroni.

Hi, Mr. Patroni.


What the heck are you doing down here?

What's wrong with your fancy office? New job doesn't keep you busy, huh?

You know how it is. Just like to keep my hand in.

I just got this crew broke in, so don't go screwing 'em up with your old-fashioned ways.



He dropped his old-fashioned wrench.


Do you need something? I feel a little queasy. The altitude.

I'll have a bourbon.

With a beer chaser.

Mrs. Devaney, do you know what you just ordered?

They call those boiler makers. I know.

Bourbon with a beer chaser.

Operator, I'd like to place a credit-card call.

My number is 644011537F.

Calling Mrs. Scott Freeman, same number, Boise, Idaho.

Area code 208.

Hello? - Hello?

Where are you? Elko.

I've been having weather problems.

Really, now, Scotty, don't take any chances.

Don't worry. How is the weather there?

The moon's out, but there are clouds around.

Well, there's a squall line going through here.

I'll wait it out and then come on home.

Look, can't you just cancel that meeting tomorrow?

No way. Those guys only come out once a year.

I'll find a hole in this weather and be there soon.

OK. I'll wait up.

That'll be worth coming through anything for. I love you, darling.

I love you.

What's wrong, Junior? A vibration.

In number three, huh? Yeah.

When we get to Los Angeles, you're gonna see Fifi. Give me a little kiss.

That's good. Now...

I guess everybody had given up hope, including the doctors.

Nobody expected me to live.

But, then, I've never done anything I was expected to do.

Is everything OK? Yes. Fine, thank you.

I once went with a girl who was half-French and half-Chinese.

I came home late, she ate my laundry.

I want you to be sure and tell everyone how you irrigate those flowers.

Would you pour my drink?

Who do you think is gonna make it to the Super Bowl?

Well... Greenwood probably has an inside shot.

Real funny.

Los Angeles Center, Columbia 409 over Bryce Canyon at flight level 350.

Roger, Columbia 409. Stand by for radar identification.

- We've got to sort you out. Identify. Sort us out or deal us out?

Deal us out, I hope. Sounds like they've got more traffic than the freeway.

Columbia 409, Center.

409. Go ahead. - LAX reporting zero, zero.

The whole coastline's socked in from San Diego to San Francisco.

Oh, well. Thank you. We'll proceed to our alternate, Salt Lake City.

Do you have their current weather? - Yes, scattered clouds at 15,000.

For radar vector, turn right to 340 degrees.

Roger. 340.

I hope you two won't be lonesome tonight.

Julio, will we be lonely tonight?

That's it. Fly on.

Boise Approach, this is Barron 232 Zulu. Do you read me?

Boise Approach. Go ahead, 232 Zulu.

232 Zulu, 40 miles south-east at 10,000.

VFR on top. Request landing information.

232 Zulu, we're fogged in here solid. Salt Lake City is open.

Roger, Boise. Will you give me a vector direct to Salt Lake?

140 degrees, turn right.

This is Captain Stacy speaking. May I have your attention, please?

Due to extremely heavy fog up and down the California coast, we're going to land at Salt Lake City.

Our estimated time of arrival is approximately 20 minutes from now.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

We'll try and make your delay as pleasant as possible. Thank you.

What do you do in Salt Lake City? I went there once. It was closed.

Mrs. Devaney? Mrs. Devaney? Yes?

Salt Lake City may be very good for you.

It's dry there, you know. Dry?

Do you know that my first trip to California took five days?

So if we have to spend a weekend in Salt Lake, I'm still ahead.

But we have to get to Los Angeles. We'll make it all right.

Wait till I ask Dad if this is any way to run an airline.

I suppose you'll wanna see the Mormon temple.

Hey, that'd be neat.

You don't understand.

She can't stay off that kidney machine too long. She's a very sick girl.

We'll make it. I know we will.

Salt Lake Center from Columbia 409.

Salt Lake Center. Go ahead, Columbia 409.

We're descending for a landing in your fair city. Please alert Brigham Young.

Roger, 409. We have you in radar contact.


Windshield heat. A-OK.

We're safe from all kinds of birdies. Except young flying quail.

You're a disgrace to your race. Do you know that?

Bueno, mi madre me quiere.

What did you say? I said my mother loves me.

Salt Lake Approach. Barron 232 Zulu.

Go ahead, Barron 232 Zulu.

232 Zulu, 30 miles north-west at 11,000.

Columbia 409, Salt Lake Approach.

Descend to 12,000. Maintain present heading.

Traffic at 12 o'clock, five miles. A twin-engine Barron.

Roger, Salt Lake.

OK, Junior. Let's get to it. Checklist.

Seat-belt sign. On.

Helen? No, thank you.

Sorry to bother you, but we're landing. Could you put your seat back upright?

Oh. And fasten your seat belts. OK, Joseph?

Excuse me. Could you put your seat back upright?

Sure, you bet. I'll take that.

Thank you.

Anti-ice. Check.

Altimeters. Set.

Brake pressure. 3,000 pounds.

232 Zulu, Salt Lake Approach. Maintain your heading.

You are number two for the approach following a heavy jet.

232 Zulu, roger.

Parking brake. Off.

Checklist complete.

Columbia 409, maintain present heading and altitude to intercept the ILS.

Upon intercepting the ILS, you're clear for approach.

Uh... pardon me. Don't your hands ever get tired?

Idle hands...

By the time we land, you'll probably have a rug.

A rug?

Salt Lake, this is 232 Zulu. What's the big delay?

You're still number two behind a 747.

Five degrees flaps. Five degrees.

Ladies and gentlemen, we've started our descent into Salt Lake City.

Please make sure your seat belts are fastened and put out your cigarettes.

What's wrong, Junior? That damn vibration again.

Columbia 409, the Barron is at 12,030.

Sister Ruth!





What happened? I don't know.

Bette, come here. Handle him.


Oh, my God!

Nancy. Yes.

Still flying? Yes.


It's in "on". Good.

Altitude. Hold.

Get help. Radio.

I will.

Columbia 409, this is Salt Lake Approach. Do you read me?

Do you read me? Columbia 409.

Salt Lake.

Salt Lake, this is Columbia 409.

It's...Nancy Pryor, stewardess. Something hit us.

All the flight crew is... either dead or... or badly injured.

There's no one left to fly the plane.

Help us!

We read you, Nancy. Stand by.

Oh, my God! Help us!

409, this is Salt Lake. Stay on this frequency, Nancy.

Are you flying level?

I think so, yes.

Is your autopilot on? - The what?

Your autopilot. Is it on?


Good. Describe the damage to the aircraft. Over.

There's a hole ripped through the plane on the right.

Just above the copilot's seat.

A lot of the gauges over the engineer's...panel are broken.

The front controls seem to be all right.

We have you in radar contact and you look good.

We'll do all we can to help you.

Stay on this frequency, Nancy.

I'm going down to the IFR room.

Don't panic. Stay seated, everybody, please. Remain calm.

Sit down. We'll be all right.

Bette... Bette.

Now, I want you to get hold of yourself.

We're going to have to go down there and calm everybody else.

What is gonna happen? They're gonna land the plane.


I don't know, but I want you to go down there and tell everyone everything is going to be all right.

We have to give them something to hope for.

I just got off the horn with the boss. I'll handle things here! Keep this line open.

They're gonna have to make a course correction or hit the mountains.

I want Al Murdock on this. Try his apartment.

Listen. How much time do you estimate before a course correction is needed?

Ouch. All right, hang on.

Have them get Exec One ready. We'll take the Lear to Salt Lake.

I understand. We're getting Al Murdock on this.

He was our chief instructor pilot on 747 s for four years.

I'll get back to you.

Bill. It's ringing.

Look, you're gonna have to handle the news people on this.

When the story breaks, there's gonna be relatives and friends.

Won't the directors want you to handle that?

My wife and son are in that plane. I'm going to Salt Lake City.

I'm sorry, Joe. How the hell are we gonna get that aircraft?

I don't know. That plane can do almost anything.

Murdock knows more about it than anybody. Where is he?

No answer. Wait. He was going out to meet 409.

Try the VIP lounge. Yeah.

How's it flying now? Autopilot.

How much damage was there? Not a great deal.

There's just a big hole in it where the pilots usually sit.

Yeah? Right.

Exec One is ready when you are. All right.

They're paging Murdock. Tell him to get his ass to Exec One.

Al Murdock, emergency call. Al Murdock.

Alan Murdock. Al, it's Bill.

What's up? They said it was an emergency.

It is.

My God. Yeah... Are you sure it's 409?

Yeah, I... I understand. I'm on my way.

I'm frightened. What has happened? Why won't you tell us?

We'll let you know as soon as we know ourselves. There's nothing...

Miss... What's the matter?

Where are the oxygen masks? We're below 14,000 feet.

You don't need them. Everything'll be fine.

We're flying into the mountains.

Everything will be just fine. Sit back and relax. We'll be OK.

Can I help?

Mother? Mother?

It'll be OK.

Darling, I'm going to see if I can help, but I want you to stay in your seat.

Do you want me to come with you? No.

Oh, and Mom? Remember the 747's the best aircraft ever made.

It can almost fly by itself. Dad calls it the big pussy-cat.

I remember.

Nancy, this is Al, honey. We're in Exec One on the way to Salt Lake.

We've cleared this frequency. Do you read me?

Yes, I read you.

Fine. Now, we don't have too much time.

Sit in the pilot's seat and do exactly what I tell you.

O... OK.


Now, look at the instrument panel. The altimeter is marked ALT.

I know that. - What does it read, honey?

12,000 feet.

All right. The airspeed indicator is to the left.

I know that too. It's 192.

OK, honey. Take it easy. Now I want you to find the autopilot.

Look to your right. At the top of the panel, just below the windshield.

There's a switch marked autopilot. It says command, manual and off.

I see it. - Don't touch it.

Is it in manual? It's on manual.

It's on.

I don't hear you, honey.

Nancy, press your mike button.


Fine. Now, we don't have anything to worry about.

We're just gonna help the autopilot make a turn.

Do exactly what I tell you.

Put your hand to the right of the console.

The what? - The flat panel just below the throttles.

There's a grey knob about the size of a milk-bottle top.

I see it.

OK. Now slowly turn it to the right.

Nothing's happening.

OK, honey. Try it to the left. Slowly.

It's not working. There's nothing happening. It... it's not turning the plane.

Jesus, it's not working for turns.

Can't you tell us what's happening?

They want us to change course, just like I told you. It's a very simple thing.

There is a pilot on the radio telling her what to do, telling her exactly how to do it.

Pardon me. What her?

The first stewardess is at the controls, but she... she is in constant touch with the tower.

The stewardess is flying the plane?

Could you keep your voice down? Sure.

The stewardess is flying the plane?

Thank you, but I don't drink.

What difference does it make now?

You're right.

No difference.


I'm scared. You're doing just fine, honey.

There's a problem with the autopilot.

It'll keep you straight and level but I'm gonna help you make the turns yourself.

I'm gonna turn the plane? - No sweat.

Put both hands on the wheel.

There's a button under your left thumb. Press it.

What's that?

Don't worry. That's just an alarm. Press it again.


All right, honey. You've got the airplane. Just hold it steady until I tell you.

I want you to find the artificial horizon on the instrument panel.

It's the little airplane with a horizontal line through it.


I can't do this.

Why not? You can do it, Nancy.

Nancy, come in.

God damn it, answer!

OK. OK, I'm gonna try it.

You scared the hell out of me, honey. What do you think I am?

OK. What does your altimeter read, Nancy?

11,500 feet.

That's good. All right, now, turn to the right.

Turn the wheel to the right, slow and easy.


Good. Read me your airspeed.

It's going down. It's only, uh... 184.

That's still all right. Just keep turning.

183. 182.

She's climbing. Get her nose down or she'll stall.

Not till she finishes the turn.

- What's your airspeed now? 180. It's on 180.

All right. Now turn the wheel to the left again till it comes level.

Now ease the wheel forward, just a little.

Watch the little airplane in the instrument.

Don't let it fall below the line. Wings on the horizontal line.

All right.

OK. Let the autopilot take it back now.

Turn the switch in the top panel back to manual.

Take your hands off the wheel.

Is the airplane level?

Yes. - Good job, honey.

You take a rest now. We're almost to Salt Lake.

We got a big problem. Look here.

There's Salt Lake City and there's 409. Look at the terrain in between.

There is no way we can talk Nancy through those mountains to a safe landing.

It's just too much for her.

The only way is to put a pilot into 409. You mean a mid-air transfer?

A jet helicopter can keep up. We can put a man out on a tether.

You know what it would be to do that? There isn't any other way!

I think he's right. The only question is, who?

Me. No, Al, you're too damn big.

You gonna go shopping for somebody? Right.

I'll call Hill Air Force Base. They're the experts.

You mean you're gonna try to transfer a pilot into a 747 in flight?

Yes. We need your cooperation and the fastest helicopter you've got.

Now, wait a minute. You intend to put one of our men on an umbilical?

- That's it. How's he gonna get inside?

The way the stewardess described the hole in the flight deck, it's big enough.

If you'll excuse me, sir, I think it's a stupid idea.

That's all we've got! What have you got to help us?

There's only one man who's ever done anything like this.

Major John Alexander in Air Rescue. I could try to contact him.

Who is your commanding officer?

Uh... Colonel Moss, sir. Thank you. This is Exec One out.

Now the question is, can we get there in time?

Columbia 409, Salt Lake Approach.

We need another instrument reading, Nancy.

Come in, Columbia 409.

Nancy, come in, please. Come in, Nancy.

Salt Lake Approach, Air Force T37 Sage 14 approaching Columbia 747.

The aircraft is in level flight.

The flaps are about ten degrees since the collision occurred during descent.

Look, Mom, there's another airplane out there.

Where? Right out there.

Oh... my God, there is. An air-force jet.

Jesus Christ, you can't believe this. There's a big hole in the flight deck.

Doesn't look like there's any other damage.

All four engines seem to be running.

Hard to tell instrument damage. Most of it's near the engineer's panel.

Front part looks OK.

He's probably checking the damage.

I'll bet he's gonna help us. He is.

Can you see the fighter now, Nancy? It should be on your right.

Yes, I see it. - He'll look you over and report the damage.

Nancy, the executive plane is landing here now. We'll have help up to you real soon.


Do you really think they can do anything?

They'll do everything that can be done.

You betcha. My dad runs the airlines.

Well, almost.

What does he mean about running this airline?

My husband is vice-president of operations.

Some operations!

Uh-oh. There's a crease on the inboard section of the starboard wing.

I see some fuel coming off the trailing edge.

If this had happened at 20,000 feet, forget it.

Plot a rendezvous point. Have the '47 make a 180 and bring her back.

We gotta make sure she holds altitude. Colonel Moss is on his way.

What's the fuel situation? We have a complication.

The air-force fighter says there's a fuel leak in the right wing.

Oh, damn! That Nancy's some woman.

She'd better be. How much can we ask of her?

There's a call for you, Mr. Patroni. Everything, I guess.


Your information is correct, but we're clearing everything out of our LA office.

Our concern is for the safety of those people. Excuse me.

Who's that? A guy named Purcell.

Owns a TV station. He's sending a remote unit.

What? We don't have any bodies yet.

Take it easy. We'll need all the good press we can get.

Let's go find that colonel and get that rendezvous course plotted.

Oh. My jewel case.

It's bomb-proofed. The insurance people insisted upon it.

Oh... My idea of heaven is never to have to pack or unpack.

Why didn't I think of that before? Here.

Here. You know what?

To hell with the jewellery. Let's put my book in here.

Thank you.

Here you are, my darlings. It's all yours.

I never wanted to have the damn thing published while I was alive anyway.

Colonel, will this thing work?

It'll be like putting a raw egg back in its shell.

Your pilot confirmed the hole looks like it's big enough.

It's a hell of a risk, a long shot.

How long before that helicopter gets here?

About ten minutes. I gotta clear with Washington.

Make it fast.

Do we have any morphine in the first-aid kit?

No. I'm sure we have some sedatives.

No. Help.

Yes, we'll help you. It will put you to sleep.


Maybe... help.

I understand. He wants to stay conscious in case he can help us later on.

Salt Lake Approach. Do you read me, Nancy?

This is Nancy. Go ahead.

In a while we'll take you through a 180-degree turn like we did before.

Captain Murdock will talk you through it. No sweat. OK?

I'm not looking forward to it. - Hang in there, Nancy. You'll do fine.

You're doing great.

We want you to look at the flight engineer's panel, in the center, just above the deck.

Tell us what the third fuel-used gauge reads. Over.

Uh... 22,500 pounds. Why, is something wrong?

No, we just want to keep track of the rate of fuel flow.

We're not running low, are we? - No chance.

There's always an extra amount just in case.

And the captain always adds a few thousand pounds for his wife and kids.

Even his mother-in-law.

Nancy. Come in, Nancy.

Hello, this is Nancy. Can you hear me?

Come in, 409. Nancy, do you read me?

Flight 409 calling Salt Lake.

Nancy! Come in, 409.

This is Flight 409 calling Salt Lake. Come in.

Columbia 409 calling Salt Lake.

It just went out. I'll try it.

Columbia 409. Do you read, Nancy?

Come in. Come in.

This is Flight 409 calling Salt Lake. Come in.

Got her. Frequency?


This is Salt Lake. 409, come in. Can you read me?

Yes, thank God.

What happened?

A piece of wreckage fell into the radio panel.

Don't change anything. Just stand by.

Standing... Standing by.


Are you all right? Yeah, I'm all right.

How is it down there? It's better.

The sight of another plane kind of perked everybody up.


What is it? I don't know.

Looks like it's cracked.

What's the matter? Some fluid's coming out of the wing.

There's gas coming out of the wing.

I don't wanna hear that. He doesn't wanna hear it.

What the hell is that? That'll be Mr. Purcell.

TV has arrived. He knows everybody in town. He'll get clearance to come up here.

Leave her alone!

What are your plans?

You just sit here. I'll be back in a minute, Mrs. Freeman. And don't worry.

Mr. Patroni? Yeah.

Glen Purcell, KSL-TV.

I know how busy you must be, but we're going on a special nationwide network hook-up.

Sorry, I'm busy.

Sir, this happens to be a very big story.

We have Mrs. Freeman downstairs and I thought you...

Who's Mrs. Freeman?

You know. The private pilot that went down. She is his wife.

What the hell's she doing here?

Trying to locate her husband. Have they found him yet?

We don't know. The highway patrol was alerted at the time of the collision.

Why don't you go talk to them? You haven't bothered to find out?

No. We're too busy trying to save the 120 that are up there.

Why don't you just let us get on with our job?

I think it would be good public relations to talk with her.

It was your plane that killed him.

Listen, you son of a bitch.

Take it easy. Joe!

Take it easy, you said. Right?

Al, sometimes the public's right to know gives me a huge pain in the ass.

We've got a problem, Mr. Patroni. Yeah?

We may lose radio contact. We can barely read her.

She's having the same trouble.

What about another frequency? I'm afraid to let her try.

We might lose what we have.

We gotta get started, Joe. Now.

409. 409, this is Joe Patroni. How do you read me, Nancy?

Not very well, Mr. Patroni.

How about now? I can barely read you, Mr. Patroni.

Nancy, is that my husband? Yes.

Let me talk to him.

Joe? Joe, this... this is Helen. Can you hear me?

Yeah. You're all doing a great job, honey, uh... We're proud of you.

We're, uh...we're doing everything that we can here and we're almost ready.

We... we have faith in you.

Uh... how is the captain? In pain.

Well, he's a good man.


How's Joe Junior?

He's fine.

We love you.

Ladies and gentlemen, tension is thick here at Salt Lake City airport.

Just arriving is the air-force helicopter.

Major John Alexander will make a dramatic attempt to rescue 120 persons trapped aboard the giant jet liner without pilot and without crew.

And tragedy within tragedy, one of them a young girl dying unless she's delivered to LA soon for a kidney transplant operation.

Major Alexander has volunteered to make this daring attempt.

He will be lowered on a line from the air-force helicopter and will crawl through the hole torn into the body of the jumbo jet liner.

Here they are now.

What a moment this is.

All right, we're ready here, Nancy.

Remember, I'll tell you everything you have to do. You can do it.

I can't hear you very well.

Take it easy, honey.

Very slow. Are you ready?

Ready. All right.

We're gonna turn you around to a new heading.

260 degrees.

We don't want you to lose altitude, so we'll do it very slow and easy.

Now, first you have to turn off the autopilot.

Put both hands on the wheel.

There's a button under your left thumb.

Press it.

There, now, honey. You've got the airplane.

Now, read me your compass heading.

Compass? OK. The arrow is on the S.

OK. Look at the numbers.

We're gonna turn until it reads 260 degrees.

Are you ready?

Ready. - Turn the wheel to the right.

Easy, now. Not too much.

You're doing fine, honey. Just watch the little plane on the horizon.

I'm watching.

Now, read me the altimeter.

8,000 feet. Eight.

Read it again, honey. Read it as it changes.

Seven-nine, seven-eight...

She's gotta get that altitude back. She's only got 1,500 feet.

Keep turning just the way you're doing, honey, but at the same time ease the wheel back till you see the little plane lift up a bit.

Nancy, have you done that?

Yes, I think so.

What's your airspeed?

18... 188.

188. Do you read me?

I read you fine, honey.

Now, what's your heading? Your compass heading.

240. 240.

There's a 13,000-foot mountain right in front of her.

Read me that again, Nancy.

That's 255. 255.

All right. Ease the wheel to the left now, Nancy. To the left a little.

Nice and slow, not too much.

Tell me what's happening, Nancy.

Press your mike button, honey.

We're turning back. The little airplane is tilting to the left. I mean back.

All right, that's fine. Now, bring it back to level. Watch the little airplane.

All right, level now.

What's the airspeed now? The airspeed. Read it to me.


Now the altimeter. It's just over 10,000 feet.

She's still too low.

Let George take it back now, Nancy.

Put it back on autopilot.

You're doing just great, honey.

That helicopter's ready, gentlemen.

The helicopter's ready. We're taking off now. We'll be with you in a little while.

She's gonna take the tops off those mountains.

It's gonna be tight. You want to take it, Joe?

I'm going with you, Al. I can do it.

Her altitude's critical. For God's sake, watch it.

We've been damn lucky so far. Let's not push it.

Try not to rattle her.

All right, now, Nancy, we're gonna watch your altitude.

Drama. And all of you across the nation are seeing it as it happens.

The rescue team is going to the helicopter.

Gentlemen? Gentlemen, may I have a few words?

How do you propose to slow the jet down?



I'm scared.

I am too.

Nancy, look!


Are you all right? Nancy, what happened?

Salt Lake, this is Columbia 409.

Come in.

Salt Lake, this is Columbia 409. Come in.

409, this is Salt Lake. Do you read me?

Come in, 409. This is Salt Lake. Do you read?

409, come in, please. What's wrong?

I don't hear anybody.

The frequencies.

Salt Lake, come in.

Salt Lake, come in.

Salt Lake, come in.

Nancy, come in. Do you read me?

Salt Lake, come in, please.

We've lost her.

Why don't we have that air-force jet try his frequency again?

There's a chance she can hear us. I'm gonna talk her through a climb.

409, do you read?

They found the small plane. It exploded on impact.

The radio's dead.

We're all alone now, Bette.

The winch will hold your position, OK?

Got it, sir? Got it.

You'll find you can control lateral movement somewhat.

Using the wind pressure against my body.

You'll have to signal us for in and out movement.

I must have made 20 drops in Nam, sir.

But what you're gonna do scares the hell out of me.

Me too.

Nancy? Oh, my God!

Bette, we're too low.

What are you supposed to do?

I don't know. Uh...

I know they're worried about airspeed.

Now, if we climb, the airspeed drops.

I could stall us out.

The captain. He said he could help us.

Do you understand me, Captain?

Thrust levers.

The thrust levers. What about them?

Forward... an inch.

A... all right. Anything else?

190... hold.

One... nine... zero...


I've done a few screwy things in this outfit, but this'll be a first.

She'll handle a lot like that 707 tanker you're used to flying.

Once you get her on the ground, you're still three storeys in the air.

I'll let you know if it's true about not making a bad landing in a 747.

Control reports 409's lost radio contact.

What about the altitude? Had they made correction?


What's our ETA at rendezvous? A few minutes.

They haven't got a few minutes.

We should see her soon. Probably be below us. Be harder to see.

Two minutes to ETA. She's gotta be out there somewhere.

There she is.

She's flying it. She's flying it herself.

Climb, baby. Climb.

Look at the mountains. We're so close.

Ready, sir?

I'll see you in Salt Lake. Lower away.

Ease him down. Just a little. Steady.

Oh, dear God, he fell! God Almighty.

Oh, God. Get me one of those suits.

But, sir... Get the suit!

You're not gonna do it.

Who's gonna stop me? I am!

You got anybody else up here knows how to fly that bloody plane?

This is just plain suicide, sir.

We can't let you wear a chute. It might pull you up into the blades.

She's falling off. Tell the chopper.

This the tether release? Yes, sir.

She's losing altitude.

Get me out of here before I change my mind.

Yeah! Yeah.

He made it. The pilot's on the plane.

Salt Lake Approach, the pilot is now aboard Columbia 747.

Flying straight and level.

Your hand. I'll get you something.

Damn, that's all we need. What is it?

Number three engine's awful hot. I'll shut it down.

Tell the passengers it's just a precaution.

OK. Tell 'em, baby.

Please may I have your attention?

Captain Murdock is now aboard and is flying this plane.

Please. He wants me to tell you that everything is under control.

However, he will also have to shut down one of the engines, which seems to be running a little roughly. We're gonna die.

But there is nothing to be alarmed about.


Where are you going, Arnie? Arnie?

Come back here. Leave them alone up there.

Look, uh... is everything all right?

There is a pilot on board, right? Yes, sir, there is.

I must tell him something. I saw something out the window.

Please, sir, you're not allowed up there.

Please, sir, don't go up there. I don't want you to go...

What's going on? The gas is leaking out of the wing.

We've got plenty of fuel in the other tanks. Go back and sit down.

What about fire? It might explode. There's no danger.

My God! Get him the hell out of here!

Please, sir, we know about the fuel. Now, it's being handled.

It's all right. We're handling it, OK?

Go and sit down and relax. It's fine. I'll get you a drink.

Look at this. The collision wiped out so many instruments, I can't tell what's working and what isn't.

We are gonna be able to land, aren't we?

You tell me. I don't know if I can get the landing gear down, and I can't tell if it's locked into position.

There's nothing I can do about it.

How's Stacy?

Not good. The radio too?

The radio's dead. I've tried every channel.

Well, here we go.

Let's see if you can land one of these things by the seat of your pants.

How long before we land? Two minutes.

Salt Lake, this is Patroni. We're on our way down.

We're gonna need ambulances for the girl and the injured crew.

Hit the red button. Clear the field.

Go have the passengers fasten their seat belts.

Tell the girls to hang on.

Go do your thing, baby.

Are we OK? Have you heard anything? Nothing.

Let's get back to work.

Prepare for landing. Remember the intercom systems aren't working.

Honey, we'll have to stow this for landing.

I'll take good care of it.

Buckle yourself in.

They went down, baby. Just hope they're locked.

Almost home.

Are we landing? Yes, Janice.

I knew we'd be all right.

Nancy? Yes?

I love you.

Over the fence.

Damn! What's the matter?

Brake pressure's dropping. I don't know if we've got enough left to stop.

Jesus! This mother's got ten back-up systems too.

He can't stop her!

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for flying Columbia Airlines.

Unfasten seat belts. Let's go. Quick.

Are we here already?

Are we here already? No, we've gone to Washington.

Are we here already? What's going on?

The ambulance will take you to the hospital. They're ready for the transplant.

All right, get in there.

No, Miss Swanson. You can't take that with you.

I'll... You'll get it later. Jump!

Let's go. Get out of here.

I really was in that picture.

Remember when the kids walked into... ran into the, uh... hamburger shop?

I was the short-order cook. I don't remember.

One of the hamburgers hit me on the head.

I've got a scar. I believe you.

That's a big pussy-cat, Dad.

No, it's a tomcat.

Oh, it's so beautiful.

Every morning is beautiful. You're just too young to know.