After months of publicity and promotion, pilot Michel Asseline finally gets the chance to show off the brand new Airbus A320, but instead of ending in applause, his flyover ends in flames.
It was supposed to be the pride of France but the Airbus A320 would become a national embarrassment after crashing at an airshow on its maiden passenger flight. Investigators are under heavy pressure to determine why the world's most sophisticated passenger jet failed. The conclusion they reach is a controversial one, and remains so to this day. Revisit the 1988 crash of Air France Flight 296, and see how hasty planning, a risky flight maneuver, and a high-tech computer designed to ensure a plane's safety, all contributed to the tragic accident.
Watch this episode online now.
Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.