The life of a pilot isn’t always fun, exciting, and exotic – people who fly planes need to have nerves of steel and a quick mind. In Sully, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in a river in New York after his flight hits a flock of geese. The movie, based on an actual incident, takes us from inside the cockpit at the time of the event to Sully’s life after it.
LA to Vegas (2018)
Many flights have first class sections, fancy bars, and walk-in showers, but you won’t find these luxury add-ons in LA to Vegas, which starred Dylan McDermott, Kim Matula, and Ed Weeks. The sitcom, which was cancelled after one season, follows the crew of a budget airline that flies from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, as they deal with rowdy passengers and party animals.
Pan Am (2011)
Flying all around the world is something we tend to take for granted these days, but back in the 1960s, it was considered something super fancy. This drama, set during the 60s, follows the lives of the pilots and flight attendants who worked on the Pan American World Airways airline as they dealt with love, loss, and hair-raising events on board the plane. Sure, you won’t get a real flavour of what being a pilot is like from watching this series, but you’ll gain an appreciation of what it must have been like back in the day.
Top Gun (1986)
Is there a better film to watch if you want to truly experience what it’s like to be a fighter pilot, aka the rock stars of aviation? Tom Cruise stars as Maverick, a pilot that is sent to flight school. His cocky personality and reckless attitude puts him at odds with the other pilots and instructors – including Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (played by Kelly McGillis), a scientist and civilian instructor at the school.
A biopic about the extraordinary life and times of legendary pilot Amelia Earhart, who was the first woman to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean. While the film didn’t receive the best reviews and was singled out for criticism because of historical inaccuracies, it gives a look at the world of early aviation through the life of a then-rarity, a female pilot. Undeniably, however, is the mystery surrounding the end of Earhart’s life. Her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean as she attempted a circumnavigation of the globe.
The Dam Busters (1955)
Based on real events in the second world war, The Dam Busters recounts British efforts to cripple German industries by bombing their dams. Engineer Barnes Wallis manages to devise a type of bomb that will work more effectively against German dams, but struggles to get taken seriously. His plan is approved, and the mission succeeds in disabling the targets. While the action is riveting, the film is best known to be the inspiration behind the bombing run on the first Death Star in Star Wars IV: A New Hope.
Air Crash Investigation (2003-ongoing)
Statistically, travelling by aeroplane is much safer than driving or other forms of transport, but we still hold a sort of morbid fascination with accidents that happen in the air. Even the most wannabe pilots among you will not be able to look away from the disasters and collisions that are shown on US TV show Air Crash Investigation, which examines some of the world’s worst air disasters, using reports, transcripts and interviews to discover what went wrong in each horrific case.
Edited by Ginny Wong