"We're not concentrating on the spectacle of airplane crashes," insists Bob Berger, one of the show's five producer/directors. "The real story is about how humans react under stress. And about man versus an out-of-control machine, and about how sometimes man wins."
The stories told are of five actual crashes and one close call. Among them is the 1996 AeroPeru flight that took off without a working airspeed indicator and the 1989 Sioux City flight in which the rear engine exploded, severing the plane's hydraulic controls. Each act ends with the sound of grinding metal and a body count.
"Emergencies like this have become television spectacles in America," says Berger, a former cameraman for CNN. "We've learned to overlook the human element in this sort of tragedy. In our show, the human element is right in front of you, and you only see the fear of the people who are trying to save lives."
If nothing else, seeing Charlie Victor Romeo will change your view of flight attendants. "I used to think of the flight crew as the people who serve you your drinks, people who get you where you're going," Berger says. "After working on this show, I think of them as people who can save my life."