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  • In "Crash of the Century", the Pan-Am flight crew breaks into a random singing of "Infernal Gallop" (the song usually associated with the Can-Can). Given the morbid outcome of the episode, some levity is appreciated.
  • When the pilots of Northwest Flight 85 manage to land the plane after having a lower-rudder hard-over, and fighting to keep the aircraft from ripping apart, the tower calls them and tells them "That's, uh, quite the rudder you got there!" and then states that it must've been one hell of a ride. The Pilots just burst out laughing during their celebration for making the landing. Bonus points for this conversation...
    "So what do we do for an encore?"
    "Not that!"
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  • David Burke's storming of the cockpit, horrific and darkly hilarious in the same measure:
    Flight Attendant: We have a problem!
    Pilot: What kind of problem?
    Burke: (shoots attendant) I'm the problem! (shoots pilots)
  • The crew of United 232 manage to indulge in a bit of Gallows Humour while lining up for a landing with no hydraulics which none of the crew really expect to survive.
    ATC: United 232, you are clear to land on any runway.
  • The attempted shootdown of a DHL freighter in Baghdad ends with a successful landing... in the middle of a field full of unexploded cluster bombs. What else could possibly go wrong?
    Co-pilot: I don't believe this...
  • BA Flight 9 has Captain Moody and his Understatement.
    "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress."
    • Later on First Officer Roger Greaves has to use a megaphone to instruct passengers how to use their oxygen masks because, "We're having a small problem with the public address system." Even though it's quite a sensible thing to do, bear in mind, this is while the plane is filled with smoke and with less than twenty minutes before it crashes into the sea, which makes any problem with the public address system seem rather insignificant in comparison.
  • The American Airlines flight 96 incident where a cargo door blew out depicts the blowout occurring at the exact moment one of the flight attendants turned on the coffee machine. It gives the impression that DC-10s have coffee machines that double as a self-destruct.
    • One of the flight attendants couldn't be initially found after the blowout. Then there's a shot of the lock on the toilet door changing from "Engaged" to "Vacant". That attendant was in the perfect place to handle the consequences of the emergency.
  • After the crash of Varig Flight 254, the crew remembers that the black boxes have beacons that activate when exposed to water. So the captain manages to activate the beacon by urinating on it.
  • There is a note of dark humour about some of the terms crash investigators use such as "Fat, dumb and happy" to describe a pilot who is flying in blissful ignorance of something they really should be paying attention to, "Fast-fingered Freddie" for pilots punching things into their flight computers without due care as to whether the input is correct and "Get-there-itis" for a pathological need to complete an objective at the expense of things such as the safety of the flight.
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  • The fact that TWA 800's pushback delay was caused by a missing passenger who was on board the whole time. If the flight had gone well, it would have been a great story that the pilots would have told. Falls into Made Myself Sad when you realize that the shenanigans with the 'missing' passenger ultimately played a vital role in the Disaster Dominoes that led to the accident; had the plane been able to leave on time with the passenger accounted for, there is a chance that there wouldn't be as much vapour in the fuel tanks, the same vapour which ignited and caused the aircraft to explode...
  • Did anyone not laugh at the following exchange in the FedEx 705 episode?
    Captain: You got any handcuffs?
    Fireman: No.
    Captain: Well, if not, you'd better get some, 'cuz that son of a bitch is still dangerous.
  • There are a number of crashes that have causes so ludicrous that you can't help but laugh at the sheer absurdity of the situation. Such as the pilot who let his teenaged son fly the plane, the pilots who faked their own credentials to fly Mexican government officials, the pilot who had secretly been treated for a nerve condition that dulled his senses in his legs, or the pilots who (along with a flight attendant) were sharing a cigarette in the cockpit.
  • US Airways Flight 1549's Captain Sullenberger remarks, "What a great view of the Hudson today." You're about to see it a whole lot closer...
  • The following exchange on board the Qantas Flight 32, after the Captain asks the second officer to go to the passenger cabin and look out a window to assess the damage.
    Captain Champion de Crespigny: What can you tell me, Mark?
    Second Officer: Engine two's blown apart. Cut a hole through the wing and we're leaking fuel.
    First Officer: ...Good to know.
    • Later on, after they realise the plane is too over-weighted for the Singapore Airport runway, the captain suggests dumping some fuel to lighten the load. Unfortunately shrapnel from the disintegrated engine has damaged the functions needed to do so.
      First Officer: It's a good idea but we can't, fuel transfer pumps are down.
      Captain Champion de Crespigny: Dammit. Can someone tell me what IS working?
    • Just before starting the take-off roll:
      Captain Champion de Crespigny: So, is everyone happy?
      First Officer: Yeah, I'm happy. Just, uh, don't crash.
  • Meta example: Thai Airways Flight 311 and Garuda Indonesia Flight 421 both had two actors playing captain and lead investigator in reversed roles of each other.
  • From the episode about Reeve Aleutian Airways Flight 8:
    • After the plane lost the propeller for the number four engine and the plane had depressurized:
      Jr. Flight Attendant Victoria Fredenhagen: I got up and got the oxygen walk-around bottle, put that on. I went to look out the right side and the passenger there said to me, "You don't want to look out the window." And it was like, "Oh, there's no propeller on number four".
    • After the plane landed safely at Anchorage:
      Sr. Flight Attendant Wendy Kroon: And as soon as I hit the ground, one of the passengers come up to me and goes, "When's the next flight to Seattle"? *laughs* And I'm looking at him like, "Um, I don't think you realize how bad this situation was."
    • A little later after the plane had been evacuated:
      Gary Lintner: The company was always telling us that we're a bunch of unprofessional assholes. I guess you can't probably print that at any rate.
  • In the episode about Qantas Flight 72, the captain gave this Shout-Out to Airplane!:
    "Looks like I picked a bad day to quit sniffing glue."
  • In the episode about the Gimli Glider incident, the narrator's line "one thing the 767 doesn't have... is a horn" is funny in its delivery.
  • In "Bomb On Board", the scenario itself is entirely serious, but in their joint interview, the captain and second officer clearly find certain moments in the sequence hilarious in retrospect — if only for how ridiculous the whole thing was — and the laughter is contagious. (Given that they managed to land their plane with only a single fatality, they've earned the laughs.)
  • In the episode on the Lockerbie bombing, there's suddenly a shot of a chef pointing a gun at someone. While it's later shown he's an undercover officer who was involved with the arrest shown in the opening, it's still so hilariously jarring, especially since all the other officers shown are dressed in street clothes like leather jackets and sunglasses.

Alternative Title(s): Air Crash Investigation