Corrected entry: Since the terrorists have implausibly taken over all the radios at the airport, the good guys use the marker beacons to communicate with the airplanes. Even if the marker beacons could be modified to talk rather than beep, they are directional, such that you only receive them for a few seconds as you pass over them. There is not enough time to get a message. Nor could a marker beacon be used to broadcast to a large number of airplanes. The outer marker is only 5 miles from the airport. At most, one airplane would be holding over the outer marker.
Correction: This is incorrect. An NDB (non-directional beacon) will give a morse code ident up to 20 miles away in some cases. You do not have to be over it to receive the signal. When you are directly over it, it will show zero miles on the DME (distance measuring equipment). The marker beacon can be received by anyone who has tuned in its frequency, potentially hundreds of aeroplanes. You can have many different aircraft in 'the hold' above an airfield or a beacon. They're called stacks. Also see the quote from the movie, "stack em, pack em, and rack em."
Corrected entry: At the end of the film when the planes begin landing there is no reason for the planes to deploy emergency chutes and send the passengers outside into the snow. All aircraft landed safely without incident. They were simply low on fuel. Planes only evacuate if there is impending danger to passengers by remaining on board.
Correction: There are plenty of reason to do so. (1) The planes were low on fuel and the landing area is a distance from the airport. So they might not have enough fuel to move back to the airport. (2) They are all now in deep snow. The planes might not be able to get out on their own power. (3) It is the middle of the night. The people on board wouldn't want to wait till they can get ladders out there.
Corrected entry: When McClane's wife is thinking about using the phone to call, there is a shot of the phone. Behind the phone, you can see a circular staircase. The aircraft she is on, an L1011 TriStar, has only one passenger deck.
Correction: The L-1011 was originally designed with a lower deck, configures either as a passenger lounge/bar or as a galley; just not all airlines bought the option.
Corrected entry: In the first shot of McClane on the snowmobile his breath can be seen in the air in front of his face. But he's driving so fast that that would be impossible.
Correction: It's not shown in front of his face, it's to right of his face, and he goes past it quite quickly. There's nothing impossible about it. I have a snowmobile myself and witness this just about every time I go out on it.
Corrected entry: It is impossible for a stream of burning gasoline to follow a plane through snow and catch up. A plane would quickly reach an altitude where the fuel stream would be too dispersed for the flame to climb up into the tank.
Correction: There are quite a few errors with this entry. The first is that aviation fuel cannot catch fire that easy for it to "burn" but we will ignore that fact. Reaching an altitude? The plane was barely off the ground when "the flame" caught up to it. Finally, have you seen a fire breather? When the flammable liquid is set alight it makes it easier for it to burn when it is dispersed.
Corrected entry: When John McClain sends Officer Powell the fax of the fingerprints, notice the direction he feeds the page into the fax. The middle two fingers' prints are the first two prints to go across the scanner, followed by the outer two fingers' prints. With a fax, the first thing scanned is the first thing printed. Therefore, when Powell received the fax, the middle two prints should be at the bottom of the page with the outer two prints higher up on the page. You can see when Powell removes the page out of the machine that this is not the case.
Correction: Faxes are not "streamed" live; in other words, the data is not being printed by one machine while it's scanned by the other. Instead, the machine scans the image and creates a file. That file is transmitted to another machine, which then prints the image according to its system preferences. So it's entirely conceivable for one machine to scan from "top" to "bottom" and another to print from "bottom" to "top."
Corrected entry: When McClane is trapped in the cockpit of Esperanza's plane, and the terrorists throw grenades in, it sure takes them a long time to explode. At least a good 20 seconds passes before he ejects from the plane and the grenades go off. Normal grenades would have gone off long before 20 seconds.
Correction: Whilst you are correct in what you say, typically movies rarely time things to occur exactly, mainly to build up dramatic tension. It's a standard movie making convention.
Corrected entry: After Col. Stewart has crashed the Windsor flight, he communicates with the control tower with the radio handset he used to contact the plane, every other time he uses a separate phone handset.
Correction: So he chose to use a different handset at one point. That is not a mistake, but a character decision.
Corrected entry: At the end when John lights the fuel with a lighter, this isn't possible with Jet A-1 which is what the Boeing 747 is fuelled with. It is very hard to light. Even if you drop a match into a bowl of jet A-1 it will not ignite. Jet A-1 has to be compressed or have the temperature raised to a minimum of 38c/100f in order to ignite (which the compressing also does) so fuel in snow would never ever ignite in the way shown.
Correction: An open flame on a lighter burns hotter than 38C. That's equivalent to about 100F - not all that hot as fire goes. Assuming the wind doesn't blow the lighter's flame out, it stands to reason the jet fuel could be ignited. The match in the bowl of fuel story refers to JP-7, a fuel specially developed for the SR-71 Blackbird. From Wikipedia.org: "The story told by Ben Rich in his book Skunk Works is that a lit match can be dropped in a bucket of JP-7 and the fuel will not ignite and match will be extinguished"
Corrected entry: The interior of the plane which is deliberately crashed by the terrorists is of a BAC 1/11. I do not know any airline in the world which would choose to send a BAC 1/11 over the Atlantic from Europe due to it only being able to carry a limited number of passengers and short range capabilities.
Correction: It would be helpful to know what about the interior gives this plane away as a 1/11, as the exterior is very a DC-8. Many early jets have similar or identical seating layouts and cabin appointments. I have not seen anything that obviously distiguishes this plane as a 1/11.
Corrected entry: The last scene shows the bad guys in their plane ready to take off - driving down the runway. Then Bruce gets from the helicopter to the plane's wing, fights with each bad guy, falls off, and the plane begins to take off - again. At no time did the plane turn to circle to another runway. It seems this runway was about 2 to 3 times as long as it should have been.
Correction: Have a closer look. As the 747 begins its takeoff run, it can be seen just completing a right-hand turn onto the runway.
Corrected entry: Shortly after the terrorists first start taking over the airport, the airport's chief engineer is shown scurrying about with an E6B flight computer in his hands. The E6B is a mechanical device, usually made out of aluminum, that is similar to a old-style slide rule. But it is used only by pilots to calculate things like course corrections due to winds - there is absolutely no reason that an airport chief engineer would carry one on the ground, especially in a time of crisis. The mechanical E6B, even by 1990, had largely been replaced by electronic calculator type E6Bs by the airlines and even many private pilots.
Correction: Although electronic flight calculators have been in widespread use for some time, E6Bs are (and were in 1990) still in widespread use (I use one presently - it works and is far cheaper than the electronic alternative). People who grew up in the pre-digital age were and are often leery of electronics. It's entirely possible that the chief engineer was simply more comfortable with the mechanical E6B. A character choice.
Corrected entry: When McClain is arguing with Lorenzo in the police station, McClain shoots the gun at him with the blanks in it to make his point. Lorenzo walks over to the phone, picks it up, and says, "This is Chief Lorenzo." It has been established throughout the movie that Lorenzo holds the rank of Captain.
Correction: Rank and title are often used interchangably. In many naval services, as an example, the CO of vessel is often referred to as the captain, whether or not s/he actually holds the rank of Captain. If Lorenzo is the highest ranking officer serving in the airport, it would be appropriate to call him Chief, regardless of his rank.
Corrected entry: When McClane says 'damn it, I hate it when I'm right' during the crawl through the ventilation duct, it is clear that this line has been dubbed.
Correction: This is most likely a network TV alteration, rather than a mistake. Most US networks either edit out or re-dub scenes with expletive language to make them more family-friendly.
Corrected entry: It is not possible that a Heckler & Koch MP5 repeats with blank rounds as seen during the fight at the church. An automatic weapon, such as an MP5, repeats with gas pressure, which only is strong enough when a bullet is in the barrel.
Correction: There are different types of blanks, that do allow for the firearm to operate. The 5-in-1 style of blank, designed to cycle through firearm actions and fit a variety of firearm chambers, is also commonly used in real firearms for dramatic effect.
Corrected entry: Early in the film, McClane describes Cochrane's pistol to Lorenzo as a "Glock 7" which is made in Germany. While the model could easily be made up for the movie (there's no real Glock 7, and even the mostly non-metal models are easily detected), Glocks are Austrian, not German.
Correction: McClane is a detective in the LAPD, he is not an international arms dealer or sales rep from Glock. He doesn't know the country of origin of every type of weapon on the planet. He may not even distinguish Austria from Germany.
Corrected entry: On the plane, Holly informs the air hostess that Dick Thornberg filed a restraining order against her. She then goes on to say that this is because she knocked two of his teeth out. In the first "Die Hard" film, Holly punches Dick in the nose, not the mouth.
Correction: Because of the camera angle, we can't see the location of impact of Holly's punch. The fact that Thornburg only holds his nose doesn't preclude the possibility that the injury might've been more extensive. Also, given Thornburg's reputation and character, it wouldn't have been beyond him to have been lying about knocked out teeth when he filed the restraining order. Holly didn't stick around to see the results, so from her perspective that might've been what happened.
Corrected entry: When McClane is about to attach the church he notes that the guard is walking over his own footsteps. But there are some cars between him and the church so he can't see the guard's feet.
Correction: He is just pointing out that the guard is walking back and forth, like he is guarding something or on an outlook, not that the guard literally is walking over his own footsteps.
Corrected entry: The only reason the terrorist's plot can work is that the airports around Dulles are all closed to landings because of the violent snowstorm. If there were no storm, the pilots of the airliners in the holding pattern would simply divert to nearby airports when they started running low on fuel. If they were able to do that, the whole plot would simply fall apart. How were the terrorists able to count on the storm happening on the very day General Esperanza's flight was due to land? They didn't have any influence over the date of his flight. How did they know the storm would be so bad that all airports would be closed - except Dulles? I don't think they had any way of predicting the weather quite that accurately.
Correction: The terrorists in the film planned extensively for this operation, but the storm occurring may have just been a coincidence for them. They may also have had the plan waiting for a perfect opportunity, like a snowstorm. In the beginning of the movie, there's a news story on while the Colonel is exercising nude. The story says Esperanza's extradition has been long and drawn out, until a phone call from..." and he cuts the TV off. Given his connections, Colonel Stewart may well have been able to arrange a State Department call the week of a predicted snow storm. Esperanza's adherents may also have been able. Another scenario they may have had is to take the Air Traffic Controllers hostage (as they did) and have the other aircraft diverted for a supposed emergency, but the snowstorm worked out. Whatever the case, that element of the plot is an interesting discussion, not a mistake.