Factual error: When the terrorist clears the nearly fuel-exhausted plane to land on the lowered ILS, the terrorist says, "Windsor 114, you are cleared to land on Dulles Runway 29, ILS." Problem is: There is no Runway 29 at Dulles. The closest runway alignment for a 290 degree heading is Runway 30. (00:53:35)
Factual error: When the bad guys 747 is blown up it is about 40 or 50 metres off the ground and travelling at take-off velocity, yet when Holly's plane is landing you can see that the debris field is perfectly circular. Surely the 747s speed and angle of descent would mean the debris field would be elongated? (01:50:30)
Factual error: The chase scene involving the snowmobiles is problematic in that McClane can actually see where he's going. In driving snow, it's often difficult to see, as snow blows in one's eyes. On a speeding snowmobile, in heavy snow and with no eye protection, it would be practically impossible to see anything. (01:31:15)
Factual error: When the 747 explodes, fire is rushing up through the cargo hold. Esperanza - in the cockpit - looks back over his shoulder as if seeing the fire coming. Clearly he can't see the fire - since the view we are seeing is inside the cargo hold and cabin. But why is he then turning his head and looking back against the cockpit wall? And the flash we see on his face - from the explosion - that would not be there until the fire was inside the cockpit. And that would go so fast that he wouldn't have time to scream. (01:50:35)
Factual error: There is absolutely no way the villains could remotely recalibrate the instruments on the plane itself. Even if it would be possible to remotely readjust the ILS glideslope - which it isn't - the pilot would've noticed their approach angle being suspiciously steep on the attitude indicator and the aircraft's radar altimeter would've given a terrain warning. (00:52:44)
Factual error: When McClane lights the fuel with the zippo, the flame trail is all wrong. There appears to be a thin strip of fuel which accelerates away from him. However, we have seen the Fuel spurted out in a wider less controlled manner from a wing tip that has to be at least fifteen feet up, in a wind, which would have sprayed it around further. There is no way it would light in the tight manner shown. (01:45:55)
Factual error: There is absolutely no way that Bruce Willis could have stood in the middle of an airport landing zone trying to keep the plane from crashing into the ground. He has no protective ear equipment on - that noise most definitely would have blown his eardrums out and blew him several yards away physically when it flew over him.
Factual error: One scene has a shot of an aircraft, in flight, with a red light on the starboard (right) wing and a green light on the port (left) wing. Backwards.
Factual error: In the tower, Leslie Barnes and a few men are talking about the Annex Skywalk, mentioning that it is a "VHF System." Barnes says the planes are so close it won't matter. VHF, or Very High Frequency, transmits far distances, hence why it is used by airports around the world. He should have said "UHF", which transmits shorter distances, as that would make more sense.
Factual error: A dangerous prisoner like Esperanza would not be flown into a civilian airport. He would be transported to the nearest USAF base, in this case Andrews Air Force base, always assuming that he is being extradited to Washington D.C.