Factual error: 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 aluminium, 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. Plus the mechanical E6B, even by 1990, had largely been replaced by electronic calculator type E6Bs by the airlines and even many private pilots.
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: Several runway numbers are mentioned in the movie: runway 10, 15, 25 right and 25 left. Runway 25 means course 250. The opposite end would then be Runway 7 (course 70). It would be unusual for an airport to have runways running course 70, 100 and 150, as that is way too close. And Dulles certainly does not. In the church occupied by the terrorists, the radar display (the upright one with the circular LED pattern, not a scope) shows the runway configuration of Las Vegas McCarran airport, not that of Washington Dulles airport. McCarran does have runways 25R and 25L, which are mentioned in the film.Jacob La Cour
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)barryween23
Audio problem: In the climactic scene where the 747 is taking off, the general applies full power on the throttles and the engines spool up to full power as they should. However, in the next shot from the cockpit, the general is pulling back on the yoke, nobody's hands are on the throttles at all, and yet we hear a second (apparently) identical increase in engine power. Pulling back on the yoke has nothing at all to do with the engines - the noise we hear should remain at a constant level. (01:50:15)
Continuity mistake: Two guys dressed in red go to the church and are let in by the old man. One of the men then says something like "You were right about that," and the scene shows him shoot his gun with his arm outstretched (obviously). The next scene though of the old man falling backwards shows the shooter's arm down by his side, however in the next scene where it cuts back to the shooter his arm is outstretched with the gun again. (00:07:30)
Revealing mistake: When the soldier is lighting General Esperanza's cigar while Esperanza is still a prisoner in transport, the cigar is visibly already lit before the soldier's lighter brushes over the cigar. (00:24:30)
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)Jacob La Cour
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: At the end of the movie, all of the planes come in to land by the fire. However, the planes are far, FAR closer than any large aircraft would land to each other. FAA regulations would have the aircraft about 5 miles away from each other. If they're landing this close due to "emergency", there would be wicked wake turbulence at such close distances.
Continuity mistake: In the beginning of the film when two of Stuart's men arrive at the church, their van stops and it is not snowing outside,same thing when they're shown knocking and then when the man opens the door. However, in the shot just after (which is taken from behind the door) snow is falling on them. The shot then switches to an outside view ,and it's not snowing anymore .
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)
Continuity mistake: While Barnes is brainstorming ideas with his staff about using the marker beacons to communicate with the circling planes, he has a pen in his right hand held to his face. The next shot he turns, but the pen is no longer in his hand and his hand is nowhere near his face.Scott215
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