Corrected entry: It's all very heroic and manly but the effort put into dragging the Phoenix into its takeoff position once the engine is started is totally wasted. Townes and A.J. are both experienced pilots and Elliott is supposedly a genius aeronautical engineer - they must surely be aware that the engine power required to taxi an aircraft is trivial compared to that required to lift it into the air. Even taking into account the drag of the skids and wheels, if that engine cannot propel the aircraft at a few kilometers an hour on the ground it cannot propel it to take off speed, nor keep it up once airborne. They are not there to steer the aircraft - they are taking the strain of the whole weight of the airframe, dragging it into place, and the energy input of eight exhausted, underfed people would add nothing to the contribution of a 2500 bhp aircraft engine in moving the Phoenix.
Corrected entry: The crew crashes into the Gobi Desert, which is in Northern China. Yet the people are speaking Cantonese, which is the local dialect for Southern China (Quangzhou/Hong Kong area), instead of Mandarin (the official language) or any of the Northern dialects.
Corrected entry: During the take off of Phoenix, the port rudder cable is parted. During the close up of Elliot fixing the parted cable, the wind is pushing his hair from his left to right. Given the direction he is facing (port) this would mean the wind is blowing from the tail to the nose, not nose to tail.
Corrected entry: When the C-119 first lands at the drilling rig, Frank Towns gets out with one wheel chock and chocks the port landing gear. With his hands empty and Kelly following, he walks round to the starboard side, calling out to A.J. (inside the plane). There we see the starboard landing gear has already been mysteriously chocked. No one else is anywhere near the aircraft.
Corrected entry: After crashing the C-119, when the sandstorm stops we see the entire aircraft is totally buried except the tip of one tail, and they have to force open a roof hatch through which sand proceeds to run. This is a depth of over twenty feet of sand over an area of at least 10,000 sq.ft. Yet the next scene, apparently the same day or just a little after, shows the aircraft totally dug out except for one wingtip. Not only have the survivors shifted approximately 12 thousand tonnes of sand in just a few hours, but there is no apparent reason why they would even bother (at this stage there was no plan for salvage).
Corrected entry: We are told that July is the hottest month in the Gobi Desert (which is true) and that it is much hotter than the Mojave Desert in July. This isn't true. In some parts of the Gobi it can get pretty hot in July but due to the high altitude typical July temperatures are 3 ~ 5 degrees cooler than typical Mojave July temperatures. And at one point it is claimed that the action is close to the Altai mountains, and that part of the Gobi is much cooler.
Corrected entry: We are told that the crash is near the Altai mountains, and also that the plane may have crossed the Chinese border. The terrain is very sandy with some rocky outcrops, and the Altai are depicted as low, arid, rocky hills. However the part of the Gobi which is very sandy and close to the Chinese border is hundreds of miles from the Altai. And the Altai are massive, snow capped peaks with glaciers, rivers, lakes and forests.
Corrected entry: Some parts of the Gobi are indeed very arid but the size of the truly arid part is exaggerated in the movie; it is ~much~ smaller than the Sahara where the original movie was set. If they are already near or south of the Chinese border, then by simply travelling roughly south east they are bound to find either a major watercourse or substantial civilization within ~at most~ 250 miles, and in the region that is very sandy and subject to severe sandstorms, more likely 40 to 50 miles. Not talking here about trying to strike on a particular small oasis or town, but something so big you can't miss it, e.g. the Hwang Ho (Yellow River). A fit person travelling at night on reasonable ground can do 250 miles in 7 nights. (Actually, as ultramarathoners have demonstrated, a very fit person on good ground can do it in two to three nights.) The suggested impossibility of walking out for help was just an inaccurate plot device forced on the scriptwriter by moving the setting to the Gobi.
Corrected entry: In several long distance shots, plus generally working around the wreck, we see there is a completely flat area about 70 m in diameter demarked by several low mounds, followed by a gently undulating area about 200 to 300 m in diameter, then rising ground (dunes) on either flank but continuing fairly flat for quite some distance fore and aft. But a minor character goes out during the night to relieve himself and manages to fall down a hill so steep and long he injures his arm. Unless he went hundreds of metres to relieve himself (climbing a dune en route) there was nowhere near the wreck this fall could have occurred.
Corrected entry: When Dennis Quaid arrives at the site where the man fell out of the airplane, he finds spent bullet casings right next to the body. If someone was using the body for target practice (like he says, and which is the only good reason for shooting at it), the brass would be much farther away.
Corrected entry: They can build a small aeroplane out of the wreck of a larger one - a considerable feat of engineering in anyone's books - but they can't rig a radio antenna? It's just a length of wire and a stick.
Corrected entry: When Talbot and the crewman return from the debris field, they approach the C-119 from the nose. The debris field would be in the opposite direction along the flight path.
Corrected entry: In the scene where the group is standing in front of the graves for the two men who died, there are two crosses with two mounds of dirt higher than the ground showing where the men are buried. However the body of the man who fell out of the plane wasn't retrieved, as we find out later when he is all shot up. Therefore the area around his cross should be flat.
Corrected entry: After the lightning hit the plane, A.J. comes running to see if the captain and Elliot are okay. When he is under the wing, he touches it. But after lightning has hit this wing, he never could have touched it, his fingers would have melted.
Corrected entry: During the crash the co-pilot gets knocked unconscious while standing in the back, then the plane spins around - it goes upside down a couple of times - but the man's body doesn't move even though he's not buckled in.
Corrected entry: In the scene where the oil tank is exploding. When it goes to the close up of the explosion, right after the far-away shot I believe, you can see a man walk in from the right, glance at the camera, then duck down really quickly.
Corrected entry: Right after the plane crashed, there is an aerial shot and there is nothing within miles of them. However, when Elliott is walking off steps for the runway, he counts only 65 to the canyon cliff. Where did that huge canyon come from?