Flight of the Phoenix

Question: What are cowl flaps? What is their purpose?

Chosen answer: Cowl flaps are used to adjust to volume of air that passes over the cooling fins of an aircraft piston engine. Under takeoff and landing these flaps are open to allow maximum airflow and under normal flight they are closed to maintain normal engine temperature.


Question: Why was the camel left with the 2 murdered men?

Answer: It is stated very plainly that the Arabs left the camel behind because it was lame. This was a dramatic device to demonstrate the Arabs' ruthlessness: They murdered two human beings in cold blood, but allowed a lame camel to live. Note that the camel scene appears in the 1965 film, but not at all in the 2004 film.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: It's unknown why they left the camel there.


Question: In the crash scene, shouldn't all the people on the plane, including the pilots, have seriously injured if not dead?

Answer: It is possible for a plane to crash in such way that the pilot and passengers can survive unharmed. There are documented cases of survivors walking away from a crash. It just depends on the pilots skills, how the plane lands, and what type of ground the plane hits. The desert sand would cushion the impact somewhat.


Answer: "The Flight of the Phoenix" (both the original film and the remake) is a fictional tale about a group of men beating odds that are overwhelmingly against them. Just the fact that they survived the desert crash is incredible enough, and that is what sets the tone for a whole series of death-defying events thereafter. It's sensational movie-making, stacking one death-defying event atop another; after all, there would be little reason to watch an adventure film in which everyone dies in the first 15 minutes. There are, of course, real-life incidents that are equally sensational: the crash landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009, for example. All 155 passengers and the crew of Flight 1549 incredibly survived, against all odds (as depicted in the 2016 film "Sully").

Charles Austin Miller

Question: The largest sandstorms ever recorded are less than a mile high (reaching only about 5000 feet in altitude). Isn't 5000 feet considered low altitude for a Fairchild C-119G "Flying Boxcar," which could easily climb over such a storm in a matter of minutes?

Charles Austin Miller

Chosen answer: This would most likely be a case of "pilot error." He didn't do what he should have and that led to the accident. If he had flown above the sand storm and didn't crash, then there'd be no movie to watch.


Question: When nomads shoot the person and he is dying, he says something in the ears of Mr. Towns and Mr. Towns reacts with bad expressions. This is never revealed later in the movie. What possibly could he have said in the ears of Mr. Towns?

Chosen answer: Later on in the movie before they get ready to take off, Mr. Towns is asked that same question and his reply was he said "don't crash" to Mr. Towns.

Question: When Towns finds the body that fell out, how come it's not in too bad condition after falling such a long way and onto dirt? Is the dirt what kept his body in pretty good condidtion after falling out? If so, please help me on this.

Chosen answer: The person may have fallen on to a sanddune, in which case the landing would have been softened, but not to a point to prevent death.

Question: What is the name of the song played when the plane leaves the oil rig?

Chosen answer: "Gimme Some Lovin'" by The Spencer Davis Group.

Tina Gilliam

Question: What's the name of the song that plays on the radio while they're fixing the plane? Not the Mexican song, the pop one.

Chosen answer: "Hey Ya" by Outkast.


Question: Where did the nomads get ammo for the guns and gas for their motorcycles?

Chosen answer: They bought/robbed or traded for them with other nomadic tribes or in the cities.

Grumpy Scot



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Townes taxis the C119 far too close to the buildings next to the oil platform. The nose of the plane is almost touching the wall. The only anchoring point on a C119 for a taxiing tractor is on the nose wheel, and he hasn't left enough space for the tractor to link up and turn the aircraft without the wing (and engine) hitting the building. There are no anchoring points on a C119 that allow it to be towed backwards, even if they could steer it that way.