Factual error: In circling over Washington Dulles, a plane would fly over several airports that they could land at with perfect communication, including Richmond, Baltimore, Andrews AFB, etc. Also, there is no communication from the airport to the plane but the plane would be in range of no fewer than 15 transmitting stations that could have relayed messages.
Factual error: It is impossible for a stream of burning jet fuel to follow a plane through snow and catch up. Not only is jet fuel extremely hard to ignite, almost as soon as the plane was off the ground the fuel stream would be too dispersed for the flame to climb up into the tank, and even if not it wouldn't burn fast enough to catch the plane.
Plot hole: The only reason the terrorists' 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, and If the storm hadn't hit or had been even slightly less severe the pilots of the stranded airliners could easily have diverted to any one of half a dozen alternate landing sites, including a nearby Air Force base. They could do this without consulting or even contacting air traffic control. The whole plot falls apart from there - no hostages, no leverage, and who cares what happens to the people on Esperanza's plane? They'd have it shot down as soon as they knew Esperanza had killed the pilot and taken over the flight.
Trivia: Producers of the movie were concerned that actual terrorists could use the information in the film to disrupt airport/airplane communications in real life. Most of the "sensitive" information in the film is not only wrong, it is purposely misleading to prevent terrorists from attempting what we see in the movie.
Trivia: In March 1993, the Boeing 747-100 cargo aeroplane featured in this film (registration N473EV) was involved in an incident at Anchorage International Airport, Alaska, USA. Shortly after take-off the plane experienced troubles due to severe weather and the number two engine separated from the plane. Strangely enough, the number two engine is what "ingested" Major Grant after the encounter with McClane on the wing. The plane managed to land safely after this incident with no injuries.
McClane: Hey, don't I know you?
Col. Stuart: No, I get that a lot. I've been on TV.
McClane: Yeah, me too.
Gen. Esperanza: Freedom.
[John McClane appears and punches him in the face.]
John McClane: Not yet.
John McClane: Hey Carmine, let me ask you a question. When you go through the airport metal detector, what sets it off first? The lead in your ass or the shit in your brains?
Question: Just watched "Die Hard 2" for the ten-thousandth time. Finally occurred to me, WHY would a pilot use a burning plane crash as a landing light? "Oh, there's a burning plane crash down there! Must be a good place to land!" As far as I know, all air traffic is diverted to other airports when an aircraft crashes.
Question: Why were the two bad guys in the luggage room in the beginning?
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