On September 11, 2001, the unimaginable transpired when devastating attacks on the World Trade Center forced the shutdown of the entire U.S. airspace. Thousands of kilometres away in Gander, N.L., a group of Nav Canada air traffic controllers suddenly had the lives of 33,000 people in their hands and had to think fast to find a place for them to go. In the new MADE® in Canada documentary special, Discovery uncovers how these unsung heroes managed to safely land over 200 planes without incident in 9/11: CLEARED FOR CHAOS, premiering Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on Discovery. The documentary also streams on Crave the same day.
Commercial aviation is a technological house of cards, with every fragile flightpath dependent on the omniscient air traffic controllers who keep planes moving. When the catastrophic events of 9/11 occurred and U.S. airspace was shut down, Gander’s air traffic controllers became critical players in responding to the greatest crisis in the history of aviation. Using live news footage from 2001 and emotional interviews with air traffic control staff, pilots, flight attendants, and passengers, 9/11: CLEARED FOR CHAOS demonstrates how air traffic controllers worked together to conquer this unprecedented dilemma.
A screener for 9/11: CLEARED FOR CHAOS is available here.
9/11: CLEARED FOR CHAOS highlights members of Nav Canada’s Gander Area Control Centre who exercised extreme poise and rapid-fire decision making on that fateful day to communicate with pilots and redirect them to small airports on Canada’s East Coast. To keep up with the demand, air traffic controllers drew on their skills, experience, and raw talent to achieve the impossible: coordinating the landing of all of the flights in less than four hours without a single incident.