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Aircraft departing from Dubai International Airport (Photo: PBS)

PBS’ ‘City in The Sky’ Documentary Series Is Coming in For Landing

Prepare for landing. The final episode of the PBS/BBC series, CITY IN THE SKY, is airing on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time in the United States.

The three-part series goes behind the scenes to show viewers what goes on in the daily operations of commercial aviation including every step from the factory, to the departure gate, and to the arrival airport.

The documentary series episodes, entitled “Departure,” “Airborne,” and “Arrival,” highlight the tasks related to each perspective phase of flight.

In episode one, CITY IN THE SKY shows the complex backbone of Dubai International Airport: the baggage system. The episode then goes on to explains lift and what is required to get a massive A380 into the sky as well as the safety checks that the aircraft undergo.

Photo of numerous aircraft departing from Dubai International Airport (Photo: PBS)

“Airborne” shows interviews with engineers from Boeing, doctors from MedAire, and air traffic controllers from around the world to get the truth behind the day-to-day operations that keep airliners in the sky. The second installment even shows the process of preparing fresh meals to be served on long haul flights.

In “Arrival,” the three-part series looks at what it takes to get an aircraft back on the ground safely.  The episode goes in-depth on the procedures of landing from the pilot’s point of view and all of the behind-the-scenes efforts that are involved with each approach and landing.

The documentary talks to airport operations officials, aircraft engineers, pilots, and controllers as they explain each of their tasks in getting aircraft through their approach and onto the runway.

The final episode joins pilots as they land at the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Landing Strip’ in Paro, Bhutan, which is situated in the Himalayas.

From bag sorting in Dubai, to how an aircraft is handled in the coldest airport in the world, Yakutsk, Russia, to details and testing of the composite material used on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350XWB, the show reveals the safety involved and explains commercial aviation in a way everyone can understand and enjoy.

In response to the new series, PBS’ Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, Beth Hope, said, “Anyone who flies, from annual vacationers to daily business travelers, will be amazed [by] what is really takes to get them from place to place safely and efficiently.”

The series visits different US airports, such as Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, Seattle’s Boeing Field, Bangor International, and MedAire, Inc. in Phoenix, to show detailed information that goes into keeping these facilities open year long.

The show, which goes behind the scenes of daily aviation operations and shows the truth of the field, can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.pbs.org/show/city-sky/. Trailers for the upcoming episode can be viewed here.

The documentary series previously aired on BBC in June of 2016. The entire series can be viewed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07g70j1.


  • Matthew Garcia became interested in aviation at the age of 12 when he installed Microsoft Flight Simulator X on his computer. He was instantly "bitten by the bug" and has been in love with aviation ever since. Matthew took his first introductory flight in 2013 and began normal flight training in February of 2015. Over the years, Matthew's love and knowledge for aviation has grown tremendously, mainly due to FSX. Garcia flies highly advanced aircraft in a professional manner on a highly complex virtual air traffic network simulating real world flying. In 2016 Matthew achieved his private pilot certificate from the FAA. Now he studies journalism at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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