Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Random Hearts"

I was dialing around yesterday evening and saw the movie "Random Hearts" was on AMC. Directed by the late Sydney Pollack, it is one of the few movies in which weather plays a central theme and gets it right.

Without giving away too much of the plot, a "Southern Airways" jet crashes in the Potomac just after takeoff from Washington's Reagan Airport. The two principles (Ford and Thomas, see below) are brought together by the crash.

The is the first interesting item: Southern Airways was out of business when the movie was released (1999). Southern Flight 242 crashed in a thunderstorm in Georgia 1977. It was the first plane crash I ever helped investigate.

While the movie doesn't explain exactly, it implies a downburst caused the crash. They were still thought to be common when the movie was made -- Pollack, a pilot, didn't realize the downburst mystery had been solved. I once sat across from Pollack at the Wichita Hyatt when we were separately having dinner. He was in town for flight training and I was having dinner with a business associate. He flew a Lear 25, made in Wichita.

In the background you hear things like Convective SIGMETS being read to pilots, etc. The details about crash investigations, etc., are the most exact I have seen. While this is not a pleasant topic, it does make for a gripping movie.

The movie has many stars: Harrison Ford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Dennis Haysbert, Peter Coyote, Charles Dutton, and Bonnie Hunt. I give the movie a solid three stars. I know that Kim liked it, too.

For more on downbursts, go to this posting. It is the most popular in the history of our blog.

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