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Inside Mighty Machines

Inside Mighty Machines

  • Premiered: 
    April 28, 2019
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Smithsonian
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter:
  • Tags: science, engineering, technology

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Plot Synopsis

Hosted by ex-NASA jet engineer Chad Zdenek, INSIDE MIGHTY MACHINES is a six-part series that scrapes away the grease and chisels through the rust to reveal the remarkable engineering principles that make great machines run, while delving deep into these innovations that changed the world. Working alongside salvage teams as they take these giants apart piece by piece -- from a 747 jumbo jet to an oil rig in the North Sea -- Zdenek gets a final chance to figure out how they were built and how they worked. Along the way, he explores the impact of each invention and how it changed history. Episodes include:

"Jumbo Jet" (Premieres Sunday, April 28 @ 9pm ET/PT): Zdenek joins an aircraft-dismantling team in Mississippi as a Boeing 747 lands on the runway for the very last time. As the plane is decommissioned, cameras follow Zdenek as he cuts his way through the inner mechanisms of the cabin, cockpit and four massive jet engines to strip the plane into six million parts. As he does so, Zdenek discovers how and why these planes were built, the mechanics that made them soar and the incredible engineering that made the 747 a legend of aviation.

"Power Plant" (Premieres Sunday, May 5 @ 9pm): Zdenek heads to North Carolina to dismantle and then implode the Buck Steam Station - a nearly 100-year-old coal power plant built in the 1920s which, at its peak, was burning up to 20,000 tons of coal per day and powering up to a thousand homes. Before 300 explosive charges bring the plant down, cameras get inside the action as the century-old boilers, turbines, condensers and generators are torn apart, revealing how coal power helped build 20th-century America.

"Hovercraft" (Premieres Sunday, May 12 @ 9pm): Southampton, on England's south coast, is the final home of what was once the biggest hovercraft ever built -- the Princess Margaret. As crews strip it down, Zdenek uncovers the principles that allow this 300-ton amphibious craft to hover weightlessly over the ground -- and the water. Zdenek explores how the era of mighty passenger hovercrafts was finally brought to a surprising end by cheap alcohol -- and then joins the crew of an LCAC, the U.S. Navy's state of the art military hovercraft, deployed in some of the world's most extreme conditions.

"Deep Sea Oil Rig" (Premieres Sunday, May 19 @ 9pm): Zdenek joins a team that's pulling off an engineering first - dismantling the North Sea's biggest oil rig. As the 400-foot-high monster is towed ashore and then dismantled, Zdenek reveals the story of how, against the backdrop of a global oil crisis, deep water oil engineers raced to build an enormous machine to drill through the sea bed in their search for black gold. As he does, he unearths the dozens of systems that kept the rig pumping non-stop during its 40-year lifespan.

"C5 Galaxy" (Premieres Sunday, May 26 @ 9pm): Joining a team of mechanics responsible for stripping down and rebuilding the biggest aircraft in the U.S. Air Force's arsenal -- the Lockheed C5 Super Transporter -- Zdenek discovers what it takes to get 380,000 pounds of plane, plus its cargo, up in the air and back on the ground in combat zones. Inside this mammoth warehouse with wings, Zdenek sees how ingenious engineering overcame the design flaws that once grounded the entire C5 fleet, and the extreme forces that still strain the plane every time it takes flight to allow the Galaxy to play a critical role in conflicts from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

"Aircraft Carrier" (Premieres Sunday, June 2 @ 9pm): Go inside one of the biggest inventions of them all - a U.S. aircraft carrier. Zdenek follows the crew of mechanics, engineers and sailors who maintain the USS Carl Vinson, an incredible floating city that's at the forefront of military technology. Embedded on board, he discovers the enormous engineering designed to launch 30-ton aircraft into the sky -- and then catch them again as they land at over 100 miles an hour.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Rare TV