Flight (2012 film)

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Flight is a 2012 film about an airline pilot's emergency landing of a plane saving nearly everyone aboard, with further investigation revealing he was intoxicated while flying.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Written by John Gatins.

Whip Whittaker[edit]

  • No one could have landed that plane like I did. No one.
  • This thing is so heavy it's killed me.
  • Plane fell apart at 30,000 feet.
  • [addressing a prison counseling group] That was it. I was finished. I was done. It was as if I had reached my lifelong limit of lies. I could not tell one more lie. And maybe I'm a sucker. Because if I had told just one more lie, I could've walked away from all that mess and kept my wings, kept my false sense of pride. And more importantly, I could've avoided being locked up in here with all you nice folks for the last thirteen months. But I'm here. And I'll be here for at least the next four or five years. And that's fair. I betrayed the public trust. I did. That's how the judge explained it to me. I had betrayed the public trust. The FAA, they took away my pilot's license. And that's fair. My chances of ever flying again are slim to none. And I accept that. I've had a lot of time to think about it, all of it. I've been doing some writing. I wrote letters to each of the families that had lost loved ones. Some of them were able to hear my apology. Some of them never will. I also apologized to all the people that tried to help me along the way, but I couldn't or wouldn't listen. People like my wife, you know. My ex-wife and, uh, my son. And again, like I said, you know, some of them will never forgive me. Some of them will. But at least I'm sober. I thank God for that. I'm grateful for that. And this is gonna sound real stupid coming from a man who's locked up in prison, but for the first time in my life, I'm free.

Harling Mays[edit]

  • [to a hospital nurse] I'm on a list, baby girl.
  • You're a rock star, man! You will never pay for another drink as long as you live.


Whip: When I say, I want you to retract the flaps, retract the gear, trim us nose-down, okay? But everything's gonna be opposite, so make sure you trim us nose-down.
Evans: Trim down? What are you gonna do?
Whip: [to Margaret] Margaret, when I tell you, I want you to push these forward, full throttle, can you do that?
Margaret: Okay.
Evans: What do you mean, sir? What are we doing? Why would I trim down?

Anderson: As you know, when a plane goes down, the NTSB sends a Go Team to the crash site immediately.
Whip: They find the flight data recorder?
Anderson: They did. It's perfectly intact.
Whip: Oh, great. Great, great, great. Then that solves everything. So, why do we need a lawyer from Chicago?
Anderson: Well, Hugh specializes in criminal negligence.
Whip: Criminal negligence?
Lang: Death demands responsibility. Six dead on that plane, someone has to pay.
Whip: Yeah, but that's a plane that fell a part at 30,000 feet.
Anderson: The airline will try to prove equipment failure, which is gonna make the manufacturer responsible. The manufacturer, in turn, is gonna try and prove poor maintenance of the equipment by the airline.
Lang: Or pilot error.
Whip: I flew the plane inverted, Hugh. That means upside down. You get the picture? A hundred people, upside down, 500 feet off the ground. Do you have any idea what that's like?
Lang: I do. I, uh, heard the black box recordings last night.
Whip: Oh, you heard this? Are you a pilot?
Lang: No, I'm not.
Whip: Then you don't know what the fuck you're talking about, do you?
Anderson: Hugh's on our team, Whip.
Whip: Is he?
Anderson: Yeah, he is.
Whip: He doesn't act like he's on our team.
Anderson: Well, he is.
Whip: Asking me questions about fucking pilot error.
Anderson: Listen, it's the NTSB's ball game. They run the investigation, and they will ultimately rule on the cause. And that's why we need him.
Lang: Well, they interview the entire flight crew, they interview the passengers, they hold public hearings.
Whip: All right, let's cut to the chase. Just tell me what it is I need to know, Charlie.
Lang: The NTSB Go Team also collects blood, hair and skin samples from the entire flight crew for the purposes of a toxicology report.
Whip: Okay. When do they want to do that?
Lang: They've already done that. In the hospital. It's the first thing they do. You don't remember having your blood drawn the night of the crash?
Whip: No. They get the results of this test.
Lang: Yeah, they do. Now, initial reports show that you had alcohol in your system at a system of .24. Now, in the good old U.S. of A., one of the most lenient drunk driving countries in the world, you go to jail for driving with anything above .08. And by driving, I mean a car.
Whip: So, that doesn't mean anything. I had a couple of beers the night before the flight. That made the tail of the plane explode?
Lang: A coule of beers?
Whip: Yeah, a couple of beers. You know, I need a lawyer, Charlie.
Anderson: Hugh is your lawyer.
Whip: I need a bigger lawyer. I need a lawyer that understands that someone put me in a broken plane. Without me up there, there would've been 102 funerals, not six.
Lang: We're not talking about funerals right now, Captain.
Whip: Then what are we talking about?
Lang: We're talking about prison time.
Whip: What?
Lang: Lawsuits. Somebody has to pay.
Whip: What, write a check? It's not gonna be me, I promise you that. As long as they're writing checks, tell them to write one for me, too. Because somebody put me in a broken plane.
Lang: This toxicology report states that you were drunk and high on cocaine. Felonies punishable by up to 12 years in prison. And if it is proven that your intoxication was the cause of death of the four passengers, now we're going to look at four counts of manslaughter. That could be life in prison.

Lang: You can see on initial impact, the left wing hit the ground. Think if it would have sheared off completely, everybody would've walked away from this plane.
Whip: Wing snapped off, drove the engine cowling into the rear fuselage.
Lang: You were sitting in the last six or seven rows it was like being hit by a train. Listen, clearly there was a mechanical issue with this plane.
Whip: Clearly.
Lang: Yeah. But what you and I know, this was an act of God, and I'm going to fight to get the NTSB to add "act of God" as one of the probable causes.
Whip: Whose God would do this?

Lang: When I first met you, I couldn't believe what a drunk arrogant scumbag you were.
Whip: Oh, really?
Lang: Yeah.
Whip: Oh, thank you.
Lang: But I did the research, Captain Whittaker. I heard the expert analysis and I'm in awe of what you did. The FAA and the NTSB took ten pilots, placed them in simulators, recreated the events that led to this plane falling out of the sky. Do you know how many were safely able to land the planes? Not one. Evey pilot crashed the aircraft. Killed everybody on board. You were the only one who could do it.

[At the NTSB hearing]
Block: Mr. Whittaker, I want to talk about the days leading and the hours leading up to the accident, but before I do, I want to remind you that you are under oath and that any testimony you give here today will be considered admissable in any subsequent hearings or criminal proceedings. Do you understand what that means? [Whip nods] Captain Whittaker, for the record I need you to verbalize your answer.
Whip: Uh, I'm sorry. Yes, I understand.
Block: On the days leading up to the accident, Tuesday, October 11, Wednesday, October 12, or Thursday, October 13, did you consume any alcohol or any other intoxicating elements?
Whip: No, I did not.
Block: On the morning of the accident, Friday, October 14, did you consume any alcohol, or ingest any chemicals or drugs that may have impaired your ability to perform your job?
Whip: No.
Block: Mr. Whittaker, do you now, or have you ever had a problem with alcohol dependency, alcoholism, or drug addiction?
Whip: No, I have not.
Block: Okay, Mr. Whittaker, we're about done. Due to the severe turbulence in the early part of the flight, you asked the flight crew to suspend the beverage service on the plane, is that correct?
Whip: Yes, that's correct, I suspended the drink service on the plane.
Block: Are you aware that our investigators found two single service vodka bottles in the galley trashbin?
Whip: Yes, I'm aware of that.
Block: There were five crewmembers onboard that would have had access to the beverage trolley. Less than an hour after the accident, blood was taken from each of these crewmembers, yourself, First Officer Evans, Flight Attendant Margaret Thomason, and posthumously, from Camelia Satou, and Katerina Marquez. Toxicology analysis was performed, and three of these tests came back negative, one was disqualified for technical reasons, and one tested positive for alcohol, it registered .17 blood alcohol level. Are you aware of that?
Whip: Yeah, I'm aware of it now.
Block: Ms. Marquez was not only a colleague, but you knew her outside of work, is that correct?
Whip: Outside of work, no, not really.
Block: Did you know Ms. Marquez had a drinking problem?
Whip: No, I did not.
Block: Did you ever see her drink to excess?
Whip: No, I did not.
Block: Were you aware that she was twice treated for alcohol addiction, the last time was sixteen months ago and paid for by SouthJet Airlines?
Whip: No, I did not.
Block: Is it your opinion that Katerina Marquez drank on that flight?
Whip: Could you repeat the question?
Block: Is it your opinion that Katerina Marquez drank on that flight?
Whip: I'm sorry, my what?
Block: Your opinion, Captain. Since her toxicology report is the only toxicology report is the only report that is admissable in this hearing, and she in fact tested positive for alcohol, is it your opinion that Katerina Marquez drank the two bottles of vodka on the plane?
Whip: [exhales] God help me.
Block: I'm sorry, Mr. Whittaker, I couldn't hear you. What did you say?
Whip: I said, "God help me."
Block: Yes, well, however, is it your opinion...
Whip: It's my opinion Trina did not drink that vodka.
Block: Excuse me, Mr. Whittaker?
Whip: She saved a boy's life.
Block: Could you speak louder, Mr. Whittaker?
Whip: Trina did not drink the vodka... because I drank the vodka.


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