First Aired: Mar. 30, 2007 on CBS
Season 3 » Episode #19 - Pandora's Box
Summary: A small plane crashes mysteriously in a forest, killing all on board. Amita & Dr. Finch help Charlie repair the plane's black boxes. When Charlie is able to test the in-flight computer, he uncovers the surprising truth behind the crash. Meanwhile, Charlie is also busy tracking down a burglar after his house is broken into.
Who appeared in this episode?
- Goof (factual errors): According to the story, the villains are ultimately trying to get into the FAA's computer so that they can make the transponder readouts of certain planes, that appear on air traffic controllers' radar scopes, disappear. They are supposedly doing this so that they can have the codes of their drug smuggling aircraft disappear. In reality, if they want the transponder readouts of their aircraft to be off radar, the pilots of these planes need only turn off their transponders, and that is what drug dealers often do. While it is still possible to get a "skin paint" (where a blip on the scope, due to the reflection of the radar's beam off the surface of the plane) of each plane, with so many transponder readouts on the scopes, air traffic controllers would probably not notice a plane without a transponder. The very best the villains could do with their device is to make many legitimate planes' transponder readouts disappear from the scopes, thus causing confusion on the part of the air traffic controllers. In order to spot airplanes illegally entering the U. S. with their transponders off, tethered aerostats (balloons in the shape of small airships/blimps) carrying radar look downward. This equipment was responsible for giving Kuwait advance warning of the approaching Iraqi army at the start of the first Gulf War, thus allowing the Kuwaiti Royal Family, and others, time to get away.
- Goof (continuity error): At the crash site, Colby tells Helm that "all of the passenger bodies have been moved to the L.A. Coroner's Office," but later we see the shrouded bodies on the ground outside the command center tent.
- Goof (factual errors): Detectives are questioning Mike Daley about why he was working on the plane's Flight Management Computer. He tells them that he had to upload the FAA's updates that come out every 6 months. The detectives say that there has been no recent FAA update. In reality, the FAA provides updates every 4 weeks.