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The film seems like it could easily have been based on a true story especially how detailed a lot of the story is.

Are any of the parts based on real-life happenings or is it all fiction?

I reckon I would've heard of a plane flying upside down if it happened in real-life but I suppose you never know.

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While the story in the movie is complete made up, parts of it were based on a real life accident: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  Jim Green Jan 30 '13 at 13:57
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Nope, it's purely fiction. Here's a link to an interview with the director.

Interview with Robert Zemeckis

Matt McDaniel: What was it about this project and the script in particular that grabbed you?

Robert Zemeckis: Well, whenever a really good screenplay comes across your desk, you have to do it, and that's what the situation was with "Flight." It was great, great screenplay.

MM: It's unique -- it's at least for Hollywood today -- that it's not based on a book or a comic book or TV show. Was the originality part of the appeal?

RZ: Yeah, of course. It's not, as we say, a pre-sold title. So the fact that it's very unique and original was very appealing.

MM: Was it inspired by true stories, or where there elements of truth that were worked into the movie?

RZ: No, it's completely fiction. The movie draws from different incidents that involved airplane malfunctions from the last couple of decades, but [there is] nothing that it's based on that's a true story.

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A very similiar Accident was Alaska Airline accident in January 31, 2000 on a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft (in the movie it was MD-88)

The CVR transcript reveals the pilots' continuous attempts for the duration of the dive to regain control of the aircraft.[9] At one point, unable to raise the nose, they attempted to fly the aircraft "upside-down".[9] However the aircraft was beyond recovery; it descended inverted and nose-down about 18,000 feet in 81 seconds, a descent rate exceeding 13,300 feet per minute (approx. 151.1 mph), before hitting the ocean at high speed.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Airlines_Flight_261

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