In the wake of the 45-million-dollar gross of the original Airport (1970), Universal was all but required by an act of Congress to produce Airport '75. Charlton Heston heads the all-star cast as Alan Murdock, the former test pilot who must keep a disabled 747 from crashing in flames.
The crisis begins when a businessman (Dana Andrews), flying his small private plane, suffers a fatal heart attack and the plane smashes into the cockpit of the 747. Following Murdock's radioed instructions, stewardess Nancy Pryor (Karen Black) takes over the controls.
The special-guest passenger lineup includes Helen Reddy as a singing nun (a character wickedly satirized in the 1980 parody Airplane!), Myrna Loy as an alcoholic, and Sid Caesar as a garrulous passenger.
While Airport '75 yielded only 25 million dollars at the box office, the franchise continued, spawning Airport '77 a few years later and Airport '79 two years after that.