At 6:30pm on the 20th of December 1995, a Boeing 757-200 sits on the taxiway of Miami International Airport in the United States. The 155 passengers and 8 crew members aboard American Airlines flight 965 are growing impatient, eager to begin their journey to Cali, in the South American country of Colombia. Many of the passengers aboard are flying to Cali to be with their families for the Christmas and New Year period. 

The flight was originally scheduled to depart from Miami at 4:45pm but connecting passengers to the flight had been delayed by winter storms affecting the North Eastern United States pushing the departure time back by 30 minutes. Since pushing back from Gate D33, the flight has been stuck on the taxiway for another 45 minutes, waiting on a departure slot from air traffic control. In the cockpit this evening are two highly experienced pilots. Commanding American Airlines 965 is Captain Nicholas Tafuri, aged 57, supported by First Officer Don Williams, aged 39. Captain Tarfuri and First Officer Williams have 13,000 and 6,000 hours of flight experience respectively. First Officer Williams will be piloting the aircraft on this leg of the journey. The aircraft they are commanding, a Boeing 757-200, has the largest capacity of any single aisle airliner ever built, nicknamed the flying pencil for its elongated body.

Finally, one hour and 15 minutes after leaving the gate, the controllers at Miami International Airport give American Airlines 965 permission to line up on Runway 27R and begin its takeoff roll. At 6:35pm the aircraft thunders down the runway at Miami International Airport, nosing up into the clear and calm Florida evening, on its way to Cali at last.

You are listening to Inside The Black Box. This is the story of American Airlines flight 965.

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