Why Would A Plane Nosedive? (9 Reasons Why)

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Bruce Coleman

Bruce Coleman is a diesel mechanic and car tester with 20 years of experience. He's a member of various vintage car clubs, and he loves restoring old motorbikes.

One of the scariest things to consider is a plane nose-diving. It seems like planes are so steady, so it makes no sense that they would turn vertical and hurtle to the ground.

Why would a plane nosedive? What items would have to happen to make a plane turn this drastically? Is it even possible for a plane to fall this way?

Why Would A Plane Nosedive?

1. Pilot Passes Out

One reason for a nosedive could be a loss of consciousness from the pilot. If they pass out, they will hit critical controls that work to keep the plane in an upright position in the air.

A pilot might fall forward in this case and hit motor controls that causing the tip of the nose of the plane. If left uncorrected, this arrow could quickly turn into an uncontrollable dive.

It would take a rare moment for a pilot to pass out. They’d have to be dehydrated, extremely tired, or deprived of food for a long time. This possibility is why pilots need to take caution.

2. It’s The Pilot’s Intent

Sometimes, a pilot flies a plane in a poor mental state. One with a death wish might turn the plane intentionally to end their life and the lives of those on board the plane.

Often, a pilot that does this is depressed or has an undiagnosed mental illness. They might see no other option, other than taking the plane down and everything that comes with it.

It’s critical to keep an eye out for pilots. They have a critical job, and they should make self-care one of their priorities. Otherwise, an intentional nosedive could ensue.

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3. A Part Breaks Off

Although planes can fly with much-sustained damage, there are a few critical components they need to stay in the air. It would take a drastic part falling off for the plane to nosedive.

An entire wing would have to break off for a plane to nosedive, or the tail would crash off the side. A critical piece of control would have to be at serious fault for this to happen.

It’s rare for a plane to sustain this much damage unless there was severe negligence on the ground before it took off. Most planes can stay in the air without extreme damage.

4. Wings Bend Unnaturally

If the wings bend at an unnatural angle, the stability of the plane might fall apart. If a plane does not have straight wings to slice through the air, it will have trouble staying upright.

A wing would have to bend at an angle almost to the point of ninety degrees to cause a nosedive. Otherwise, the wings work well to keep the plane in the air.

It’s rare for wings to bend unnaturally in the air. As a passenger, you can remain confident that you won’t experience a nosedive as a result of wings bent at an unnatural angle.

5. Pilot Error

Pilot Error

Although rare, a pilot error can lead to a nosedive. It would take a very dysfunctional pilot to lead a plane into a nosedive, but there are cases where they don’t know the technology.

There have been instances where pilots are tasked to work with new technology. When it goes wrong, they don’t know how to correct it. They panic and cause a nosedive.

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Unfortunately, this error is the fault of the pilot, technology, and those responsible for pilot education. A nosedive in this case is difficult to control.

6. Terrorists

If terrorists take over the cockpit, they might direct the plane into a nosedive position. This action would have to be intentional and completed with extreme force inside the cockpit.

Nowadays, there are many security measures in place to prevent terrorists from storming the cockpit. People have worked hard to prevent terrorists from the interior of the plane.

If successful, a terrorist could cause a nosedive and danger to those on board. It’s an intentional turning of the plane to cause extreme harm.

7. It Was Hit

If a plane is hit by something big enough, it might lean into a nosedive. It would have to be a large item, such as a massive bird or even another plane in the sky.

There are not many objects to hit in the sky, and planes are on a route that keeps them out of the path of other planes. It’s rare for a collision to happen in the sky.

If there is a collision, it would take a massive hit to cause a nosedive. It’s unlikely it would happen.

8. Pilot Heart Attack

Heart attacks are not uncommon, and many pilots forgo exercise for flying planes around all day. A pilot can have a heart attack and turn the controls in an unfortunate way.

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A heart attack can happen for many reasons. Many experience severe chest pain, shoulder pain, and other symptoms. A heart attack can cause dangerous control.

If left unchecked, a crash can ensue. This possibility is a big reason why additional pilots in the cockpit assist if something goes wrong.

9. Pilot Seizure

Pilots test to see if they have any medical conditions that could be dangerous, such as epilepsy. However, there are cases where seizures can happen without warning.

Someone with high levels of salt or sugar in the blood might experience a seizure. If a pilot has had a brain injury in the past, there is another seizure possibility.

Most pilots are not allowed to fly if they have health issues that might put passengers in danger. A seizure could cause a crash if it is left unchecked.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why trains honk so much, why Vespel is so expensive, and why copper is a good conductor.


If you are on a plane, you can rest assured knowing you are safer than in a car. However, there are several cases where a plane can crash head-first.

It’s critical to remember that nosedives are extremely rare, particularly with airlines that have boasted excellent safety ratings. You can’t do anything to stop nosedives – but they’re rare.


  • Bruce Coleman

    Bruce Coleman is a diesel mechanic and car tester with 20 years of experience. He's a member of various vintage car clubs, and he loves restoring old motorbikes.

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