How do you force a passenger plane down, they can’t just shoot a civilian aircraft if the pilots refuse?


How do you force a passenger plane down, they can’t just shoot a civilian aircraft if the pilots refuse?

In: Other

They can and would if it seemed necessary. I think they’d prefer that to another 9/11. If the plane has really been hijacked by someone intending to use it in that way, the civilian passengers are going to die anyway, so it’s a matter of preventing further death.

Who is “they” in this question?

Because a lot of armed groups and countries have demonstrated that they will in fact shoot down civilian aircraft.

The pilots are bound to follow laws and the ramifications are huge at that level. You’re not getting sued. The country’s Attorney General is coming after you.

The whole flight crew would lose their livelihood for sure.


That actually is what they would do. They’d attempt radio and signals first to order it down of course. Maybe even a burst across the bow. But end of the day if the order is to force the plane down the only way to do so is to shoot it down, and they would

Specifically in this case, they called in a bomb threat. Which gives them justification to send up an “escort” fighter jet to ensure the “safety” of all the passengers on board and force the plane down. In other words, they lie in such a way that the airline can’t afford to refuse.

Oh, they certainly can shoot the plane down.

When you fly over the sovereign territory of Country B, you have to do what the government says or the Air Force of B will be permitted to shoot you down.

There are international agreements to regulate this, and some countries have violated the rules and been sanctioned for it.

They CAN shoot the plane down. Sure, it would suck for the hostages onboard but I’m sure in a post 9/11 world, it’s preferable to losing even more lives. An airborne passenger plane is a potential missile.

First off you tell them there is a bomb onboard which makes the pilots fairly compliant. Then you fly a fighter jet right up to the cockpit and give them a close view of the missiles that your plane is armed with and tell them that you are from a country who has a soviet style “elected” dictator in charge who has no qualms about killing anyone.

they absolutely can and will shoot an airliner down if its deemed necessary, especially in the post 9/11 world, all sovereign nations have regulations regarding which aircraft can exist in their airspace and violating these rules will get you sanctions at 1st but if ignored you are given free reign to defend your air space as per military procedure, this is the time where you’ll see interceptors being deployed for final warning/escort(close range radio comms) followed by a takedown if authorized and non compliant. skipping this procedure however can be seen as a act of war if proven to have been malicious.

this is also why spy missions performed by aircraft are done with “Stealth”/unmanned crafts and at VERY high altitudes in order ot dodge Radar detection and as a loophole of “airspace”.

>they can’t just shoot a civilian aircraft if the pilots refuse

Oh sweet summer child. Power can do anything power wants unless there’s an equal or greater power compelling it to do otherwise. In fact, you can shoot down civilian aircraft [FLYING OVER OTHER COUNTRIES](, and if your military isn’t strong enough to tell them otherwise, tough shit.


Force is the supreme authority from which all other authority is derived.

You do shoot it down. During 9/11 fighter pilots had orders to shoot down passenger aircraft that didn’t land. This included domestic flights.

Thankfully that didn’t have to happen and no pilots live with that in their conscience.

Source: stories from people who were fighter pilots during 9/11.

You start by having the control tower order them to land. They’re supposed to follow instructions and land. If they do, you don’t have a problem, so I’ll assume they don’t.

You then send military fighter jets to intercept it. The pilots of those jets radio the airliner and order him to land. (There are standard frequencies for stuff like that, and airliners are supposed to listen to them.) If he doesn’t, they can do various things to intimidate him, such as flying by at high speeds, flying close above him, dropping flares, or firing their guns in front of him. If he still doesn’t land, they can try to shoot to disable his engines, but at that point they’re likely to do enough damage to bring the plane down. And yes, they can shoot him down. It’s very easy to shoot down a target that big and slow, and if he’s in your airspace and not responding to instructions, you have every right to do so.

If he’s not in your airspace, that’s a matter for the respective governments to deal with, and it might come down to whether either or both countries want to go to war over it.

Usually, they’ll land when the tower orders them to land, because few pilots are going to risk their career, not to mention their passengers and their lives, by refusing to follow the orders of the tower.

In addition to shooting it down they can fly too close and make your flight very dangerous. There is a technique called thumping where a jet overtakes another from behind and cuts across in front of the wing at an angle causing the victim aircraft to hit the wake and yaw to the side violently. When badly judged the aggressive aircraft can clip the wing and cause disaster. The US has claimed Chinese pilots have caused a collision or two like this and it was not uncommon during the cold war. Crisis Command: Could You Run The Country? was a British TV show from 2004 that dealt with this issue (and others). It’s a fascinating watch.

I mean its all under the threat of shooting them down, which many militaries can do if the plane poses a threat.

I feel like ya kinda answered your own question here. As far as I’m aware, forcing an aircraft down more or less amounts to “land under your own power, or crash when we shoot you out of the sky”. At least, that’s how my English Prof, who is a hobbyist pilot, explained it.