Midair Collision

Here's a phrase that apparently the airlines simply made up: "near miss". They say that if two planes almost collide, it's a near miss. Bullshit, my friend. It's a near hit! A collision is a near miss!
"Look, they nearly missed!"

So you have a bunch of flying things, usually aircraft, and something's destroying them. How to make it look cool? By having one of the planes damaged enough to cause it to veer off course and crash into another airplane.

See also Just Plane Wrong.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • The World War I film Aces High has a visually impressive full frontal impact between two bi-planes as its climax.
  • Happened in the James Bond film Goldeneye and the WWII feature film Memphis Belle.
  • In Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, one of the biplanes smashes into another biplane. Possibly justified as Kong did kind of throw the plane at the other one.
  • In Transformers, Starscream shoots up a squadron of F-22's, causing one of them to spin of of control and crash into another one.
  • Rinzler actually does this to Clu 2 at the end of TRON: Legacy.
  • In Head of State, a presidential candidate and his running mate have their private jets collide when landing, apparently due to them using their cell phones at the time. This sets up the plot to end up with the main character as the candidate.

    Film - Animated 
  • Jumba actually does this to Gantu at the end of Liloand Stitch with his spaceship (originally a stolen passenger jet) so that Stitch can rescue Lilo.
  • In Up, a group of dogfighters get distracted by a SQUIRREL!! (well, not really), and proceed to crash into one another.
    • Another Pixar example would be the scene in Cars 2 where Mater and Finn Mc Missile are both attempting to flee from Grem and Acer at Tokyo Airport, and in the process one of Mc Missile's projectiles collides with those of the villains.

    Live Action 
  • A number of episodes in Breaking Bad's second season start with a Cold Open of a mysterious crime scene that that season finale ultimately reveals to be the wreckage of a Midair Collision that was indirectly caused by the main characters.
  • Barely averted in the 2014 Left Behind movie, where Rayford Steele tries to avoid a jet without its pilots heading straight for his. The only thing that happens is wing damage, as it causes the jet to leak fuel as it's headed back toward New York.
  • This happens several times on JAG.
  • It wasn't shown on screen, but it was invoked by terrorists in 24, using a MacGuffin to crash two planes together.

  • This is one of the most embarrassing ways to fail a mission in the Ace Combat games, especially crashing into a bomber you are chasing or a plane you already shot down.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens in the American Dad! episode "A Ward Show" when Principal Lewis plans to kill himself and Steve by driving his car over the Grand Canyon. However, the white man and black boy they encountered earlier are doing the same thing and the two cars collide into each other in mid-air.
  • The Vulture Squadron does this on a regular basis on Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
  • Happens near the end of the episode of Quack Pack where Donald Duck is forced to go back into the navy and accidentally tampers with the computer controlling the airplanes on the aircraft carrier.
  • In Teen Titans there are a bunch of missiles heading toward a bridge so Speedy starts jumping on each of them to change the course so they crash into each other.

    Real Life 
  • This occasionally happens in real life when multiple RC planes are flying in close proximity, as seen here
  • Very rarely happens in Real Life, though there were cases in WWII of very tightly packed bomber groups having planes be damaged by debris from other planes being destroyed, or fighters being hit by the debris of a slower opponent that was just destroyed. The few pilots foolhardy enough to attempt Air Jousting ran a serious risk of this.
    • Due to the way that air navigation routes are set up (planes navigating from one recognizable landmark to another, or riding radio waves from radio stations), there are a series of so-called Air Lanes, not entirely unlike highways on the ground. Pilots are reminded to keep an eye out for other traffic wherever these lanes intersect, or over aforementioned landmarks and radio stations. For similar reasons, airports are occasionally the site of collisions.
  • Occured in 2001 over Hainan Island when an American spy plane collided with a Chinese interceptor. The Chinese pilot was killed and the spy plane was forced to land and its 2-dozen crewmembers were detained for 10 days until dipomatic efforts got them released and returned to the U.S.