i was watching something earlier that was saying in emergencies aircraft can drop thousands of feet in a matter of minutes... how does it do this without doing a nose dive???? even by sowing the plane right down your at risk of stalling surely!
That's a pretty vague question - I mean, even a stall would accomplish the goal of losing a lot of altitude quickly, and may be recoverable in a powered aircraft with sufficient altitude.
Of course, the general assumption is that we want to land intact. If it's imperative to lose altitude at a drastic rate, cut the engines to idle. Use spoilers. Or do what the captain of the Gimli Glider did: a side slip, or forward slip.
Basically, apply opposing rudder and aileron. That banks the plane, destroying lift, but without changing heading.
Finally, even in normal operation an airliner can lose thousands of feet in several minutes. Check your VSI next time you simfly an airliner.
He's right, there are many ways an aircraft can lose altitude rapidly ranging from pilot controlled (cutting throttle, spoliers, etc), to uncontrolled (wind shear, engine loss, etc)...
Want a good exercise... practice approaches where you are too high, and have to get to ATC requested approach altitude in less than 2 minutes.
You FIND ways to get down quickly, and safely.
I have mastered stall landings, even though its not in the 'pilot manuals' so to speak, if I'm far to high for the runway, I'll back the throttle right off, hit the spoilers, set flaps to max(as you slow of course), and then wait for the stall, once in the stall, set engines to a 1/4 (most aircraft), and use spoilers to adjust my glide fall. when around 1000-2000ft I'll retract the spoilers and use nothing but the throttle to glide myself in, after a few attempts anyone can do it, but then again...this wouldnt be my best approach...just for emergencies, or when you cant be bothered doing a fly around