World's Most Experienced Pilot Reveals Truth About Why We Use Brace Position On Plane

The world's most experienced Boeing 747 pilot has explained exactly why cabin crew instruct passengers to get into the brace position in times of emergency.

Written byHolly Barrow
Published on
Read time4 min read

Ever wondered why we’re asked to get into the brace position on planes in times of emergency? Well, the world’s most experienced pilot is here to provide some answers…

Nick Eades, who is the world's most experienced Boeing 747 pilot (quite the title), recently spoke with LADBible following the release of his new book, The Self-Improver: A Pilot's Journey.

Discussing why plane passengers are told to ‘brace’ during an emergency situation, the explained: "What you're trying to do is to stop people breaking their necks in a big impact."


He continued: "You're just trying to get the body into a position that's going to suffer least damage.

"It's like whiplash - you're trying to avoid that sudden movement of the head, which can result in serious injury, if not death."

The brace position involves bending forward and placing your hands over your head to prepare for a crash, which Eades explains is supposed to help the body during impact.

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Disturbingly, there are some theories which suggest that the position is actually designed to kill passengers immediately in the event of an emergency, but Eades has reassured us that that’s not the case (phew).

He did, however, note that cabin crew will no longer instruct people to brace in times of emergency, with the system undergoing some changes. 

Having worked in the industry for 40 years, Eades told LADBible that there have been several occasions over the years where he’s had to inform passengers to brace, but that this hasn’t always gone as smoothly as planned. 

 "I've had a couple where we had problems with the landing gear, and the cabin crew shout to all the passengers, 'Brace, brace!'

"Now, if you think about it, I would say at least half - probably three-quarters - of passengers on the aeroplane don't speak English as a first language. And if you think about it, what does 'brace' mean?

"It took a long time for the aviation world to realise if you're suddenly thrown into an emergency situation and people start shouting 'brace' at you, you might think, 'What the hell do they mean?'"

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For this reason among others, he says, the instruction has changed.

"The brace position is going to become redundant, so cabin crew won't shout 'brace' at you anymore.

"They'll say, 'Head down, hands over your head. Head down, hands over your head.'

"At least that gives somebody in probably the most stressful position they'll ever be in in their lives something to do."

He also explained why the lights on a plane are dimmed before landing and why passengers are instructed to ensure blinds are up, saying:  "In Rhodesia in the 70s, they had a war and there was a viscount - which is a four-engine propeller aeroplane - coming in to land.

"But all the blinds were up and that gave the terrorists - the guerillas in the jungle - something to shoot at.

"What these guys were doing was they were waiting for the aeroplane to come in and the lights were all on.

"They could actually see something and they shot two of the viscounts down, with a loss of life."

So essentially, the blinds up, lights down technique stops the plane from being a potential target… Interesting.

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