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I've usually heard the term 'nose dive' used in a metaphorical sense -- "Wow, your stock portfolio is really in a nose dive!"

Does it have any legitimate aviation meaning?

More specifically, is it redundant? Are there types of dives which do not involve a nose-down attitude?

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    $\begingroup$ I'd say 'nose dive' and 'tail spin' share two qualities: nonstandard terminology (for 'dive' and 'spin'), and invariably negative connotations, though either may be a deliberate manoeuvre. $\endgroup$ – idoimaging Sep 24 at 16:44
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Are there types of dives which do not involve a nose-down attitude?

Yes (although these are not always intentional): a graveyard spiral can occur without a nose down attitude. You can also stall a plane nose high and begin diving to the ground maintaining a stalled nose high attitude, this is similar to what happened to AirFrance 447. A flat spin will also result in "falling" vertically with a relatively flat nose attitude.

In my experience "nose dive" and "dive" are generally interchangeable.

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe a matter of semantics, but I would not refer to a stalled nose high descent as a dive. And I certainly wouldn't call it a nose dive either. Dive implies going head first. Think of jumping into a swimming pool vs diving. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Sep 24 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ "DIVE DIVE DIVE" makes me think that perhaps it was originally a submariner term, as it would make more sense in that context -- but that rather takes us out of the scope of this SE. $\endgroup$ – Roger Sep 24 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ It does if the TCAS system is equipped with the klaxon horn option; AOOOOOGA AOOOOOOOGA DIVE...DIVE.. DIVE. Make sure the conning tower hatch is closed though. $\endgroup$ – John K Sep 24 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Bianfable my head must have been elsewhere, I removed the TCAS reference as it is indeed incorrect. $\endgroup$ – Dave Sep 24 at 18:59
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Does it have any legitimate aviation meaning?

Yes. It appears occasionally in FAA accident reports.

Is it redundant?

In all of those appearances, yes, technically. "Dive" would suffice.

No, as an (unintentional) rhetorical device. The phrase often used here is some variation on "took a nose dive," which betrays the informality of the writer or the interviewee.

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