On March 24, 2015, Germanwings flight 4U9525 crashed in France, supposedly following intentional actions by the copilot. All 150 passengers and crew were killed.
The following is a list of airliner accidents and incidents assumed or rumored to have been caused by the a deliberate action of a pilot, compiled from the Aviation Safety Network files. General aviation aircraft are not included.
26 September 1976 – 12 fatalities
A Russian pilot stole an Antonov 2 airplane directed his aircraft into the block of flats in Novosibirsk where his divorced wife lived. (ASN Accident Description)
22 August 1979 – 4 fatalities
A 23 year old male mechanic who had just been fired entered a hangar at Bogotá Airport, Colombia and stole a military HS-748 transport plane. He took off and crashed the plane in a residential area. (ASN Accident Description)
9 February 1982 – 24 fatalities
A Japan Air Lines operated DC-8 crashed into the shallow water of Tokyo Bay after the captain cancelled the autopilot while the aircraft was on final approach to Haneda Airport, pushed his controls forward and retarded the throttles to idle. The co-pilot tried to regain control but the aircraft crashed. The captain had recently suffered a psychosomatic disorder; preliminary reports suggested that the captain experienced some form of a mental aberration. He had been off duty from November 1980 to November 1981 for these reasons. (ASN Accident Description)
7 April 1994 – 0 fatalities
A FedEx employee was due to be fired and took a jump seat on a flight to San Jose. He was intending to murder the flight crew with hammers and then to use the aircraft for a kamikaze attack on FedEx Headquarters in Memphis. A struggle ensued and two crew members overpowered the man while the first officer maintained control of the plane. (ASN Accident Description)
13 July 1994 – 1 fatality
A Russian Air Force engineer stole the aircraft at the Kubinka Air Force Base to commit suicide. The aircraft crashed when there was no more fuel left. (ASN Accident Description)
21 August 1994 – 44 fatalities
A Royal Air Maroc ATR-42 airplane crashed in the Atlas Mountains shortly after takeoff from Agadir, Morocco. The accident was suggested to have been caused by the captain disconnecting the autopilot and directing the aircraft to the ground deliberately. The Moroccan Pilot’s Union challenged these findings. (ASN Accident Description)
19 December 1997 – 104 fatalities
Silk Air Flight 185, a Boeing 737 en route from Jakarta, Indonesia to Singapore, crashed in Indonesia following a rapid descent from cruising altitude. Indonesian authorities were not able to determine the cause of the accident. It has been suggested by among others the U.S. NTSB that the captain may have committed suicide by switching off both flight recorders and intentionally putting the Boeing 737 in a dive, possibly when the first officer had left the flight deck. During 1997 the captain experienced multiple work-related difficulties, particularly during the last 6 months. Also at the time of the accident the captain was experiencing significant financial difficulties, which was disputed by the Indonesian investigators. (ASN Accident Description)
11 October 1999 – 1 fatality
An Air Botswana captain who had been grounded for medical reasons took off in an ATR-42. He made several demands over the radio and finally stated he was going the crash the plane. He caused the plane to crash into two parked ATR-42 aircraft on the platform at Gaborone Airport, Botswana. (ASN Accident Description)
31 October 1999 – 217 fatalities
Egypt Air Flight 990, a Boeing 767, entered a rapid descent some 30 minutes after departure from New York-JFK Airport. This happened moments after the captain had left the flight deck. During the investigation it was suggested that the accident was caused by a deliberate act by the relief first officer. However, there was no conclusive evidence. The NTSB concluded that the accident was a “result of the relief first officer’s flight control inputs. The reason for the relief first officer’s actions was not determined.” The suggestions of a deliberate act were heavily disputed by Egyptian authorities. (ASN Accident Description)
17 July 2012 – 1 fatality
A commercial pilot wanted in connection with the killing of his girlfriend in Colorado Springs went up to the Saint George Municipal Airport, Utah and managed to board a Canadair RegionalJet plane and start the engines. A security guard saw the airplane starting to taxy. It reportedly struck part of the terminal building and ended up in a parking lot. The pilot then shot himself once, killing himself inside the plane.
29 November 2013 – 33 fatalities
LAM Flight 470, an ERJ-190, entered a rapid descent while en route between Maputo and Luanda and crashed in Namibia. Preliminary investigation results indicate that the accident was intentional. The captain made control inputs that directed the plane to the ground, shortly after the first officer had left the flight deck. (ASN Accident Description)
8 March 2014 – 239 fatalities
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China went missing after all contact was lost about 40 minutes after takeoff. It is assumed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean. Experts have theorized that the accident may be the result of a deliberate action by one of the pilots, but the accident is still under investigation, also pending on finding the wreckage.
24 March 2015 – 150 fatalities
A Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed into a mountain while on a flight from Barcelona, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany. Preliminary information from the chief Marseille prosecutor in France indicates that the captain was locked out of the flight deck and the copilot directed the airplane to a continuous descent towards mountainous terrain. (ASN Accident Description)