Chapter 10. Emergencies
Section 1. General
10-1-1. EMERGENCY DETERMINATIONS
a. An emergency can be either a Distress or an Urgency condition as defined in the “Pilot/Controller Glossary.”
b. A pilot who encounters a Distress condition should declare an emergency by beginning the initial communication with the word “Mayday,” preferably repeated three times. For an Urgency condition, the word “Pan-Pan” should be used in the same manner.
c. If the words “Mayday” or “Pan-Pan” are not used and you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an emergency or potential emergency, handle it as though it were an emergency.
d. Because of the infinite variety of possible emergency situations, specific procedures cannot be prescribed. However, when you believe an emergency exists or is imminent, select and pursue a course of action which appears to be most appropriate under the circumstances and which most nearly conforms to the instructions in this manual.
10-1-2. OBTAINING INFORMATION
Obtain enough information to handle the emergency intelligently. Base your decision as to what type of assistance is needed on information and requests received from the pilot because he/she is authorized by 14 CFR Part 91 to determine a course of action.
10-1-3. PROVIDING ASSISTANCE
Provide maximum assistance to aircraft in distress. Enlist the services of available radar facilities and DF facilities operated by the FAA, the military services, and the Federal Communications Commission, as well as their emergency services and facilities, when the pilot requests or when you deem necessary.
a. If you are in communication with an aircraft in distress, handle the emergency and coordinate and direct the activities of assisting facilities. Transfer this responsibility to another facility only when you feel better handling of the emergency will result.
b. When you receive information about an aircraft in distress, forward detailed data to the center in whose area the emergency exists.
2. Notifying the center about a VFR aircraft emergency allows provision of IFR separation if considered necessary.
c. If the aircraft involved is operated by a foreign air carrier, notify the center serving the departure or destination point, when either point is within the U.S., for relay to the operator of the aircraft.
d. The ARTCC must be responsible for receiving and relaying all pertinent ELT signal information to the appropriate authorities.
e. When consideration is given to the need to escort an aircraft in distress, evaluate the close formation required by both aircraft. Special consideration should be given if the maneuver takes the aircraft through the clouds.
f. Before a determination is made to have an aircraft in distress be escorted by another aircraft, ask the pilots if they are familiar with and capable of formation flight.
1. Do not allow aircraft to join up in formation during emergency conditions, unless:
(a) The pilots involved are familiar with and capable of formation flight.
(b) They can communicate with one another, and have visual contact with each other.
2. If there is a need for aircraft that are not designated as search and rescue aircraft to get closer to one another than radar separation standards allow, the maneuver must be accomplished, visually, by the aircraft involved.
Coordinate efforts to the extent possible to assist any aircraft believed overdue, lost, or in emergency status.
10-1-6. AIRPORT GROUND EMERGENCY
a. When an emergency occurs on the airport proper, control other air and ground traffic to avoid conflicts in the area where the emergency is being handled. This also applies when routes within the airport proper are required for movement of local emergency equipment going to or from an emergency which occurs outside the airport proper.
b. Workload permitting, monitor the progress of emergency vehicles responding to a situation. If necessary, provide available information to assist responders in finding the accident/incident scene.
10-1-7. INFLIGHT EMERGENCIES INVOLVING MILITARY FIGHTER-TYPE AIRCRAFT
a. The design and complexity of military fighter-type aircraft places an extremely high workload on the pilot during an inflight emergency. The pilot's full attention is required to maintain control of the aircraft. Therefore, radio frequency and transponder code changes should be avoided and radio transmissions held to a minimum, especially when the aircraft experiencing the emergency is at low altitude.
b. Pilots of military fighter-type aircraft, normally single engine, experiencing or anticipating loss of engine power or control may execute a flameout pattern in an emergency situation. Circumstances may dictate that the pilot, depending on the position and nature of the emergency, modify the pattern based on actual emergency recovery requirements.
c. Military airfields with an assigned flying mission may conduct practice emergency approaches. Participating units maintain specific procedures for conducting these operations.