U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION

ORDER
JO 7110.10X
Effective Date:
April 3, 2014
 
     
Subject:  Flight Services
   Includes:  Change 1 effective 7/24/14

Section 3. Alerting Service

7-3-1. GENERAL

a. Alerting service must be provided:

1. For all aircraft provided with ATC service.

2. Insofar as practical, to all other aircraft having filed a flight plan or otherwise known to an air traffic service.

3. To any aircraft known or believed to be the subject of unlawful interference.

b. Additional information related to ICAO Search and Rescue procedures can be found in ICAO ANNEX 11, Chapter 5, Alerting Service.

c. Apply domestic SAR procedures for the U.S. portion of the flight.

7-3-2. ALERTING PHASES

a. Air traffic services units must notify rescue coordination centers immediately when an aircraft is considered to be in a state of emergency in accordance with the following:

1. Uncertainty phase when:

(a) No communication has been received from an aircraft within a period of 30 minutes after the time a communication should have been received, or from the time an unsuccessful attempt to establish communication with such aircraft was first made, whichever is the earlier.

(b) An aircraft fails to arrive within 30 minutes of the estimated time of arrival last notified to or estimated by air traffic services units, whichever is later, except when no doubt exists as to the safety of the aircraft and its occupants.

2. Alert phase when:

(a) Following the uncertainty phase, subsequent attempts to establish communication with the aircraft or inquiries to other relevant sources have failed to reveal any news of the aircraft.

(b) An aircraft has been cleared to land and fails to land within five minutes of the estimated time of landing and communication has not been reestablished with the aircraft.

(c) Information has been received which indicates that the operating efficiency of the aircraft has been impaired, but not to the extent that a forced landing is likely.

(d) An aircraft is known or believed to be the subject of unlawful interference.

3. Distress phase when:

(a) Following the alert phase further unsuccessful attempts to establish communication with the aircraft and more widespread unsuccessful inquiries point to the probability that the aircraft is in distress.

(b) The fuel on board is considered to be exhausted or thought to be insufficient to enable the aircraft to reach safety.

(c) Information is received which indicates that the operating efficiency of the aircraft has been impaired to the extent that a forced landing is likely.

(d) Information is received and it is reasonably certain that the aircraft is about to make or has made a forced landing.

b. In addition to the initial notification, the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) must, without delay, be furnished with:

1. Any useful additional information, especially on the development of the state of emergency through subsequent phases.

2. Information that the emergency situation no longer exists.

7-3-3. ALERTING MESSAGE CONTENTS

a. The notification must contain as much of the following information as is available in the order listed.:

NOTE-
1.  For supplemental flight plan information, transmit an “RQS” Message. This information is used in the transmission of the INCERFA.

2. See paragraph 1­2­7, Operational System Instructions, for message formats.

EXAMPLE-
FF SVZMZRZX
231247 KMIAYFYX
(RQS­N1234­SVMI­KMIA

1. INCERFA, ALERFA, DETRESFA, as appropriate to the phase of the emergency.

2. Agency and person calling.

3. Nature of the emergency.

4. Significant information from the flight plan.

5. Unit which made last contact, time, and frequency used.

6. Last position report and how determined.

7. Color and distinctive marks of aircraft.

8. Any action taken by reporting office.

9. Other pertinent remarks.

EXAMPLE-
(INCERFA)
SS MMMXYAYX
DTG KSANYFYX
(ALR­INCERFA/KSAN/OVERDUE
­N1234S­VG
­C172
­KRNO2000
­MMLP0130
­REQ ACK OR ARR ACFT OVERDUE YOUR
STN)

(ALERFA)
SS MMMXYAYX
TEXT:(ALR­ALERFA/KSAN/OVERDUE)
(text remains same except for remarks information).

(DETRESFA)
SS MMMXYAYX
TEXT:(ALR­DETRESFA/KSAN/OVERDUE
(text remains same except for remarks information).

b. The cancellation of action initiated by the RCC is the responsibility of that center.

EXAMPLE-
(CANCELLATION)
SS MMMXYAYX
020618 KMIAYFYX
(ALR­ALERFA/KMIAYFYX/CNLD
N1234 LOCATED)

NOTE-
Transmit cancellation messages for INCERFA and DETRESFA using same format as above.
 

 
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