P. Edronkin

Aeronautical Survival: Aircraft Emergencies

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Survival techniques can be applied to almost any kind of environment; in the case of aviation, the use of them begins whenever an aircraft suffers some serious trouble and enters an emergency state.

Aerial emergencies occur whenever an aircraft crashes or suffers some serious problem that puts the lives of its crew or passengers, or people in the ground, at risk. For example, if a multi-engine aircraft loses one of its engines and parts of it start falling to the ground, the emergency becomes twofold: first, there is an aircraft in a dire situation, and second, people down in the ground may have been hurt or properties may have been damaged.

Whenever an emergency occurs, search and rescue (SAR) efforts begin based on the information provided on the flight plan that pilots should have filled prior to taking off. If there is no flight plan or its contents are wrong - you guessed - those operations may become more difficult in a moment when speed may be crucial.

These are some conditions that may indicate that an aircraft is officially in an emergency:

1)- If 30 minutes elapse with no radio communications coming from the aircraft, after an indicated time in which the crew should have sent a message.

2)- If a controller tries without success to establish communication with the aircraft for 30 minutes after his or her first attempt.

3)- After the aircraft has been cleared for landing and five minutes elapse without it either establishing further communications indicating that it has aborted the procedure or it has actually landed.

4)- Whenever the aircraft suffers some kind of illegal interference.

5)- If the pilot in command (PIC) requests so under his or her own responsibility.

6)- If based on any other information available to a controller, it becomes apparent or possible that the aircraft has suffered or is about to suffer an emergency.

Declaring aircraft as in an emergency is not a joke; in fact, doing so when these conditions are not met may be severely punished due to the seriousness of the situation and the enormous expenses and risks that search and rescue operations may entail.

Flying in the mountains at 9000 feet
Would it be easy to look for you here without a prior flight plan?

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