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| | |-+  Pilot POV Question - Declaring an Emergency
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Author Topic: Pilot POV Question - Declaring an Emergency  (Read 52840 times)
ctrller
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« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2010, 02:09:33 AM »

as a controller, i weigh a number of factors into the equation...
for example, if i am speaking with a GA pilot, i will not hesitate to declare the emergency for him/her if i suspect the pilot is hesitant to do so or if i suspect that something is happening that he/she is either not disclosing right away or underestimating the gravity of a situation developing such as icing.
from my end, i listen to the sound of the voice (confusion, fear, discomfort, hesitancy, lag in response time in comm.) as well as the behaviour of the radar target (ground speed variations, directional variations, inability to maintain steady altitude) . i do not necessarily always advise him/her of what i am doing in declaring an emergency on his/her behalf as there is no need to do so. i will however give priority to the aircraft which may mean clearing other aircraft off my frequency, vectoring traffic around him/her, and not allowing other traffic onto my frequency to limit congestion, so that i can be more available to that person in particular. coordination-wise, i make all adjacent sectors that may be affected aware of the situation in the event that things should turn for the worse. geographically, i locate all the airports within close proximity to the a/c, access all pertinent airport information for the pilot in case it's needed, look at the weather and the winds at the airport so that i know which runway at any particular airport i'll need at a moment's notice. i take whatever help i can get from fellow controllers nearby in assisting me with accessing and coordinating what i may or may not need. if weather is a factor, i query any nearby commercial pilots to pan out their weather radar to assist as their weather radar is much more reliable and accurate than mine. operationally, i become much more aware of every aircraft nearby, on or off my frequency that can assist if i need help ( i have in the past sent aircraft to locate another aircraft that went down so that emergency rescue could locate the down aircraft more easily), i have other controllers on standby that will assist with information accessing and coordination, and i locate any controllers who are pilots to be ready to assist with cockpit management/control if need be. since controllers work a defined area of airspace, other controllers in adjacent sectors will move to assist in my area so that the pilot never has to change frequencies.
for a commercial pilot, the same applies for the most part. the cockpit is hectic so conversations are usually limited to what's necessary until i know the PIC has the aircraft under control. things usually happen at a much quicker pace for the most part with commercial carriers as they usually are much more hesitant to declare an emergency. so a commercial carrier declaring an emergency usually puts a controller right down the crapper when time is of the essence.
in the end, any paperwork to do is worth a life. i ultimately have to go to bed at night and sleep in peace. i'd rather go down the crapper erring on the cautious side than not ever be able to sleep at all because i didn't.
i get paid to keep planes apart but i also get paid to do whatever i can to help any pilot that sounds like they need help, especially in an emergency.
whether it's a mayday or a panpan, our actions as controllers remain the same for the most part.
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VictorK
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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2010, 10:06:59 PM »

Quote
actually i have done this before, a few times.  If i decide it is an emergency i make it one...and i won't even tell the pilot, but he/she can figure it out when i ask for souls and fuel.

My only direct experience with a declared emergency happened when a friend and I (he the pilot, non-instrument, me along for the ride), found oursleves VFR on top of a cloud deck that hadn't been forcast for our destination. (Back in the days when you could actually talk to somebody from FSS who was familiar with your local area too!)

In a nutshell, a thin broken layer had gradually thickened to the point where we flew directly over the destination airport (per the GPS) without ever seeing the ground. Our departure airport was clear, and still well within range, so the option of turning 180 and going home was always available, but we were talking with ATC and trying to get weather for some alternates nearby, just in case.

My friend is very cautious and conservative, and not afraid to use all the resources available, so he eventually told the controller that we'd just go ahead and declare an emergency until we got things straightened out. The controller replied that we were already being handled as one. (At that point, he did ask for souls and fuel.)

We flew to an airport another ten miles east, landed visually and waited the weather out, and never heard another word about it.
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polipantev
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« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2010, 10:11:14 AM »

I think that after all everything goes down to a feat of good judgement on deciding whether you can cope with a situation or you are in trouble and you really need help.Oh...and about making up an emergency i don't think anyone would.Not because of the paperwork or anything it just won't be good airmanship:-)
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sacex250
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« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2011, 10:32:39 PM »

Could be wrong, but I don't think it's written anywhere that another aircraft cannot declare an emergency for another aircraft.  At the same time, I don't think any pilot is going to declare an emergency for another aircraft as they are not piloting the aircraft and have no idea what is going on inside that aircraft's cockpit.

you are correct, another pilot cannot declare an emergency for a different aircraft

You are incorrect, a pilot may in fact declare an emergency for another aircraft.
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davolijj
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« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2011, 11:59:56 AM »

You are incorrect, a pilot may in fact declare an emergency for another aircraft.

Not according to the federal government...

Quote from: 7110.65  Chapter 10
10-2-5. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS

Consider that an aircraft emergency exists and inform the RCC or ARTCC and alert the appropriate DF facility when:

a. An emergency is declared by either:

1. The pilot.

2. Facility personnel.

3. Officials responsible for the operation of the aircraft.

Notice it does not say "4. Pilots of other aircraft."
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JD
sacex250
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« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2011, 12:39:36 PM »

If I see a mid-air collision between two aircraft, you can damn well bet that I'm going to be on the radio with a:

"MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY This is ######.  There has been a mid-air collision.

Or, when that B-17 crashed outside Chicago this year after catching fire that the chase pilot never thought to inform the local controller what was going on despite the fact that the she was repeatedly asking what was happening.  Remember "WHO'S ON FIRE?"


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davolijj
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« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2011, 09:21:31 PM »

Simmer down sacex, no need to get all worked up.

How about this:

If you see something out the window that could be deemed an emergency, report it to ATC, let Facility personnel determine if an emergency exists, and then get out of the way.  Or better yet standby to assist ATC in whatever capacity you can provide assistance.  There's a reason procedures are in place the way they are:  It eliminates the 'too many cooks in the kitchen' phenomenon.
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Regards
JD
N500GS
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« Reply #32 on: January 01, 2012, 01:33:28 PM »

There was an intreresting article in the latest AOPA magazine written by Aviation attorney Rick Durden. He points out there are several reasons GA pilots don't or won't declare an emergency. Mostly it revolves around the misconception that declaring an emergency will bring the feds down on you and or create a pile of paperwork. They also fear being perceived as incompetent, when they should really be worried about what the NTSB report will say when a bad situation could have been salvaged by declaring an emergency. He also makes the point that by NOT declaring an emergency you are in effect not doing everything in your power to protect your passengers. This could have serious financial consequences to you or your estate. Seems to me if the word emergency crosses your mind you are better of declaring one than shutting up and dying.

As far as pan pan pan is concerned listen to tapes of the Swiss Air flight with an onboard fire a few years ago
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sacex250
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« Reply #33 on: January 01, 2012, 02:30:28 PM »

Simmer down sacex, no need to get all worked up.

How about this:

If you see something out the window that could be deemed an emergency, report it to ATC, let Facility personnel determine if an emergency exists, and then get out of the way.  Or better yet standby to assist ATC in whatever capacity you can provide assistance.  There's a reason procedures are in place the way they are:  It eliminates the 'too many cooks in the kitchen' phenomenon.

Wow, just wow!  I can't believe the arrogance! 

"I'm a controller!  They call me a controller for a reason!  I own the sky!  You're just a pilot, shut up and do as you're told!  I'll let you know if there's an emergency!"

Completely reminds me of the United 1448 runway incursion at KPVD.

Oh, by the way, the military is part of the Federal goverment as well and it's common practice for military pilots to declare emergencies for their wingmen.
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davolijj
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« Reply #34 on: January 01, 2012, 03:30:35 PM »

Oh, by the way, the military is part of the Federal goverment as well and it's common practice for military pilots to declare emergencies for their wingmen.

Totally different situation than what you're talking about.  Formation flights are handled as a single flight, so it make sense for the non-emergency aircraft to handle communications while the emergency aircraft deals with flying.  It's completely different than a random pilot who may or may not know what's going declaring an emergency for another aircraft.

By the way I'm a pilot too, not just a controller so it has nothing to do with 'my sky', it has everything to do with what works best for the system in handling these situations.

You said one thing, I proved you wrong with documentation.  That's the way it goes.  If whining about it and calling people names makes you feel better go right ahead.
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Regards
JD
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