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Features October 2019 Issue

When Things Go Wrong

When Things Go Wrong

Most of us will never have an in-flight emergency, and all of us hope we won’t. But, if things do go wrong, ATC can be a big help.

It should be obvious that we never say the words, “Declare,” “Emergency,” “Mayday,” or “Pan-Pan” unless we indeed have a dire situation. These words have the potential to flip a controller’s airspace upside down faster than a Vmc roll, so they should be used with discretion. Even saying “Declare” by itself could lead us to believe that assistance is needed, as well as “Pan-Pan” (Urgent condition). Because Pan-Pan is considered an urgent condition (maybe not a full-blown emergency), it has the potential to turn into “Mayday” (Distress) so we mostly treat it as such.

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