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
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.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 9-2-7, IFR Military Training Routes.
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.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 2-1-4, Operational Priority.
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.
1. Centers serve as the central points for collecting
information, for coordinating with SAR, and for
conducting a communications search by distributing any
necessary ALNOTs concerning:
a. Overdue or missing IFR aircraft.
b. Aircraft in an emergency situation occurring in
their respective area.
c. Aircraft on a combination VFR/IFR or an airfiled
IFR flight plan and 30 minutes have passed since the pilot
requested IFR clearance and neither communication nor
radar contact can be established with it. For SAR purposes,
these aircraft are treated the same as IFR aircraft.
d. Overdue or missing aircraft which have been
authorized to operate in accordance with special VFR
2. Notifying the center about a VFR aircraft emergency
allows provision of IFR separation if considered necessary.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 10-2-5, Emergency Situations.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 10-3-2, Information to be
Forwarded to ARTCC.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 10-3-3, Information to be
Forwarded to RCC.
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 shall be responsible for receiving
and relaying all pertinent ELT signal information to
the appropriate authorities.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 10-2-10, Emergency Locator
Transmitter (ELT) Signals.
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
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 shall be accomplished, visually, by the
Coordinate efforts to the extent possible to assist any
aircraft believed overdue, lost, or in emergency
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.
Aircraft operated in proximity to accident or other
emergency or disaster locations may cause hindrances to
airborne and surface rescue or relief operations.
Congestion, distraction or other effects, such as wake
turbulence from nearby airplanes and helicopters, could
prevent or delay proper execution of these operations.
FAAO JO 7210.3, Chapter 19, Temporary Flight Restrictions.
14 CFR Section 91.137, Temporary Flight Restrictions.
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
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
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.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 3-10-13, Simulated Flameout (SFO)
Approaches/Emergency Landing Pattern (ELP) Operations/Practice