Flight Training - May 2021 - 42

ADVANCED PILOT ACCIDENT ANALYSIS

FINALLY!
A CARD
FOR PILOTS.

MAY DAYS

WHAT'S THE RIGHT TIME TO DECLARE
AN EMERGENCY?
BY DAVID JACK KENNY

REGULAR FLIGHT TRAINING READERS

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should already have heard that declaring an
emergency too late is far worse than declaring it too early, or even unnecessarily. Yes,
calling " Mayday! " on every circuit around
the pattern will likely get you a reexamination (also known as a " 709 ride " ), but if
the flight's continuation to a safe landing
somewhere is less than certain, requesting
emergency assistance is the better part
of valor. The AOPA Air Safety Institute's
Accident Case Study: Final Approach
(airsafetyinstitute.org/ACS/finalapproach)
documents the case of a current instrument pilot who found lower-than-expected
weather over a wide geographic area. He
missed three approaches to two different
airports, reported being low on fuel, and
then attempted to divert to a third. Five
minutes after a Dover Air Force Base controller hinted that the pilot could only land
there " in an emergency, " the pilot declared
one-after his airplane's engine quit from
fuel exhaustion. He went down two miles
short of Dover's Runway 14.
That accident demonstrated that an
emergency declaration isn't a " get-out-ofjail-free " card. It won't put fuel in the tanks,
extinguish a fire, free a jammed flight control, or enable ATC to fly the aircraft, much
less suspend the laws of physics.
Among the things ATC can do for an
aircraft in distress are:
Prioritize services. A rough-running
engine, an onboard medical crisis, fuel
less than reserves, or accumulating ice are
among the many reasons to land as soon as
possible. ATC can move other aircraft out
of the way while providing vectors to an
airport and step-down altitudes, allowing
the pilot(s) to devote full attention to the
sole task of flying.
Summon help. Any unplanned
off-field landing risks injury. Every hour
lost in locating the site and getting EMS
crews onto the scene diminishes the odds
of survival-especially during winter in
unforgiving climates, where hypothermia
quickly becomes life-threatening. Scram42  FLIGHT TRAINING MAY 2021

IF CONTINUATION TO A SAFE
LANDING IS LESS THAN
CERTAIN, REQUESTING
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE IS
THE BETTER PART OF VALOR.
bling search-and-rescue efforts-perhaps
even before the aircraft is down-improves
those odds. And if it's an on-airport emergency landing, having the crash trucks
at the ready can determine whether the
occupants are successfully extricated.
Locate the lost. Widespread GPS availability hasn't prevented pilots from losing
track of their whereabouts. Panel-mounted
units aren't universal, and portable devices
can have their batteries run down, or get
dropped into places that are inaccessible in
flight. Where there's ADS-B coverage, ATC
can locate equipped aircraft with exquisite
precision. If there's radar coverage, even
transponderless craft aren't necessarily
out of luck. Old-fashioned methods like
the surveillance approach remain in the
controllers' bags of tricks.
Recruit expertise. ASI's Real Pilot
Story: Pinch Hitting a King Air (airsafety
institute.org/RPS/pinchhittingkingair)
relates how a low-time Cessna 172 pilot
successfully landed a Beechcraft King
Air 200 after its pilot became incapacitated during climb, thanks in large part to
guidance from a longtime flight instructor
and Learjet pilot now working as a Miami
Center controller. Not all controllers have
experience on the controls, but many have
extensive contacts.
And all will do whatever they can to
help prevent emergencies from becoming
catastrophes. It's up to us to give them a
fair chance. FT
DAVID JACK KENNY is a freelance aviation writer
living in Frederick, Maryland.


http://www.AOPA.org/creditcard http://www.airsafetyinstitute.org/ACS/finalapproach http://www.AOPA.org/creditcard http://www.institute.org/RPS/pinchhittingkingair

Flight Training - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - May 2021

Contents
Flight Training - May 2021 - Intro
Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover1
Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover2
Flight Training - May 2021 - Contents
Flight Training - May 2021 - 2
Flight Training - May 2021 - 3
Flight Training - May 2021 - 4
Flight Training - May 2021 - 5
Flight Training - May 2021 - 6
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Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover3
Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover4
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