Is there an accurate and updated list of aircraft which squawked 7700?

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    $\begingroup$ There will be thousands, and there will be no central list. I doubt most jurisdictions even keep a complete list of their own. $\endgroup$ – Simon Jul 12 '15 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ To me is not too broad: the request is if one list already exists, not to make one here. $\endgroup$ – Federico Jul 12 '15 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Not a list, but if you have the FlightRadar24 app on your phone, you can set it to show a notification with flight number etc every time there is an emergency squawk (in real-time). $\endgroup$ – Danny Beckett Jul 12 '15 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @DannyBeckett FR24 does indeed alert you when a 7700 is declared, however not all flights are covered by the program. $\endgroup$ – Ben Jul 13 '15 at 9:38

An ATC facility probably has a method of recording any aircraft they dealt with each day which declared an emergency, via the transponder code or otherwise. One is probably safe in assuming that this information is passed along up the food chain for some sort of collection at a national level, although such an aggregated list may not be immediately available to the general public. My first guess is that a FOIA request might be able to get what you're looking for, although if the requested scope is "every emergency aircraft at every facility in the US over the last two decades," you may be out of luck. (That would be a huge volume of data anyway.)

Understand a couple of things about declaring an emergency:

  • Most aren't accompanied by actually squawking 7700. Of the (relatively few) emergencies that I've declared in a couple decades of military + civilian flying, I can't think of any that required us to change the transponder code -- we declared the emergency with ATC on the radio, kept our assigned squawk, and did what we needed to do.
  • Many aren't related to the aircraft at all. I had occasion about a year ago to ask our airline safety department what the most common cause was for declared emergencies in our operation, and was told that far & away, sick passengers (medical emergencies) were #1 by a huge margin, and everything else (which includes all the aircraft-related events) was far down in the weeds in comparison. Given that, seeing that aircraft 123XY declared an emergency 5 times last year doesn't necessarily mean that it has had more mechanical issues than its fleetmate 234XY that only did so once; it may just mean that 123 got more than its share of sick passengers.

In fact, in airline operations at least, mechanical issues are almost always caught on the ground, so an aircraft with "gremlins" will usually manifest them in terms of maintenance delays and cancellations, rather than in-flight emergencies.

  • $\begingroup$ Incident reports—and emergency should be reported—go to the appropriate accident investigation board (NTSB in the USA) and these publish, on their web sites, list of incidents they discussed in periodic bulletins and investigation reports for the incidents they investigated in greater detail. So the information should be freely available on the web. It won't be in an easily processed format though; usually document or presentation listing all the incidents by date. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Jul 13 '15 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't medical emergency a separate category? I believe you don't call “may day” for medical emergency, do you? $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Jul 13 '15 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec Whether you say "Mayday" or "N12345, declaring emergency" is irrelevant. Your flight state changes from normal to distress traffic. If the frequency was congested and you had a medical emergency, you would use "Mayday". That's what it's there for, to clear the frequency and make everyone aware why they need to shut up for a moment. $\endgroup$ – SentryRaven Jul 13 '15 at 6:14
  • $\begingroup$ @SentryRaven: There is no difference between "declaring emergency" and "mayday". But the question is whether there is difference between "declaring emergency" and "declaring medical emergency" and so far I thought there is rather significant difference between those two (at least, emergency is a serious incident, medical emergency is not). $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Jul 13 '15 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec I see what you mean. Not every medical situation will automatically be an emergency. However should you declare an emergency and specify it's medical, you will get asked other questions than for, e.g. technical emergencies. $\endgroup$ – SentryRaven Jul 13 '15 at 7:07

Utilizing the free services of internet flight tracking websites and smartphone apps, such as Flightradar24 or Planefinder.net, you can set alerts for specific transponder codes. They will alert you when any aircraft in the world, so long as the service has coverage there squawks the code. I believe the alerts become archived for either a certain amount of time or maximum number of records.


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