A great number of dead bodies are transported by airplanes everyday. How will pilots report to ATC they are transporting it/them?

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    $\begingroup$ Why would they mention it to ATC? In case of a passenger plane the number of passengers could be mentioned as (number) PAX, everything else is cargo. And as far as i know cargo is never specified to ATC. $\endgroup$
    – MadMarky
    Apr 6 '18 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ For sure, as an ATCo, I had to deal with that, as the destination was closed, and they alternated an airport without this structure to support it. $\endgroup$ Apr 6 '18 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ Not a dupe but related $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Apr 6 '18 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ A relevant discussion on Pprune. Particularly relevant for Search-and-Rescue (SAR) and medical operations. $\endgroup$ Apr 6 '18 at 14:26

The crew needs to be advised primarily, usually via the NOTOC(Notice to Captain) as this falls under Dangerous Goods classified as HUM under IATA. But indeed, the controllers are not made aware of it, nor is it mentioned in the flight plan( as far as I'm aware).


In the US, pilots may use the term "FALLEN HERO" to indicate they are transporting remains of military servicemembers and ATC will attempt to provide priority handling in accordance with the 7110.65 2–1–4q. This is the last in a long line of operational priorities, indicating treat better than simply "first-come first-served" but below any other conflicting priority.

Civilian pilots may use the term "MEDEVAC" or the now-archaic "LIFEGUARD" to indicate a request for priority when on an active air ambulance mission (I believe the terms "AIR EVAC" and "HOSP" are used by the military). These flights are afforded very high priority, second only to aircraft in distress. The term may be used when carrying patients or when carrying time-sensitive supplies or equipment, for example a donated organ or medicines.

To my knowledge there is no phraseology used to inform ATC there is a dead body on board. If there was a need for ATC to know about it (for example, the body is unexpectedly dead and the flight will need to be met by medical personnel) the pilot would use plain English.


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