Questions tagged [emergency]

An emergency is any situation that threatens the safety of an aircraft, the people on board it, or people on the ground.

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How miraculous was the miracle on the Hudson?

The "miracle on the Hudson" was extremely unusual - dual engine failures and successful off-field landings in commercial A320-size aircraft are very rare. The event has been dramatized and the crew (...
Thomas's user avatar
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69 votes
14 answers
73k views

Why are commercial flights not equipped with parachutes for the passengers?

I understand that commercial flights are equipped with life vests. I also understand that most military jets are equipped with ejection seats. It may be costly and technically challenging to equip ...
Question Overflow's user avatar
58 votes
4 answers
27k views

Why do airplanes use MAYDAY when in danger but ships send SOS?

I thought SOS means "save our souls", but apparently it doesn't. But ships send SOS when in danger and they used Morse code. Why do airplanes use MAYDAY?
Squareoot's user avatar
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55 votes
9 answers
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Why don't pilots parachute from small planes that are in distress?

There was another question that asked why commercial flights don't have parachutes. The almost ubiquitous response was that the parachutes would be useless because: Most accidents with commercial ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
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55 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why is the time of useful consciousness only seconds at high altitudes, when I can hold my breath much longer at ground level?

This answer says at FL500 (50,000 ft; 15,250 m) the time of useful consciousness is only 6 to 9 seconds. But if I just stop breathing at any arbitrary time, without any preparation, I can easily ...
h22's user avatar
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53 votes
9 answers
12k views

Pilot passed out in a small GA plane. What can a passenger do?

There is another question about airliners and if someone not qualified could land them. My question is about the steps I should take to stay alive in a small GA plane. Let say a friend of mine ...
Quentin H's user avatar
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47 votes
9 answers
176k views

What are the advantages of squawking 7700?

I was reading this question about how do pilots send distress signals in emergency scenarios, and that got me thinking... In voretaq7's answer, he states that there are three ways to send distress ...
Gabriel Brito's user avatar
46 votes
3 answers
5k views

How should passengers report SOS signal sightings?

On January 23, 2015, I flew from Buenos Aires, Argentina (SAEZ) to Santiago, Chile (SCEL). It was a very comfortable night flight in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner of LAN airlines, though it was delayed. ...
ncomputers's user avatar
45 votes
6 answers
17k views

When are aircraft required to dump fuel for emergency landings?

I've heard that in a lot of instances a jet that is making an emergency landing is required to dump excess fuel. In a lot of instances this would make a lot of sense. For example, if the gear cannot ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
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43 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why is laser illumation of a cockpit an emergency?

Another answer pointed out that laser illumination of a cockpit may be considered an emergency, and that pilots may take evasive action when under laser illumination. Why is laser illumination ...
Adam Davis's user avatar
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42 votes
2 answers
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Why does ATC ask a crew who has declared an emergency if their aircraft will be overweight when landing?

I have heard ATC ask an emergency aircraft if they will be overweight when landing. Why do they ask? I am not asking about the consequences of an overweight landing or what procedures are required ...
byte wrangler's user avatar
39 votes
3 answers
45k views

Why are pilots deemed unfit to fly after emergency ejection?

There are many instances where pilots need to eject out of the cockpit due to emergency situations, and after such an ejection from some modern aircraft, pilots are deemed unfit to fly airplanes for ...
Victor Juliet's user avatar
38 votes
3 answers
17k views

Why can't an Airbus A330 dump fuel in an emergency?

It was reported recently that the Swiss flight LX18 from Zurich to New York had detected an engine issue shortly after take-off and decided to land back in Zurich. Apparently, the Airbus A330-343 ...
Quora Feans's user avatar
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37 votes
5 answers
11k views

What prevents a passenger from opening the emergency door on his own will, mid-flight?

I have never sat on the emergency seats near the wings, with the emergency exit. I have seen cabin crew instruct the passengers seated near the door on how to operate the door. My question, what ...
Firee's user avatar
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36 votes
10 answers
6k views

Is it even remotely feasible to turnback a single engine aircraft with an engine failure?

Note before reading further that I'm asking this question purely on theoretical grounds, though you are more than welcome to talk about practical aspects as well. Now, my question. It's common ...
Qantas 94 Heavy's user avatar
35 votes
4 answers
15k views

Why can't you ditch your aircraft in the sea?

Disclosure: I'm just a random guy who knows nothing about aviation. :-) I read: A voice in my earphones was shouting: “Ditch the plane! Ditch it in the ocean!” It must have come from the ...
user541686's user avatar
35 votes
5 answers
5k views

Who should handle an emergency when there's both a certificated pilot and a CFI on board?

While practicing for my commercial certificate in a T-tail Piper Arrow IV, I put the gear down on downwind, and one green light didn't come on. In the right seat was a CFII/Multi, who had over 1,000 ...
rbp's user avatar
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34 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why are there many pilots who don't say "mayday, mayday, mayday" to declare an emergency?

I've been listening to some ATC from some major commercial pilots and in every video where there's been some confusion about declaring an emergency they've used some terminology other than "mayday, ...
Clinton's user avatar
  • 449
34 votes
6 answers
25k views

How would an airplane land if the on-board radio breaks down?

Is there a special protocol for a situation where the on-board radio communication equipment suddenly breaks down? Would the pilot be able to land on a busy towered airfield or would they be forced to ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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33 votes
6 answers
89k views

If a typical passenger plane had total failure of all engines mid-flight, is it possible for passengers to survive?

I have pretty bad flying phobia and often wonder what would happen if all the engines on the craft went out at the same time. I initially had the anxiety-ridden thought that the hundreds of thousands ...
user avatar
33 votes
2 answers
7k views

Why did the Swiss International Air LX40 (a 777-300ER) emergency land at Iqaluit airport?

Swiss International Air LX40 (a brand new 777-300ER) was en route from Zurich to LA on 1 Feb 2017 when one of the GE90 engines shut itself down because of data from its self-monitoring algorithms. ...
RoboKaren's user avatar
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33 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why evacuate upwind?

Evacuation procedures after a forced landing recommend directing passengers upwind of the aircraft. What is the reason why evacuating upwind is better than other directions?
assylias's user avatar
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33 votes
4 answers
9k views

What do flight attendants do if a passenger asks what is going on in case of a potential emergency?

This is related to, but not the same as, another question I asked on Interpersonal Skills. I was on a flight last year, on a route I fly on a fairly frequent basis. Shortly after takeoff, I heard the ...
gparyani's user avatar
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32 votes
9 answers
7k views

What things can a passenger look out for, to indicate an emergency?

As a passenger with a keen interest in aviation, I'd like to think I'd be eagle-eyed enough to spot a problem that the pilots mightn't be able to see, from where they're sitting (for example, an ...
Danny Beckett's user avatar
32 votes
11 answers
37k views

If a helicopter's tail rotor fails, is it possible to perform an emergency landing?

In the event of a total failure of the tail rotor, is it possible to maneuver a helicopter to an emergency landing spot that is within, say, 30 minutes flying time? What are the maneuvers required ...
Krishnaraj Rao's user avatar
32 votes
7 answers
10k views

What is the proper procedure after a bird strike in a single engine plane during takeoff?

First, let me set this up and then ask a general question. I'm just trying to give some context as to why I'm asking. I'm working on my private pilot license and was practicing with my PC simulator (...
Jae Carr's user avatar
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31 votes
3 answers
9k views

Does air traffic control identify a distress situation when an aircraft flies triangles in the sky?

There is an account in a TSB Canada investigation report after a loss of radio and transponder: The emergency procedure to be followed by a pilot to alert radar stations when in distress and unable ...
mins's user avatar
  • 73k
31 votes
2 answers
5k views

Case Study: Did I need to declare an emergency?

I am a fairly newly minted private pilot licensee (PPL). I had just taken off from a small private, (but open to the public) airfield. We are under the shelf of Class B, but are G up to 700 and then E ...
Tom's user avatar
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30 votes
3 answers
6k views

After declaring an emergency can a pilot legally resume normal navigation without landing?

If a pilot declares an emergency and then in the process of working with ATC is able to resolve the issue, would they then be able to resume normal navigation (as a non-emergency aircraft) and ...
Rowan Hawkins's user avatar
30 votes
4 answers
7k views

What is preferred in an emergency landing: a road or a cornfield?

When faced with the situation of a power off emergency landing, how do you best select your location to land? At what point is a road too small or the crosswind too great to attempt a safe landing ...
pheidlauf's user avatar
  • 509
30 votes
2 answers
22k views

I just saw a plane drop off online radar; should I do anything about it?

I was watching Flight Radar 24, positioned near my house, to see what planes I could spot, and noticed a Cessna 550's transponder just dropped off @ 5,325 ft in a high-speed descent! Is there ...
Danny Beckett's user avatar
30 votes
2 answers
10k views

How is fuel dumped in aircraft?

I have heard incidents in which commercial aircraft are required to dump fuel in event of an emergency to avoid landing over maximum landing weight. What systems do aircraft have in place to dump fuel?...
shortstheory's user avatar
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29 votes
10 answers
52k views

Can a plane fly without the vertical stabilizer?

What would happen if a plane (for the sake of the question let's say that the plane is an Airbus A380) lost its vertical stabilizer? https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:...
Gabriel Brito's user avatar
29 votes
3 answers
10k views

What is the bag for on a passenger oxygen mask?

We may all be familiar with the part of the cabin safety briefing where they say that, in the event of a reduction in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from a compartment above our heads, yadda ...
David Richerby's user avatar
28 votes
6 answers
13k views

Why not just drop an engine on fire?

I am interested in the case of Qantas Flight 32 and similar incidents, where there was a fuel leak after a number two engine explosion due to the disintegration of the turbine disc. It was a very ...
clueless007's user avatar
28 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why don't aeroplanes automatically put out engine fires?

When an engine fire is detected the fire handle lights up and the pilot pulls it to extinguish the fire. Why doesn't it do that automatically? Why does the pilot have to pull the handle?
Willy's user avatar
  • 383
28 votes
7 answers
6k views

What does an absolute novice need to learn to make a successful emergency landing?

Suppose I am a passenger in a small, non-commercial plane (e.g. at most 8 seats), and the pilot suddenly dies or is otherwise incapacitated mid-flight. Suppose further that nobody else on the plane ...
jvriesem's user avatar
  • 383
28 votes
6 answers
4k views

What emergency situation can pilots encounter in gliders/non-powered aircraft?

Pilots have to be able to handle a wide range of emergencies in the air. For powered aircraft, the obvious example to me is recovering from an engine failure, but obviously this can't happen on an ...
raptortech97's user avatar
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28 votes
5 answers
7k views

F-111 emergency landing with no wheel; what is done to reduce risks when loosing a wheel?

There's an interesting incident described here about an F-111 that lost a wheel during take off. Couple of questions: What are the relative risks of an ejection vs a ...
curious_cat's user avatar
  • 8,446
28 votes
3 answers
9k views

How would an aircraft visually signal "in distress"?

A ship at sea would fly its flag upside down to signal it's in distress. How does a plane or airliner that has no radio or transponder visually signal that it is in distress? This question: How do ...
Muze's user avatar
  • 1
28 votes
1 answer
3k views

At a non-towered airport in the US, what should I do if I hear a medevac flight waiting to take off while I'm turning base?

I'm in the left downwind at my favorite non-towered airport. Just while I'm making the turn to base, I hear a radio call on CTAF: "Such-and-such Traffic, Medevac 123, holding short runway 31." They ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
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28 votes
5 answers
40k views

When should the term "pan-pan" be used instead of "Mayday"?

FAAO JO 7110.65, §10-1-1 states that "pan-pan" can be used to indicate a state of urgency: a. An emergency can be either a Distress or an Urgency condition as defined in the "Pilot/...
Danny Beckett's user avatar
27 votes
5 answers
4k views

What are the ways to burn fuel faster in case of emergency without fuel dumping system?

In many cases, the maximum landing weight of an aircraft is lower than the takeoff weight due to the amount of fuel it carries. While some aircraft have fuel dumping systems, others like the A320 ...
sweber's user avatar
  • 7,257
27 votes
2 answers
5k views

What should you do if you are forced to enter restricted or prohibited airspace?

Apparently, even if you have declared an urgent situation or an emergency, you cannot enter restricted or prohibited airspace, and ATC may not be able to clear you into the area. So, my question: If ...
Qantas 94 Heavy's user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
5k views

Is there any emergency situation in which jet engines would not be shut down before passenger evacuation of a transport aircraft?

A comment to this answer discusses the possibility of evacuating passengers risking ingestion into the engines if evacuating over the leading edge of the wing. That particular question discusses the ...
user's user avatar
  • 6,984
26 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do airlines have contingency plans to keep passengers warm in the event of an Arctic emergency landing (or otherwise a diversion)?

Imagine you're flying to Los Angeles in February, but find yourself landing in Iqaluit instead, with a daily mean of −27.5°C, without considering the effect of wind. Even walking from the cabin to a ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 817
26 votes
2 answers
7k views

What is the rescue arrow decal on a military jet pointing to?

I've noticed that a lot of military jets often have an arrow decal with the wording "RESCUE" pointing to a rectangle of some sort. I tried looking around for information about it but I could not find ...
Dalva's user avatar
  • 362
26 votes
3 answers
10k views

What is the difference between being instructed to land "as soon as possible" or "at nearest suitable airport"?

On commercial airliners, the FCOM (Flight Crew Operating Manual) sometimes gives instructions to the pilots to land sooner than planned, following various in-flight failures or emergencies. For ...
Lightsider's user avatar
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25 votes
5 answers
11k views

Can civilian aircraft fly through or land in restricted airspace in an emergency?

This is a super hypothetical question of mine. I was wondering if civilian pilots who happened to be faced with a severe emergency could fly through or possibly request to land in restricted airspace? ...
TBBT's user avatar
  • 1,842
25 votes
1 answer
3k views

What to do if carbon monoxide is present?

Most small, single engine aircraft are fitted with non audible carbon monoxide detectors that turn black if it is present. Carbon monoxide can incapacitate in mere seconds (and kill in minutes) ...
Cloud's user avatar
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