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Distress and Urgency Procedures

(b) If unable to immediately establish com-

munications with an air traffic facility/agency,
squawk Mode A/3, Code 7700/Emergency and
Mode C.

3. Transmit a distress  or  urgency  message

consisting of as many as necessary of the following
elements, preferably in the order listed:

(a) If distress, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAY

DAY; if urgency, PAN


(b) Name of station addressed.

(c) Aircraft identification and type.

(d) Nature of distress or urgency.

(e) Weather.

(f) Pilots intentions and request.

(g) Present position, and heading; or if lost,

last known position, time, and heading since that

(h) Altitude or flight level.

(i) Fuel remaining in minutes.

(j) Number of people on board.

(k) Any other useful information.


Pilot/Controller Glossary Term

− Fuel Remaining.

b. After establishing radio contact, comply with

advice and instructions received. Cooperate. Do not
hesitate to ask questions or clarify instructions when
you do not understand or if you cannot comply with
clearance. Assist the ground station to control
communications on the frequency in use. Silence
interfering radio stations. Do not change frequency or
change to another ground station unless absolutely

necessary. If you do, advise the ground station of the
new frequency and station name prior to the change,
transmitting in the blind if necessary. If two


communications cannot be established on the new
frequency, return immediately to the frequency or
station where two

−way communications last existed.

c. When in a distress condition with bailout, crash

landing or ditching imminent, take the following
additional actions to assist search and rescue units:

1. Time and circumstances permitting, transmit

as many as necessary of the message elements in
subparagraph a3 above, and any of the following that
you think might be helpful:

(a) ELT status.

(b) Visible landmarks.

(c) Aircraft color.

(d) Number of persons on board.

(e) Emergency equipment on board.

2. Actuate your ELT if the installation permits.

3. For bailout, and for crash landing or ditching

if risk of fire is not a consideration, set your radio for
continuous transmission.

4. If it becomes necessary to ditch, make every

effort to ditch near a surface vessel. If time permits,
an FAA facility should be able to get the position of
the nearest commercial or Coast Guard vessel from a
Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center.

5. After a crash landing, unless you have good

reason to believe that you will not be located by
search aircraft or ground teams, it is best to remain
with your aircraft and prepare means for signaling
search aircraft.